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View of Stresa on Lago Maggiore

A street in Stresa

Borromees Hotel, Stresa

Welcome to Stresa
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  4,820 (2003)
Official site:

Situated on the mountainous western side of Lago Maggiore, Stresa is a highly acclaimed tourist destination. It was once a get away for the very rich and famous, and was home to some of the most acclaimed hotels in all Europe. Today, those luxury hotels and spring-coloured villas still grace the lakeís shore, but are a testimony to a Stresa of time past.

The town is lovely still with its gardens and many well-kept walkways, but is ever more crowed - especially in the high season - with curious tourists who donít pay much attention to waste recepticals. The palm trees surrounding many of Stresa properties gives the place a tropical feel and an ever-welcome contrast to the evergreen forests that cover the mountain faces behind.

Itís position makes excursions to the Borromean Islands ideal; they can be reached by boats that leave the docks at Stresaís Piazza Marconi every 15-25 minutes. The archipelago is made up of three isalnds: Isola dei Pescatori, Isola Madre, and the famed Isola Bella. The latter, translated litterally as beautiful Island is a shortened version of the name Isabella, wife of the 16th century Count Carlo Borromeo, who constructed the Palace and gardens in her honour.

Some have been surprise to see peacocks roaming freely, but if one continues, the surprises extended beyond the menagerie within the garden walls. Walking up the ten garden terraces, one reaches the top where a view of the lake is splendid. The other islands are also accessable by boat, and can all be reached from the docks at Piazza Marconi.

From the same Piazza it is possible to buy ticket for the Funivia (cable car) that takes visitors from Stresa, to the Gardens of ó and then further to the summit of Monterone, nearly 1500 m in height. The ride can be frightening to those with a weak stomach but offers a view of the Lago Maggiore and the surround area that cannot be beat. For the more adventerous traveller, there are also many trails that lead up to the summit (a total of 4 and half hours to Monterone), that pass by some of the charming villages that dot the lower half of the mountain face. Maps are available at most newstands and tobaccanists (edicolas) and at tourist information booths.

By Arianna Andrews, May 13th, 2006

Region of Piemonte



Verbania - 16 km;
Milan - 87 km;
Como - 100 km;
Bellagio - 129 km;
Cernobbio - 130 km;
Lecco - 131 km;
Torino - 140 km



Visit Lago Maggiore

A street in Stresa

Tourist office:
Piazza Marconi 16 (at the ferry jetty)
Open: 10AM-12:30 PM
Tel: 0323-31-308

International Music Festival - annually
Late July-Early August.  <<more>>
for more info
Cable Car up to Monte Mottarone (from the Lido).