Stresa and the Borromean Islands
Stresa is the main tourist resort on Lake Maggiore, known the world over as the "Pearl of Lake Maggiore", and a summer destination of the first order. The lakeside promenade is a succession of boutiques, cafés, restaurants, villas and luxury hotels – a walk that visitors will not easily forget.
Stresa’s islands – Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori – attract thousands of visitors to the Borromean Gulf every year, to enjoy the absolutely unique atmosphere of these beautiful spots.
Isola Bella is dominated by its magnificent Baroque palazzo, which is accompanied by a luxuriant Italian-style garden laid out over ten terraces, 37 metres high. The garden displays exotic plants of great rarity and many strikingly lovely flowers, alongside statues, fountains and the Unicorn, depicted in the coat-of-arms of the aristocratic Borromeo family. There are also beautiful white peacocks, free to roam the gardens, which with their regal bearing contribute to giving Isola Bella the flavour of past times.
Isola Madre is the largest of the islands in the Gulf, and is occupied almost completely by an English-style garden, landscaped in the early nineteenth century. Apart from the many rare trees and shrubs, here too exotic birds roam freely – peacocks, pheasants and parrots. The palazzo on Isola Madre is of great interest; in addition to its historic furnishings, visitors will be enchanted by the Doll Room, the Room of the Seasons, and the historic puppet theatre.
Isola Superiore – generally known as Isola Pescatori, Fishermen’s Island – is the smallest and quaintest of the three islands, and the only one with permanent residents. The restaurants on the island offer menus based on the typical cuisine of the lake.