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A visit to Stresa is the ideal way to blend relaxation and culture in an enchanting setting that evokes the atmosphere of the belle époque. From Stresa it is easy to reach the three Borromean Islands, which are steeped in artistic, historical and botanical appeal. On the islands of Bella and Madre there are sumptuous palaces and rare plant gardens where peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam wild against an exotic backdrop reminiscent of faraway lands. In contrast, the Isola dei Pescatori is famous for the charming simplicity of its old fishing village, which is considered one of the most picturesque spots on Lake Maggiore. As well as being a fine example of a mid-nineteenth century palace, Villa Pallavicino boasts a zoo in its huge, 50-acre park; here, among the ancient trees and flower-lined avenues, live more than 40 different species of mammals and birds. In Stresa itself, the elegant and attractive waterfront offers unforgettable views of the Gulf of Borromeo. Walks along the shore offer the perfect opportunity to take in both the Art Nouveau hotels on the shore and the three Borromean Islands. The view is equally superb from the summit of Mount Mottarone (1491m), which dominates Stresa and offers a unique panoramic outlook. Mottarone is known as the 'Mountain of the Two Lakes' thanks to its strategic position between Lake Maggiore and the equally beautiful Lake Orta. The cable car to the top of Mottarone also stops off at Alpino, where the Alpinia botanical gardens offer a terrace with sweeping views of Lake Maggiore.
The appeal of Lake Maggiore is not confined to Stresa; in fact, the town is the perfect starting point for unforgettable boat trips on the lake or drives along its shores. ... READ MORE »