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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.
Close by to the north is the tranquil tourist town of Pallanza. Its main attraction, Villa Taranto, is world-famous for its magnificent gardens of rare flowers and plants. Further up the shores of the lake lies the village of Cannero Riviera, which enjoys a sheltered location and consequently a particularly mild climate in which lemons can be grown. There is a series of evocative fortifications on the three Castelli di Cannero islets, which form a small archipelago opposite the village. From here it is also only a short distance to Cannobio — the last Italian town before the Swiss border. This beautiful and ancient little town, nestled between the mountains and the lake, today has one of the most beautiful lidos on the lake.
To the south lies the tourist and commercial hub of Arona. The copper statue dedicated to the town's patron saint, Charles Borromeo, is among the tallest in Europe at 35 m. Opposite Arona, on a rocky outcrop on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, sits the Rocca d'Angera, a fully preserved medieval fortress that houses the original Doll and Toy Museum. St Catherine's Hermitage clings precariously to sheer cliffs on the opposite shore to Stresa, above one of the deepest areas of Lake Maggiore. This is a monastic retreat with three buildings dating from the 13th-14th centuries that was founded by the Blessed Alberto Besozzi di Arolo. He prayed to Saint Catherine of Alexandria for rescue during a storm before living here as a hermit for 35 years.
Longer stays in Stresa offer the opportunity for day trips to Milan, Lake Orta or nearby Switzerland. Shopping enthusiasts can also find typical open-air markets in many of the towns dotted around the lake.