To the tourist, who, for the first time, arrives in Stresa, a breathless sight is offered. In the beginning, a superb window of the lakefront, delineated with lines of palm trees, with flourishing gardens and facades of grand hotels.
Then, turning to look at the lake, enchanted, as if emerging from the same waters, the spectacular Borromean Islands (Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola dei Pescatori).
The splendor of these visions is enough to understand how Stresa has become one of the maximum international tourism meetings. Stresa, already in the middle half of the 19th century, was the most beautiful place to stay, the most visited by the global upper-middle class.
On this island just across from Stresa, in 1670, Count Vitaliano Borromeo started constructing the impressive baroque palace. He began to landscape the majestic scenery of the gardens for which the Island, easily reachable by boat from Stresa, became so famous and which today still bear witness of the splendors of that bygone age. The royal Borromeo residence contains priceless masterpieces: tapestries, furniture, and paintings by great masters.
The gardens bloom with every variety of trees and rare flowers. The parks provide a classic, perfect example of the celebrated "Italian garden."
This guide covers Lake Maggiore and the town of Stresa; in addition to the one-day trips you can make from one of these towns to the Borromean Islands, the Angera castle, Santa Caterina del Sasso, Locarno, Mottarone, Villa Taranto, and the Centovalli railway.
It also covers Nature Parks and Wilderness Areas near the lake. There are extensive descriptions and photos of the attractions.
It also has a listing of many reviews for the best-recommended restaurants within walking distance from the boat pier or the train station.