After our stop in Simplon Village, we continued across the border with Italy to Lake Maggiore and lunch in Stresa. We then boarded a private water taxi to Isola Bella and a tour of the 17th century palace and gardens (a subject of future posts) before returning to Switzerland for a 2 night stay in Lake Lugano.
Stresa is a town and comune of about 5,000 residents on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, about 90 kilometres (56 mi) northwest of Milan. It is situated on road and rail routes to the Simplon Pass. The name of this town first appeared in documents in AD 998.
In the 15th century, it grew into a fishing community and owed feudal allegiance to the Visconti family. It subsequently came under the control of the Borromeo family. In 1948 American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway visited the town. He had set part of his 1929 novel Farewell to Arms in the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. In 2002 Stresa hosted the 10th International Hemingway Conference.
From the Stresa website: https://www.stresa.com/
The famous town of Stresa (Italy, 5000 inhabitants, 200 m above sea level) enjoys a splendid location on Lake Maggiore in the Gulf of Borromeo, where it overlooks the eponymous islands, the main attraction in the region. Its beautiful countryside, architectural gems and mild climate combine to make Stresa one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy. The Borromean Islands, with their stunning palaces and ornamental gardens, are an unmissable destination for aesthetes.
Luxury villas and opulent Art Nouveau hotels line the elegant lakeside, which is ideal for a tranquil stroll. Since the late 19th century Stresa has been renowned for its sophisticated atmosphere and genteel visitors, and today still enjoys an impressive roster of cultural, musical and meeting events.
Stresa first appears on historical documents just before the end of the first millennium, when it was a small community of fishermen and peasants. During the Middle Ages, the town was a fiefdom of the lords of Castello and Visconti, but it was the Borromeo family-part of the Milanese aristocracy-who subsequently ruled the region and added the magnificent buildings that have made Stresa famous. In 1441, the Borromeos obtained part of the territory and by 1653 the entire district was reunited under their rule. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the Borromeos commissioned palaces to be built on the islands of Bella and Madre. Stresa passed into Austrian hands in 1719, before coming under the rule of the House of Savoy in 1748. The town began to achieve its renown as a tourist destination at the beginning of the 19th century, when glamorous villas such as the Villa Pallavicino and Villa Vignolo were built. In 1906 the opening of the Simplon Tunnel heralded the start of widespread international travel. Trains on the London-Paris-Milan line began to call at Stresa station, and travellers and writers from all over Europe came to sing the praises of Stresa and Lake Maggiore, spreading their fame far and wide and enticing an ever larger number of people to visit. Every year, Stresa now welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the globe.
Unfortunately the weather changed and we were greeted by mostly grey skies with periods of rain. The wet cobblestones were nice photographically, but no substitute for the fantastic skies of Switzerland. I hope you enjoy these images of this most picturesque town.