Stresa, located on the western shores of Lake Maggiore, is the perfect starting point for exploring the Lake and its surroundings.
In fact, there’s not only a charming town to visit, but also excursions and itineraries to discover, both on land and on water.
Let’s now discover some of the main attractions of Stresa
The first historical source that testifies to the existence of Stresa is a parchment from the year 998. However, this area was already known in Roman times, because of a consular road that connected Mediolanum (modern Milan) with Lake Maggiore.
Stresa then became famous in 1935, when Italy, France and the United Kingdom signed a military agreement called the Stresa Front.
Today this town is an appreciated tourist destination. Its romantic atmosphere is due to its wonderful historic villas, the well-kept gardens and, of course, the view of Lake Maggiore and the mountains.
Villa Pallavicino is an enchanting nineteenth-century neoclassical style building. In 1956 the owners transformed the garden into a wildlife museum open to the public. The main attraction of the garden are the beautiful trees, some of which are among the oldest in Italy. There are chestnuts, lyriodendrons, red beeches, maples, ginko biloba, redwoods, magnolias and a grandiose cedar of Lebanon. In addition, more than 50 species of animals live in the garden of Villa Pallavicino, including kangaroos and zebras.
Villa Ducale is the oldest villa in Stresa, built around 1770.
It’s located right in front of the shores of Lake Maggiore and was the home of the abbot and philosopher Antonio Rosmini, considered one of the greatest Italian thinkers of the 19th century. Abbot Rosmini hosted the greatest personalities of the Italian Risorgimento in the Villa.
This building is called ‘Ducale’ (ducal) because in 1857 it became the residence of Elizabeth of Saxony, Duchess of Genoa. Her daughter, Margherita, later became Queen of Italy.
Only some parts of Villa Ducale are open to visits, including the beautiful park.
In 1931, the Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn bought the entire property of Villa Taranto with the aim of opening one of the best botanical gardens in the world. And today the botanical gardens of Villa Taranto in Stresa host thousands of plants from all over the world, some of which are very rare.
The panorama of Lake Maggiore and the mountains in the background make this place even more fascinating.
During a stay in Stresa it is worth visiting the four Borromean Islands of the Lake Maggiore.
On Isola Bella is the Borromeo family palace, which still houses the orginal paintings, tapestries and the antique furniture.
Much of the island is covered by the Borromean Gardens, built in the seventeenth century in the Baroque style. As you can immagine, this island is rich in history, art and charm.
Isola Madre is the largest of the Borromean islands.
Here the atmosphere is calmer but equally fascinating. Also on Isola Madre there is an ancient palace that houses a collection of vintage objects, and a botanical garden particularly famous for its camellias and azaleas.
Isola dei Pescatori, that is Island of the Fishermen, is famous for its ancient village built by a community of fishermen who lived on the island centuries ago. Today the inhabitants of the Island are only about 50.
Obviously, Isola dei Pescatori is the best place to taste fresh fish dishes.
In addition to the wonderful landscape and the mild climate, Stresa is located in an area of northern Italy rich in infrastructure. Malpensa airport, the A26 motorway and the Simplon international railway are not far away.
And not far away is the beautiful Lake Como and its enchanting towns.