Stresa is gorgeous – small, right on Lake Maggiore . It has a character filled main piazza lined with restaurants and cafes.
Coffee , walk, lunch of Sicilian salad and mussels ,washed down by beer and then walk along the lake or promenade with many other people – Italian and all sorts/ very touristy. BeAutiful weather and a few were sunbathing on small pebbly beach! Some grand hotels along the waterfront.
Isola Bella is one of the Borromean Islands, about 400 metres off Stresa. Ferry across was easy to get and relatively cheap. Took about 10 minutes to reach Isola Bella.
The baroque palace was a surprise, very grand and sumptuous. And there were lots of other tourists! Tour groups etc. Along with the Palace comes a luxuriant Italian-style garden, which reaches a height of 37 metres it is laid out on ten terraces. Many parts of the palace are open to visitors: richly furnished rooms and opulent salons embellished with priceless artworks. The morano glass chandeliers were spectacular. The grotto space was interesting. But overall the palace was much bigger and more ornate than we had imagined .
The garden is full of flowers and exotic plants of great rarity, which grow thanks to the particularly mild climate of the Borromean Gulf. Everything on the island has been designed to create a scenic effect, including the “Theatre” constructed at the end of the superimposed terraces, dominated by a statue of a Unicorn, the heraldic emblem of the Borromeos, which is flanked by statues representing Nature and Art. The huge, extraordinary garden is further decorated with ponds, fountains and a plethora of statues dating from the second half of the 17th century.
The white peacocks that wander over the manicured lawns add their grace to this enchanting spot. It was really the imposing statues that made the gardens so different and so impressiveness .
View from the waters edge looking back