The Lakes District

“Commune with nature where Italy is joined to the Alps, in the lovely Italian lakes district.” –Rick Steves

Lake Como is the better-known lake, but we had chosen
Stresa, on Lake Maggiore,
as our home base for three nights.
A thin strip of fancy hotels
(from the Grand Tour days of the late 19th century)
accompanies a few-blocks square of
traffic-free, touristy shops just a short way from the dock.


upper right side, with Domodossola and Locarno


A major draw are the three islands imprinted with the Borromeo name. There is a palace, fantastic gardens, a Borromeo villa-palace,
and a surprising residential area on one of the islands.
A tour of Isola Bella, Isola Superiore (Pescatori),
and Isola Madre are a must.


And on our last day, we chose the full day trip.
A regular gauge train took us to Domodossolo,
close to the Swiss border; then switched to a narrow-gauge, big-windowed train crossing into Switzerland
and arriving in Locarno; and then departed
by lake boat back to Stresa. A most scenic day.



two of the grand hotels

the Borromeo villa on Isola Madre

lunch on Isola Pescatore (Superiore) under the wisteria


the Borromeo gardens of Isola Bella


Isola Bella: Napolean's shell & stone apartment; peacocks in the garden; the greeting "lobby" of the palace


entry to Isola Bella

view from palace on Isola Bella to Isola Pescatore


approaching Isola Bella from the dock

choices to make at the dock


Domodossola -almost  a two hour train ride from Stresa

Domodossola train station

interesting chimney in Stresa


lunch at Old Town Market Square - ripoff prices

park ornament - no bull!


A special note of appreciation
goes to Guiseppe,
Hotel La Fontana's manager/owner, for his personality, helpfulness,
and a very early breakfast
on our way to Malpensa.

grand marionette collection at Borromeo Palace