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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Information About The Alibus Shuttle From Malpensa To Stresa

Your shuttle bus will look like this or similar, with, most likely, this S.A.F. logo on it, not Alibus.


For those of you making your spring or summer plans to come to Stresa, here is the information on the Alibus shuttle between Malpensa Airport and Stresa:


Things You Need To Know About Alibus:

What Is The Alibus Operating Schedule?
For 2017 Alibus will begin service to Stresa and Lago Maggiore on April 1, and will run until October 15. It runs seven days a week. The earliest bus each day leaves Malpensa around 8:30 am and the last bus each day leaves Malpensa around 9:00 pm. The trip to Stresa takes one hour. For the returns to Malpensa, the earliest bus leaves Stresa each day around 6:30 am and the last bus leaves Stresa each day around 7:30 pm, arriving at Malpensa one hour later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

La Baia Rosa Bistrot - Stresa


La Baia Rosa Bistrot is the restaurant part of the Baia Rosa complex, which also includes La Baia Rosa pool and beach. Directly next to the beach and entrance to the pool, the restaurant is not, however, exclusively for their patrons; the main entrance faces the Carciano parking piazza, also near the cableway ticket office and station. Which means, yes, you have the awesome views of the gondolas arriving and departing, whether dining outside on their lakefront terrace or inside at the window bar. Not a bad view of the lake either... Inside, the decor is cool and casual. The restaurant serves everything from pizzas, salads, and sandwiches to full meals, and is open as a bar every night until midnight (except Wednesdays). 










Friday, June 30, 2017

Water Lily Pond In The Gardens Of The Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees


Where is this in Stresa? It's the water lily pond in the gardens of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. The small pond is stocked with multicolored carp imported from Japan, and the entire pond and area surrounding it is a carefully balanced ecosystem where water, plants, and animals exist together in perfect harmony.
If you like gardens, don't miss a stroll through the park at the five-star Borromees. It's open to the public, just enter from the main driveway at the left side of the hotel.
But if you really like gardens, do your homework first; there's a lot of interesting information and statistics about the garden on the hotel website. They are rightly quite proud of the garden; some trees and features were here even before the hotel was built in 1863 and have been incorporated into the design. The rest is constantly evolving, with the seasons and the years.

Read about it, and then stroll, sit on one of the benches, and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Parco Naturale Dell'Alta Valle Antrona


Just about an hour easy drive from Stresa, the Parco Naturale dell'Alta Valle Antrona offers many walks, from easy to difficult, from 40-minute strolls around tiny lakes, to day journeys for serious trekking. There are 18 natural lakes here, and six man-made lakes.

At Lago Camplicciolo walk along the tracks of an old mining train and through mining tunnels

At around 1,400 meters altitude

That particular color of some Alpine lakes - Lago Camplicciolo


Walk under a waterfall at Lago Antrona



Just as an example, here's what we did: We drove to Lago Camplicciolo (an artificial lake created by one of the hydroelectric dams), parked the car there, and we walked the 1.5 hour giro del lago (loop around the lake). Once back at the car we drove back down to Lago Antrona, had a relaxed lunch at Ristorante Bar Lago Pineta, and after a hearty lunch walked from there around Lago Antrona (there are charming picnic areas distributed all around the lake as well). This second lake loop took only 45 minutes.

Take a look at these websites for tons of information: http://www.valleantrona.com/ and http://www.parcovalleantrona.it/Eindex.php

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hiking Trails For Stresa And Beyond


For you serious hikers, below are links to very detailed hiking maps for Stresa and the surrounding area, encompassing the area from Feriolo to past Lesa, and up and over Mt. Mottarone. Many of the trails link two towns, where sometimes it will be possible to take public transportation, or one of the ferries, back to your staring point. The second link gives detailed information about some of the most common trails. The pdf pages are downloadable and printable. Happy hiking!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Il Carlone" Statue Of San Carlo Borromeo


Have you visited "il Carlone" (Big Carlo) yet? It's fascinating. Interesting facts about this hollow bronze statue: It was built to commemorate San Carlo Borromeo, who was born in 1538 in the Borromeo fortress that at that time stood where now the ruins of la Rocca are. His parents, Lord Giberto II and Lady Margherita Medici of Marignano, ruled over much of the lake. Choosing a religious life, San Carlo was appointed Archbishop of Milan on 12 May 1564, and, some years after his death in 1584, Pope Paul V canonized Carlo on 1 November 1610. This statue built in his honor was completed in 1698, a collaboration between the designer Giovan Battista Crespi, better known as “Il Cerano” and the sculptors Siro Zanella and Bernardo Falconi.


It is truly a masterpiece of engineering. Until the building of the Statue of Liberty this was the tallest hollow bronze statue in the world, and is still number 2. In fact, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty, came to Arona to study the statue’s structure. A plaque can be found at the foot of the Statue of Liberty commemorating the inspiration given by the ‘Sancarlone’, now no longer the largest statue in the world.
The statue is 90 feet (35 meters) tall. You can climb to the top, with a fascinating view of the internal structure, and, at the top, gaze through various windows. The climb consists of a spiral staircase, and then a long ladder to the top.



Ready for it? Intrigued? Get all the information on the website. San Carlo is just outside Arona, easily reachable by car.You can also visit the gardens, the church, and the small Sacre Monte. Directions, ticket information, and much more can be found here: www.statuasancarlo.it

all photos courtesy of the main website

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Painted Village Of Legro, Near Orta


When you're driving to Orta, before parking the car in the large parking lots near the historic city center, or once you leave, take a very quick detour and go to see the interesting little village of Legro, just a couple of minutes outside of the town of Orta.

Since 1998 Legro has been a part of a rather special group of 127 Italian towns, the L'Associazione Italiana Paesi Dipinti, the Association of Italian Towns. Many walls of the tiny village are painted with colorful frescoes. The subjects of the murals painted on the walls of the village were mostly inspired by the work of the local poet and writer Gianni Rodari, and by films made in the Lake Orta area. I've posted a few photos I took on a recent drive through the town; I'll leave you to discover the rest on your own!






Legro is a frazione of Orta (a small town, part of the larger town), and is where the Orta-Miasino train station is. The map with the arrow shows the location. There's some parking around the station, and a fun birreria as well, if you want to walk around. If you only have a few minutes, a drive slowly around the narrow, pretty streets of the village will take you past many of the paintings.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Ristorante Luci Sul Lago: A Hidden Spot Near Orta




Shhh... Let's call this one of those "secret" places, slightly off the beaten tourist track. For those of you visiting Lake Orta by car, after you visit the town, take the boat out to Isola San Giulio, walk through the Sacro Monte, after all that, if you would like a tranquil spot to reflect on your day in Orta, look for Luci sul Lago, located in a quiet little bay just outside the town of Orta, on the road to and from Stresa. 



They offer everything from a simple aperitivo, to light meals and pizzas, to formal meals. We stopped there for a Sunday morning aperitivo and decided to stay for lunch. You can even cater weddings and events here, and when you see the location you'll see why. There's a beach club on one side, offering rental paddle boats, and a grass park area on the other, where you can picnic. And there is parking, if you get there at a lucky time. Otherwise, park along the road, as you will see everyone else doing. 




Take a look at the gorgeous photos on their website; you'll want to make this your "secret" place in Orta too. 

Website with all information: www.lucisullago.com




Friday, April 21, 2017

The Laveno "Bucket" Lift




Wow! Look at these views! These photos are from the website of the Funivia del Lago Maggiore, as it's called in Italian, but we all call it the Laveno "Bucket Lift." We call it this because the journey up the mountain is not in a gondola, or a chairlift, but truly in a large bucket that you stand in.


Having taken the ride, I can tell you that it is not as scary as it sounds. Here are some facts: The ride takes 16 minutes, and brings you to the top of Sasso del Ferro, an altitude of 1,100 meters. It's silent, and if you're truly nervous, there are also closed "buckets" you can choose to ride in. At the top, there is a restaurant and a bar, along with a park area, and a launching pad where you can watch the hang gliders, which I found fascinating.



The best way to get there from Stresa is to take the traghetto from Verbania Intra; the traghetto is the car ferry that crosses Lago Maggiore every 20 minutes. Just walk right on... Great views crossing the lake, and the ferry drops you in the town of Laveno Mombello, a charming town to walk around in before or after the trip up the mountain.

Here's the website, for all the information: www.funiviedellagomaggiore.it



Monday, April 10, 2017

Outdoor Sports And Activities List

So you're the outdoorsy type. For you a vacation is more what you do, rather than what you see. No problem here on Lago Maggiore, there are enough diverse summer outdoor activities and sports to keep you busy. Here is a compilation of different activities you can enjoy outdoors in and around Stresa. 

Outdoor Sports and Activities


Swimming

Lago Maggiore Zipline

Golf

Tennis

Windsurfing

Boating

Mountain Biking

Fishing

Walking

Rock Climbing

Rafting and Canyoning

It sounds like fun, no? Of course, there are other sports too, if you are interested in one that you don't see here, just ask. Now take a look here for more ideas:

Top Ten Things to See in Stresa

Photo credit: Windsurfing-for-Web




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stresa Festival 2017


The 2017 Edition of the Stresa Festival, the 56th annual edition, will commence on July 18, 2017 and end on September 8, 2017. You can find all the pertinent information, and buy tickets, on their website: www.stresafestival.eu  Check the Box Office and Programme 2017 pages for the most relevant information.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Dates: Borromee Islands, Other Attractions, Open

The Borromeo islands, Villa Taranto, Rocca Angera and Parco Pallavicino are all getting ready to open again. The winter hibernation is over, and the 2017 season is beginning! And as you can see from the following photographs, everything else in Stresa is opening too:


(   Continued  ...   )

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fishing Lake Near Stresa -- Lago Betulle



A short distance from Stresa, just 200 meters away from the shores of Lago Maggiore, hidden, but just off the main road, is a quiet, tranquil little lake, a perfect spot for a day of fishing: Fishing Center Lago Betulle. 



This man-made lake offers approximately 1,000 meters of safe banks, 40,000 square meters of water with a maximum depth of 15 meters, and the chance to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, salmon, sturgeon, carp, hamour, channel catfish, and more. And not just tiny fish; the record as of this writing is a 16.2 kilo carp!




Spend all day, as there is a restaurant and playground on the premises. There are also specials on certain days, and fishing championships on others. Take a look at the website or contact them if you have specific questions or for prices and information.

There is parking on-site. Lake Betulle can also be reached with public transportation by taking the bus to the Feriolo stop and walking a short distance to the lake. 



Lago Betulle
via Arnold Feriolo di Baveno
Phone: +30 0323 28402
email: lagobetulle@libero.it
http://www.lagobetulle.it/

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Thousand Years... And Counting...

Have you noticed these signs on all roads as you enter into Stresa? 998 to 1998; one thousand years! (Actually 2018 will make it 1,020; we're working on that second millennium now.) And not only 1,000 years of history, but 1,000 years of hospitality.

Not too much remains of the early history of Stresa. The name first appeared in a document in the year 998. Tourism started to take off in the early 1900s, and since then Stresa has been visited by royalty, aristocrats, politicians, artists, celebrities, and millions of people like you and I.

Here are some bits of historic information:
  • Stresa's ancient name was Strixia, a latin term meaning "a narrow strip of land." At that time the fishing village was reachable on land by an old Roman road. Perhaps the name referred to the narrow strip of flat land that was the village, nestled between mountains and lake. In local dialect, Stresa is pronounced "Strecia," which means a narrow strip or passage.

  • In the 1400s Stresa was a divided city. Where now there is the road via Roma there once was a narrow river, the Cree. On one side of the Cree Stresa was owned by the Visconti family, while on the other side all was owned by the Borromeo family, who were soon to transform the three islands in the lake and take full ownership of Stresa.

  • The creation of the Simplon Pass through the Alps in the early 1800s, then the Simplon train tunnel, opened in 1906, opened up Stresa to travel from northern Europe, starting a tourism "boom."

  • In spite of the increases in visitors, Stresa's first boat dock wasn't built until 1860. Before that, boat passengers were ferried out to the boats in rowboats.

  • In 1935, the "Stresa Front" meetings between the U.K., Italy, and France were held in Stresa, in a futile attempt to combat and contain Nazi Germany.
The round sign below does not mean no trumpets, sadly; it does mean no honking of car horns. And the Comune Fiorito yellow sign below is in reference to Stresa's several wins as a "Floral City of Italy."

Stresa may be a tiny town, but it has fit a lot of history into those 1,000 years. Come and visit, and make some history here yourself!



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Vintage Images Make Beautiful Greeting Cards


I saw this blank card at Libreria Leone, the wonderful card, book, stationery, gift, and so much more shop, located on the corner of Piazza Cadorna and via Roma, in Stresa. When open, the front and back of the card creates a complete image of an old print of Stresa (unfortunately undated and uncredited. I bought a few to send, to keep, to frame perhaps. The islands are practically unchanged; perhaps the facade of the palace is in its earlier phase, before it was redesigned and became the main entrance. The lakefront, instead, is completely different; rural, dirt road, animals grazed and fishing boats were pulled along the shore. Imagine strolling there, with the majestic palace just across the water...

Here's another:

Libreria Leone has a great selection of photo and history books about Stresa and the area.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Winter, Sunday, Lunch On The Mountain

There's sunshine, warm enough to feel on your skin. There's a roaring fire in the stone hearth. There are bowls of polenta and spezzatino, and plates of potatoes and melted cheese, raclette. There are ski lessons for the little ones and not-so-little ones who are just learning. And there's the Alpyland toboggan for all. 

Where? At the top of Mt. Mottarone in winter. Spend a nice Sunday afternoon there, even if just for the lunch and sunshine part, as well as a little walk around. 

It's about a 30-minute drive from Stresa, winding up the mountain, all the time following signs for Mottarone. It's a toll road, 8 euros per car (as of this writing). You'll drive under the Alpyland track when you're near the top, and then find parking in one of the dirt parking areas or along the road. Parking is all free.



In winter Casa della Neve is the center of the action. Rustic mountain decor, lots of people, large tables of families and friends, warm comfort foods, and views to die for. 







If you take the cableway up from Carciano it takes about 18 minutes, plus another short chairlift ride to reach the top (or a 15-minute walk). Cost: 13.50 euro per adult/8.50 per child 4 to 12 (as of this writing). (stresa-mottarone.it)

Either way, what views...




Although there is no natural snow at the moment, Mottarone always produces enough snow for the ski lessons. Check the Alpyland, Casa della Neveand Mt. Mottarone Ski School websites for more information.

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