Stresa—The “Pearl of Lake Maggiore”


One of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Stresa—a Piedmontese town on Lake Maggiore, which has a coastal part called “lungolago”, an island, a hill and a mountain—with a rich past due to a long history—and numerous proposals and attractions for today’s and tomorrow’s tourists.

Just a Strip of Land

Stresa, or better, of Strixia (“small strip of land“), dates back to 998. Initially a fief of the Visconti, later around the sixteenth century, it passed into the hands of the Borromeo family, who commissioned the construction of palaces and gardens.


It is around the early twentieth century that tourism develops in Stresa, with the inauguration of the Sempione tunnel, the opening of the railway line and, in 1921, that of the 2nd tunnel.

Today the tourist of Stresa is spoiled for choice: the lakefront to begin with, with trees and gardens in bloom, where you can walk and stop in one of the many bars for a lunch, an aperitif, an ice cream, or to find accommodation in one of the luxury hotels.

From the beach of this splendid village it is easy to reach Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), where you can admire the Palazzo Borromeo; the Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen Island), with a charming historic center; and the Isola Madre (Mother Island), in the middle of the Borromeo Gulf.

Does the last name Borromeo ring a “jet-setting” bell?

Beatrice Borromeo married the youngest son of Caroline of Monaco, Pierre Casiraghi. The religious ceremony took place on 1 August 2015 on Isola Bella, one of the Borromeo Islands (Isole Borromee), and that was a fabled wedding. One to impress the Monaco Grimaldi’s all right!

Beatrice titles are way older and higher than the Grimaldi’s; She is the daughter of Don Carlo Ferdinando Borromeo, Count of Arona, the son of Vitaliano Borromeo, 2nd Prince of Angera, and his long-time companion, Countess Donna Paola Marzotto.

Through her father she is related to Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584), who became a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Milan, and a canonized saint. The family currently owns most of the Borromean Islands in the Lago Maggiore, and many other estates in the Lombardy and Piedmont countryside.

And if that is not enough, she has beauty and brains; a Degree in Law from Bocconi, and a Master in journalism from Columbia.

Business in Stresa

There are various cultural, sporting and worldly proposals, conferences and congresses in Stresa, especially in spring and autumn, with a choice of international clientele.


Stresa is also a reference point for gourmets: the range of meats and cheeses from the Alps, traditional Ossola pastries, selected meats and game are varied. And then, again, sweet water trout, pike and perch, steamed or fried, something for all palates.


Once you leave the highway and drive down to Stresa through a winding road you can enjoy a series of ”post card” sceneries. I was the driver, therefore I could not take pictures, just saying “ohhh!” and “ahhh!” at every turn. 😲😮😎

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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