Plan your routes and know which are the must-see sites to visit


Stresa is a town in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in Piedmont, region of the Po plain in Italy. Perched on the western shore of placid Lake Maggiore, the small seaside resort of Stresa is backed by the Alpine foothills of Monte Mottarone. Stroll through the picturesque Piazza Cadorna in the city center. This owes its fame to the proximity of the Borromean Islands and is particularly famous for its luxury hotels on a tree-lined promenade. The Grand Hôtel des Îles Borromées is the oldest of them (it was founded in 1861) and is famous for having hosted Ernest Hemingway

The crown jewels of the city are undoubtedly the three tiny Borromean Islands (Isole Borromee) which lie just a few minutes across Lake Maggiore. Isola Bella and Isola Madre have extraordinary 17th century palazzi decorated with incredible decadence and surrounded by formal French terraced gardens. In contrast, Isola dei Pescatori is home to chapels, art galleries, souvenir shops and fish restaurants overlooking the lake

Origine of Stresa

The first traces of the existence of Stresa date back to around the year 1000 under the name of Strixia. From that time, the town successively belonged to the di Castello and Visconti families and from the 15th century to the Borromeo. In the 18th century the city became an Austrian possession before being ceded to the House of Savoy. From the 19th century, the city became a resort and attracted the first European tourists. Famous people stay in Stresa such as Stendhal, Dickens, Chateaubriand, Hemingway, kings and princes. Large villas are being built on the shores of the lake as well as large luxury hotels such as the Grand Hotel des Îles Borromées, the Bristol…

When to get there
The best time to explore Stresa and other towns along Lake Maggiore is spring through fall, as many local attractions close in winter due to freezing temperatures and biting winds blowing off the lake

A pleasant destination

Mass tourism has now replaced this elitist tourism, but Stresa remains a pleasant destination and an excellent starting point for discovering the beauties of the region. The pedestrian streets of the old town of Stresa are particularly pleasant to discover. Many shops offer products from the region, some of which are of high quality. You will also enjoy having a meal or a coffee in one of the town squares or enjoying an ice cream while strolling on the promenade along the lake

How to get there

Stresa is on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, over an hour northwest of Milan. You can take a train from Milano Centrale station to Stresa, or you can join a Lake Maggiore tour that includes transportation. To reach the Borromean Islands, take one of the ferries that depart from Piazza Marconi on the seafront of Stresa

Strolling along the shores of the lake

The large hotels are located along the shore, via Umberto I. Their spectacular facades and richly decorated interiors are interesting to discover.  The villas built on the shores of the lake or the heights of Stresa are also interesting to discover but generally only visible from the outside. They are the representatives of the styles in vogue in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century: Art Nouveau, Liberty, …. A stroll along the lakeside promenade will allow you to enjoy magnificent views of the lake and the Borromean Islands located opposite Stresa 

Our addresses:
Ice cream parlor: Fior di Gelato, 32 Piazza Generale Luigi Cadorna. Quality ice cream for this small shop overlooking one of the liveliest squares in Stresa.
Products: Enoteca la Cambusa, 27 via Cavour. A store specializing in wine, offering great Italian vintages. Excellent advice in French. You will also find Gragnano pasta which is among the most famous in Italy (but not from the region)