At the foot of the Alps there is very green region, rich of rivers and beautiful lakes of glacial origin; it is called “Terra dei Laghi” and it is only an hour drive from Milan.
The jewels of Lake Maggiore: La Rocca Borromeo of Angera, Isola Bella and Isola Madre
The Lago Maggiore (Major Lake), second for size after the Lago di Garda, has been for centuries source of inspiration for writers and artists who came from everywhere in Europe to admire it. Stendhal used to say: “If one has a sensitive heart, he must even sell his shirt to go visit the lago Maggiore”.
The hills that protect it from the northern wind give the lake a mild climate, making it ideal for stays in summer as well as in spring and fall: a sweet escape for those who are seeking a few days of relax and sport.
View from the Pallanza pier. Photo by Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Isola Bella it is the prettiest of the three islands, and is a short boat trip away from Stresa. Count Vitaliano Borromeo started building the monumental baroque palace in 1670, visited by thousands of tourists daily. Inestimable works of art are preserved in the Borromeo residence. The terraced gardens, which made Isola Bella famous, are rich in all varieties of rare plants and flowers and are a peerless example of an Italian garden of that time. On the island there are many bars, restaurants and shops selling handcraft products and souvenirs.
Isola Bella. Photo by Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Isola Madre, it is the largest and the most picturesque of the Borromeo Islands. Famous all over the world for the marvelous gardens of rare plants and exotic flowers, rich of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. The palace is extremely interesting with its period furnishing and collection of uniforms, dolls and porcelains. The exhibition of Teatrini delle Marionette (Puppet theatres) from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is exceptional, the only existing Palace Theatre which has come down to us intact through the centuries. The marvelous back-cloths are the work of Alessandro Sanquirico (1777-1849), stage-designer at the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, and Carlo Fontana, stage-designer at the Teatro Regio of Turin.
Isola Madre. Photo by Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Isola dei Pescatori, it is a fascinating fisherman island that owes its name to the activity of its inhabitants. The charm of this island, unchanged over the centuries, is due to the simplicity and rustic innocence of its houses. Excellent restaurants offer the opportunity of tasting some of the best fish dishes.
Isola dei Pescatori. Photo by Michele Ursino BY CC 2.0
The Lake Maggiore
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