Lake Maggiore – Stresa

this is an excerpt from the book “Lake Maggiore” by Enrico Massetti.

Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore

Stresa and Borromee Islands, a boat trip

This boat itinerary covers the Central part of Lake Maggiore, with its Borromean Islands.

This itinerary is especially recommended in spring or autumn when often you can leave the fog and cold of Milan to reach sun-shining lakefront views in the mild climate of the Lake Maggiore.

Isola Bella
Isola Bella

Borromee Islands, Isola Bella & Isola Superiore

The first stop is at the Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), right opposite the beach of Stresa and 400 far meters from the coast. It is the most famous of the three islands that make up the archipelago; Count Borromeo III had a mansion built and grandiose garden for his wife Isabella (from whom the name of the Island, that shortened to “Isola Bella”), one of the most beautiful examples of 17th-century gardens.

Numerous artists worked here – from Angelo Crivelli to Vismara, to the celebrated Richini and Fontana – transforming the island into a sort of incredible flowered vessel, a truncated pyramid with ten superimposed terraces, joined together by tiny flights of steps, courtyards, caves, baths, fountains and waterworks, green back-drops and rare plants, that culminate into a vast hemicycle called the “Theatre”.

The Palazzo is an imposing massive structure with a central body of four floors and three lateral frames where you find the suggestive subterranean salons “in grottoes.”

It houses a picture-gallery with the works of Gianbattista Tiepolo, Luca Giordano, Francesco Zuccarelli, a noteworthy gallery of Flemish tapestries from the 18th-century and antique decors. The Palazzo and the gardens are open to the public from March 27th to October 24th, from 9.00 to 12.00 and from 13.30 to 17.20.

From Isola Bella, going northwest, we reach the Isola Superiore (Superior Island), about 300 meters long and 100 wide, which hosts, taking its name, an ancient and picturesque fishermen’s village, of tiny winding, narrow streets. To be seen the Parrocchiale di San Vittore, of probable Romanesque origins, which to the visitor today appears in the restructured style of 1627.

the Palace
the Palace

Borromean Islands, Isola Madre

From Baveno, the boat departs once again for the last Island of the Borromeo archipelago, the Isola Madre (Mother Island), the largest, green and fragrant, which Flaubert defined “a terrestrial paradise.” 330 meters long and 220 wide, it is still the property of the Borromeos as is the Isola Bella, and it is without a doubt the most interesting from a landscape and biological point of view.

Called Island of San Vittore initially, then Renata in honor of Count Borromeo that transformed it, and, from the 17th cent., with the present name, hosts the villa and the garden begun by Lancillotto Borromeo in the early 16th century. The park, called Botanical Garden (with beautiful views on to the lake), is dived into five sectors where they alternate and come one after the other: gardens, pergolas, groves, drives, baths, with splendid and rare examples of birds and fowls roaming freely. The villa’s interior hosts restorations of epoch milieu and a collection of chinaware and livery.

Baveno Cloister - Photo © mauroman
Baveno Cloister

Baveno

In a few minutes, the boat turns to berth on to the coat, to Baveno. The little town, of ancient origin, documented since the beginning of the 11th century, is one of the major tourist spots of the lake. Among its monuments two important structures: the Parrocchiale of St. Gervasio and St. Protaso of the 12th-13th centuries, adapted in the 7th-8th century, with Romanesque bell and the octagonal baptistery, this too restored in the 18th-19th cent.

With an elegant appearance, with a pleasant garden lake-front from which you enjoy an enchanting view onto the Borromeo Gulf and over the Lombardy lakeshore up to the Laveno inlet, the little town boasts many illustrious guests.

From Byron to Lamartine, from the Czarist Alexandra to Queen Victoria of England, from Wagner to Umberto Giordano – who composed the opera Fedora in the namesake villa – and to finish Churchill who is portrayed in some Parrocchiale watercolors. Baveno is what’s more famous for the red granite cave, and it opens onto the foothills of Mt. Camoscio (890 meters) at the back of the town, from which also raise the mineral water springs called “Fonti di Baveno.”

In Baveno, you have a Trenitalia station, take the train if you want to end your trip back without going all the way back to Stresa by boat.

Where to stay in Stresa

There are hotels, apartments, villas, and B&Bs available, check it out and make a reservation here.

Where to stay in Baveno

There are hotels, apartments, villas, and B&Bs available, check it out and make a reservation here.

this is an excerpt from the book “Lake Maggiore” by Enrico Massetti.

William Dellorusso
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy

Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.

The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)

Music
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