Stresa, Piedmont (Italy)
According to foodezine.com, Stresa is the most popular resort town of the Lake District of the Piedmont region, which includes lakes Maggiore and Orta. The lakes are located at the foot of the Alps in the northern part of Piedmont. These places, with their variety of historical monuments, landscapes and natural parks, are a great place to relax. At one time such famous people as Frederic de Stendhal, Ernest Hemingway, Honore de Balzac, Friedrich Nietzsche and Piero Chiara stayed here.
The city of Stresa is located on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy, its area is 212 square meters. km. Since the 19th century in Stresa aristocrats and people of art rested, and even today a small lakeside resort with chic old villas, numerous hotels and picturesque surroundings attracts many tourists. In Stresa, the church of San Ambrogio of the late 18th century and many beautiful villas of the 18th-20th centuries with picturesque parks are interesting. Every summer the city hosts an international music festival. Mount Mottarone rises above Stresa, to the top of which a funicular goes. On the slopes of the mountain there is a botanical garden “Alpine Park” with an area of 40,000 square meters. m with hundreds of species of alpine plants. From the very top there is a breathtaking panoramic view of the lakes and the Alps. Stresa is also home to the aristocratic Villa Pallavicino, surrounded by a park with centuries-old trees. The Borromean Islands
are located 400 meters from Stresa: the island of Bella, Madre and Pescatori. Since the 16th century, these islands have belonged to the noble Borromeo family, from which they got their name. Here you can see two palaces of the Borromeo family with extensive parks. There is a ferry to the islands from Stresa. A little north of Stresa is the city of Baveno. In its vicinity are the Candoglia marble quarries, where the red marble used to build the Milan Cathedral was mined. Baveno is also famous for its hot springs. On the opposite side of the lake from Stresa, on Cape Castagnola near the town of Verbania, it is worth visiting Villa Taranto with gardens containing about 20,000 plants from all over the world, and the Romanesque church of San Remigio from the 11th and 12th centuries. Verbania is also the starting point for a trip to the Val Grande National Park., which extends on the slopes of the Lepontine Alps. The park covers an area of 14598 hectares. Here you can see mountain ranges with deep gorges, dense forests and alpine meadows. In addition to the natural wealth, the park presents many archaeological sites related to the ancient Alpine civilization, the Vogogna castle in the village of the same name, which was built in the 10th century, as well as the Cadorna defense line – a network of fortifications built during the First World War to protect against Austrian-German attacks. At the southern borders of the Val Grande National Park, in the vicinity of the city of Verbania, there is Lake Mergozzo, which in ancient times was part of Lake Maggiore. Lake Mergozzo attracts many tourists in the summer. Further north from the Val Grande National Park stretch the Vigezzo valleys. and d’Osolla are great places for hiking, and even to the north, near the border of the Piedmont region in the Formazza valley, there is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe – del Toce, 143 m high. 7 km northeast of Verbania, the city of Ghiffa is interesting, famous for its ” Holy Mountain” – a place of pilgrimage where the Church of the Holy Trinity of the 16th century stands. A little to the east, on three coastal islets, the medieval castles of Cannero Riviera lined up, which were used by robbers to attack merchants who crossed to Switzerland. Nearby is the city of Cannobio. This is the last settlement of Lake Maggiore, just 4 km from here the border with Switzerland. Here you can see the church of Santuario della Pieta of the 16th century, which was built after the icon of the Virgin Mary located in the city began to stream myrrh (the icon has survived to this day, every year in January it is carried through the whole city), the vast coastal square of Victor Emmanuel III, an ancient port and “Lido” basin, created by separating a section of coastal waters, with a sandy beach. The main attraction of the southern part of Lake Maggiore is the giant statue of St. Charles. located in the city of Arona. It is the second largest such monument in the world after the American Statue of Liberty. Cardinal Carlo Borromeo was born in Arona in the 16th century. The remains of the medieval castle of the 13th century, where the great religious reformer grew up, have survived to this day. In 1698, a 35-meter bronze statue was erected in his honor on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
Despite the abundance of sightseeing objects, tourists to Lake Maggiore are primarily attracted by unlimited opportunities for summer recreation: water sports and hiking. Numerous hotels, guest houses, sports water clubs and rental shops are waiting for their visitors.
A few kilometers west of Stresa is Lake Orta . Lake Orta famous for its sacred sites. First of all, this is the island of San Giulio with the Romanesque Benedictine abbey of the same name. According to legend, the monastery was founded by the patron saint of these places – St. Julio, who lived in the 4th century AD. Legend has it that in ancient times a giant snake lived on the island. However, Saint Julio managed to destroy it and build a church here. The monastery of San Giulio has preserved many frescoes, the oldest of which date back to the 15th century. Also on the shores of Lake Orta are the so-called “Holy Mountains” – ensembles of churches and chapels, which were built in the period from the 16th to the 17th centuries in response to the Catholic reform, designed to modernize the church. The interiors of these ensembles were decorated with statues, bas-reliefs and frescoes depicting biblical scenes. With their help, it was planned to strengthen Catholic traditions among the people.