Stresa, Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piedmont

The town consists of 10 boroughs from south to north along the western lakefront of Lake Maggiore, the Mottarone mountain and the Borromean Isles, including Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori or Superiore and Isola Madre. It is a fascinating architectural jewel, with its beautiful villas and liberty-style palaces surrounded by parks and gardens.


  • Altitude: 200 m a.s.l
  • Surface area: 33,23 sq km
  • Population: about 5000 inhabitants
  • Population Density: 153 inhabitants per sq km
  • Zip/postal code: 28838
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0323
  • Patron Saint: St. Ambrogio
  • Frazioni & Localities: Alpino, Binda, Brisino, Carciano, Isola Bella, Isola Pescatori, Levo, Magognino, Mottarone, Passera, Someraro, Stropino, Vedasco.
  • GPS Coordinates: 45°53'N, 8°31'E


Stresa appears in documents before the year 1000 with the name of Strixia, meaning strip of land, and was a fishing borough until the 15th century, when it became a holiday residence of the Visconti and later the Borromeo family. For its mild climate and the beautiful location, it was included in the "Grand Tour" of the European upper classes from about 1660 until the 1840s, and was a celebrated tourist destination in the travel books of famous visitors, as Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Stendhal and background of some chapters of Ernest Hemingway's "Farewell to Arms".

What to see

  • The church of SS.mo Crocefisso, hosting the tomb of Antonio Rosmini.
  • The late 18-th century Villa Ducale, built for the Duchess of Genoa, later the residence of philosopher Antonio Rosmini, and today seat of the Centro Internazionale Studi Rosminiani, hosting a huge collection of medicine books. The villa is surrounded by an enchanting Italian-style garden, with a huge Lebanon cedar tree; here the Stresa Literary Award is held each year.
  • The Palazzo dei Congressi, the seat of renowned musical events as the Stresa Festival.
  • Isola Bella, with the unfinished summer Palace of the Borromeo Counts, who transformed the originally barren soil carrying huge quantities of terrain onto the isle and landscaping 10 terraced gardens.
  • Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Isles, uninhabited, with a splendid palace surrounded by English-style gardens and hosting art works spanning from the 16th to the 19th century.
  • Isola dei Pescatori, a fishing borough with about 200 inhabitants.
  • Alpinia, a botanical garden at 800 mt a.s.l., preserving over Alpine 700 plant species.
  • The Mottarone summit, at 1491 m a.s.l., connected to the town by a cable car, a renowned ski-ing resort, offering a wonderful panorama over Monte Rosa and the seven lakes (Maggiore, Orta, Mergozzo, Varese, Comabbio, Monate, Biandronno).
  • The 2 smaller islets of Malghera, covered with bushes and offering an enchanting small beach, and Isolino di San Giovanni, which is part of the municipality of Verbania.

Where to stay

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Provinces of Piedmont
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