Sightseeing Tours of Milan Lake Maggiore

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Borromean Islands

Isola Bella - View
Isola dei Pescatori - ViewIsola Bella - GardenIsola Bella -  Palace

The Borromean Islands are three small islands located on the western side of Lake Maggiore.

At the beginning of the 16th century the aristocratic Borromeo Family bought the islands and hired the most famous architects and gardeners to restyle them.   

Isola Bella and Isola Madre were embellished with sumptuous palaces and gardens; while the Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island) remain untouched and the old fishing community could carry on with its traditional way of life.

Isola Bella is the most visited location of the entire Lake Maggiore. The marvellous Baroque Palace built during the 17th century is the main attraction of the island. The Borromeo Family wanted to show off their wealth and position when they commissioned its construction. Today is still possible to admire this very well preserved building and its stunning gardens. The first floor of the palace is where the most important and decorated rooms are located: step back in the past and enjoy the splendid Neoclassical Ballroom, Medals Room or the Tapestry Hall with its unique collection of Flemish tapestry! The island has a spectacular surprise for its visitors: under the palace are located six natural grottos; each grottos was lovely decorated with shells and contrasting stones!

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Isola Madre is mostly known for its magnificent English style gardens. Its uninhabited palace is still furnished with stunning 16th to 19th furnitures and art pieces; today it houses a museum. There are plants from all over the world collected by the Borromeo Family over the centuries.

Isola dei Pescatori is the most picturesque of the archipelago. Today is still inhabited by the descendent of the fishermen left there by the Borromeo. Its narrow street and perfectly preserved buildings seem untouched by the time. The islanders live on tourism: there are many typical shops and mouth-watering restaurants!


Stresa - Cable Car
Stresa - ParcoStresa - LungolagoStresa - Lake Maggiore

Stresa is a lovely village located on the shores of  the enchanting Lake Maggiore. Thanks to the breathtaking views over the lake, in particular over the unique Borromean Islands, and the elegant Villas built by the Italian aristocracy over the centuries, for the last 200 years tourism had been the main source of income.

The town was probably founded around AD 998; it was just a small fisherman village for centuries. The name Stresa literally means strip of land. When the town passed under the dominion of the Borromeo Family everything changed. The poor village became a gorgeous town where the European aristocracy loved to retreat during the summer’s months. At the beginning of the 17th centuries many stunning Villas were built.

When the Simplon Pass opened in 1806 the tourism doubled; a century later it was built also a rail tunnel. Many luxury hotels were erected in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors. Tourists started to enjoy also the ski runs, bob sleighs and the first Italian ski jumps!

Things to do

Today Stresa offers to its visitors a wide range of attractions. Get lost while walking around all the stunning Villas, enjoy the breathtaking views over the Lake Maggiore, visit the unique Borromean Islands or simply enjoy a cruise around the lake! If you are a mountain lover you can take the cable car that in 20 minutes will bring you on the top of Monte Mottarone!

Visiting Stresa during the summer you can have the possibility to enjoy the Stresa Musical Weeks one of the most important classical music festival in Europe!