lago maggiore

Alongside Lago Maggiore is a beautiful city called Stresa.  This was our pit stop for the second biggest lake in Italy.  A gorgeous lake with the alps (both Italian and Swiss) in the background, Lago Maggiore is a hot spot for a boating, fishing, and relaxing.  I kept staring at the juxtoposition of green hills and snow topped alps to the backdrop of this crystal blue lake and found it absolutely breathtaking.

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And where there are hills, there is hiking.  We started off going half way up for a hike at mid level.  The views were gorgeous.

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Then, all the way up the mountain to the snowy tops.  We were here in April and there was still snow!  Check out the views!!

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From Stresa, travelers have easy access to the islands at the center of the lake.  Isola Bella is the “prettiest” and the “biggest” with a hotel shaped like a wedding cake on the side.  This hotel used to be the home of the Borromeo family and has been a known travel destination for royalties like Napoleon, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles.

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Also well visited is the Isola dei Pescatori.  This is a fisherman’s island and there are many boats that line the shores.  The islanders used to dry fish on their balconies but now the streets are filled with restaurants for seafood.  The steeple comes from the famed church of San Vittore, which has stood here for centuries as a beacon in the water.

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The best part of Stresa is all of their amazing restaurants.  Many of these places had “michelin recommended” stickers and other award denotations from traveling blogs/magazines on their doors.  The most memorable meal was at a place called La Botte.  Not only were their doors covered in stickers of accolades, it is impossible to get a seat without a reservation – no matter how early you go!  This is their a crab ravioli with a rocket pesto, which is probably one of the best dishes I ever had in the world.

italy2014-4 976  Since coming home, I have made a deconstructed version of this with regular pasta, a pesto made with pine nuts/basil/arugula/EVOO, and fresh crab.  Delicious.

And don’t be afraid to eat too much!  Because after your meal, you can take a nice stroll along the water to watch the sunset back to your hotel.  So pretty.

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