Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lago Maggiore Stresa, part 1

Lets go to visit Stresa

Stresa is a pearl in the heart of Lake Maggiore, in Italian: Lago Maggiore and meaning "the larger lake". Although the Lake Maggiore isn't the largest in size in Italy. 

View from the apartment from a friend towards Lake Maggiore

The story tells that it was settled around 1000 and it was called Strixia. Later Strexia and named Stresa only around 1930. 

Stresa has four areas: islands, coast line, hills and mountains. As a matter of fact the 3 Borromeo Islands out of 4 belong to Stresa, as well as the Mount Mottarone, you may visit by cable car that leaves from the harbour near public swimming pool. 

Stresa is to me an excellent place to observe shooting stars. Although my hobby for astrology goes far beyond that. Shooting stars are visible over the lake all around the year, and most often around 3 am. It requires some voluntary to "stay up", and look to the sky to for a while before the shooting stars start to appear.  It should be easy in a nice company and with a glass of some excellent Piemonte wine or grappa. 

photo www.youdisco.net
Stresa is not really a location for young people who want to have places to go. Such as discos or bars. Most restaurants close early but might them keep open a bit later in a high season that in Italy is in August and during all the summer weekends. To go to discos youth need to travel to towns such as Arona, Verbania, Novara or Castelletto Ticino, where discoteca Gilda keeps it's name raised up. 

I found out that most restaurants truly want to serve the best they can. So far nearly any restaurant at Stresa suits for dining. For reviews search for some specialised websites. 
I can eat in a main square, but also seek more private dining in some small exclusive restaurants. 

Mottarone lunch

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What I like at Stresa is the aperitif hour. Aperitif as it is with a lots of appetisers, is something typically Lombardian. Aperitif is like small appetisers or mezes, or better again: tapas. In english it is called happy hour, but it has a bit different meaning. No extra drinks are served. On a contrary: You pay a bit more for the first drink because you get food to go with it. 
At Stresa this might be some small bites of pizza, decorated small finger food in general, olives, potato chips and so on.  Aperitif is usually served around 18.30 onwards up to 9 pm and you may order what ever drink you wish paying the same amount. Even water.  There are some fashionable drinks you might like to try. Ask what people drink and try it. 
My favourite is plain prosecco, and I also like Aperol Spritz (the one in the picture) that has it's stronger version made by Campari, instead of Aperol, called Campari spritz.  
Aperitif is actually made to rise your hunger and prepare your stomach for food. Not to fill your stomach with appetisers. 
Italian law allows you to have 0,5%  alcohol level to drive a car.  I'll advice to use a taxi, that is to be called sometimes from the railway station and sometime from the drivers home. Local people know how to get one. 

I use my car to get to Stresa, but sometimes, when I don't want to drive, I take a train. To get to stresa from Milan is easy: Just step in to the train that goes from Milan Central railway station to Domodossola, and get out at Stresa. It is usually platform 3 and the ticket costs in 2016 €10,00/ adult one way. 
Also some trains direct to Switzerland stop at Stresa. 
If your final destination is Stresa from Milan Malpensa airport, then you ought to book a bus from the following link: http://www.safduemila.com/alibus-2015-malpensa.lagomaggiore.html

If you are with a car, Alessi at Verbania is an excellent shop to visit. Alessi is known as a household item brand to medium high income italian. To buy a simple "salt and pepper" from the airport is not something to a normal worker, but in the outlet store I might find beautiful wine glasses with just 1€ each that makes difference in table setting.

photo www.outlet-village.it

Castelletto Ticino has some smaller factory stores, some huge supermarkets while Vigolungo near Novara is a factory outlet village. This might turn out the best place to visit for families with children, since kids and dads are not keen on shopping and make their best at the local waterpark called Ondaland (wave-land) http://www.ondaland.it


If you are a capable sailor man, Lake Maggiore has plenty of boats to rent. From motor boats to sailing boats. It might be even a good idea to buy one and keep it there to lent out, and earn some money, while other people take care of your boat. To store a boat costs proximately 3000€ a year, and to rent one for one day might rise your income with 200€. 

If you like the area and you want to buy a flat to rent it out to other tourist, Stresa can give you an elevate income. The climate is lovely from easter to late October. 

My Experience and advice as an "ex real estate agent" would be to buy a flat in a residence that has at least a swimming pool. Some are accessorised with sauna and tennis court. These pay you 500€ in a week in a low season and 1000€ a week in a high season, if you can locate 4 people in a comfortable way. In just few years you have payed your flat with no economical damages. Plus enjoyed your vacation out here.
It is very common also that some local people rent it for the whole summer season, or just for 4 months. And having a boat to go with it, might bring some extra money. 
If you want some help with it, just leave a comment below and I shall replay as soon as possible. 

Any questions what so ever regarding this issue are more than welcome. 

I wish I made you to feel like loving to come and visit Stresa.  

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