The famous town of Stresa enjoys a splendid location on Lake
Maggiore in the Gulf of Borromeo, where it overlooks the eponymous
islands, the main attraction in the region. The beautiful
countryside, architectural gems and mild climate combine to make
Stresa one of the most popular destinations in Italy. The Borromean
Islands, with their stunning palaces and ornamental gardens, are an
unmissable destination for their pure beauty. Luxury villas and
opulent Art Nouveau hotels line the elegant lakeside, which is
ideal for a tranquil stroll. Since the late 19th century Stresa has
been renowned for its sophisticated atmosphere and genteel
visitors, and today still enjoys an impressive roster of cultural
and musical events.
Architecture and aristocracy
During the Middle Ages, Stresa was a fiefdom of the
lords of Castello and Visconti, but it was the Borromeo family
(part of the Milanese aristocracy) who subsequently ruled the
region and added the magnificent buildings that have made Stresa
famous. In 1441, the Borromeos obtained part of the territory and
by 1653 the entire district was reunited under their rule.
Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the Borromeos commissioned
palaces to be built on the islands of Bella and Madre. Stresa
passed into Austrian hands in 1719, before coming under the rule of
the House of Savoy in 1748.