Had a very lazy two days in Stresa on Lake Maggiore at another charming hotel – where the doors and walls in the rooms are hand painted, the view is gorgeous and nice treats appear each evening. So pretty. I also visited the Borromean Islands – three tiny islands in the middle of the lake – they take about 15 minutes to walk around but are cute and a good place for a coffee and gelato.
Villa Aminta, Stresa
Isola Pescatore and Bella, Borromean Islands
Next and last stop in Italy – Milan. I think I might be doing some shopping!
Last time I visited the lakes in Italy I was with my parents and aged around 9. Don’t remember much except of being scared by the tiny lizards basking in the sunshine (in my defence, I grew up in London). This time I will definitely remember the visit. I stayed in the middle part of the lake – opposite the small town of Bellagio (which is somewhat different to its namesake in Las Vegas). In October it tends to be very misty over the lake and that means it is hard to see the mountains but it is still beautiful (and not at all crowded) and as you will see on my last day the sun appeared and what a difference that made.
I treated myself to stay in a hotel hat was built in 1910 in the grand tradition of palazzo style hotels. It is quite lovely as it has the tradition as well as some touches of modernity.
When visiting the lakes the days are made up of relaxing and enjoying the views and getting on one of the ferries to visit other towns and check them out. All very civilised. Many of these towns have villas you can visit – partly for the buildings but mostly for the amazing terraced gardens which even in Fall are pretty amazing (Paulette if you haven’t done this part of Italy you would love this). Next to my hotel was Villa Carlotta and over in Bellagio was Villa Melzi. Some garden and interiors from both are below. Paintings by Hayetz (who I saw a lot of in Florence and yes that’s Romeo and Juliet again) and also beautiful sculptures by Canova – who seemed to be one of Italy’s great sculptors as well as a renowned mentor of younger artists. I still like Bernini the best but Canova comes a close second.
Bellagio is charming although it would have been more so if I had bumped into George Clooney. I looked very hard but no luck.
And then when the sun came out it looked like this from my hotel. Just lovely and I feel nicely chilled.