The small and upmarket town of Stresa is extremely popular thanks to its fabulous views and relaxed lifestyle. Located in the region of Piedmont in northwest Italy, the many villas on the slopes of Mount Mottarone may be expensive but the location alone makes them worth it.

Stresa's success as a tourist resort is somewhat suprising considering its lack of history. The former fishing village was unremarkable until the mid-19th century, when an influx of English tourists, including many aristocrats, set about developing it as a foreign retreat and left their indelible mark.

Although it may not be the best location for architecture and high culture, Stresa is still a major hotspot for anyone looking to get away in style.


In the town itself, the 19th century villas represent the finest architecture, with the Villa Ducale being the best example. Many of these older villas have been converted for other purposes like the Villa Pallavicino, which is now the site of a zoological park and botanical garden containing as many as 40 species of animals and exotic birds in their natural environment.

The major church in Stresa is the Chiesa di Sant' Ambrogio in the Piazza Marconi. Restored in neo-classical style during 1790, the interior contains paintings by local artists.

One of Stresa's most attractive features is its connection to the nearby Borromean Islands. A regular boat service runs from the town to this small group of four islands, each with their own particular charm and beauty.

A trip to the top of the Monte Mottarone is also possible via a short cable car ride, providing incredible vistas. The Giardino Alpinia gardens are also accessible as a result.


Stresa enjoys a mixture of local craftworks, weekend markets and more widely found shops. However, if you want something exceptional, be prepared to look down every lane and alley.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Despite its small size, Stresa is packed with restaurants. The majority of these are inspired by the regional Piedmont cuisine, meaning an emphasis on truffles, rich pasta dishes and plenty of meat (particularly game). washed down with some choice wine.

Among the many restaurants, the Ristorante Sempione on the Corso Italia stands out with its lake view, along with the local cuisine at La Botte.

Tourist Information

Stresa Tourist OfficePiazza Marconi,Stresa.Tel: +39 (0)323


The nearest major airports to Stresa are Torino Caselle Airport in Turin and Malpensa International Airport in Milan. The latter is much closer, at only 80 km from the town. Bus and train services are available from the airport, while international and domestic connecting flights run daily to many destinations.

N.B. Linate Airport and Bresso Airport are also situated in Milan, and carry more low-haul flights.

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