Day 3 – 14/9/23

Awoke to a gloriously sunny day.

After a (rather rushed) breakfast, we took a short walk to a jetty, from which we boarded a boat. This took us across to Isola Bella, one of the islands owned by the Borromeo family.

We then had a guided tour, led by the very knowledgeable Matteo, of the extraordinary Borromean Palace on the island, used as a summer residence by the family. They were apparently present, but only on the upper two floors.

Outer courtyard
For breakfast only!
Lots of ornate ceilings
Murano glass chandelier
Huge circular hall, in which have been held some pretty major parties!
Unicorn – a family emblem
Beautifully restored harpsichord
Another family emblem signifying relationships between three powerful families
Intricately worked cabinet
Temporary library. The family have over 12,000 books
Uniform for the children. There is a rifle in the long box
Ivory saddle, one of only 22 in the world. It’s a gift – never actually used
Believe it or not, this is made up of tiny pieces of mosaic. It is not painted. Fantastic
Lots of stucco (painted plaster, cheaper than marble)
Lots of marionettes

We then went downstairs into the grottos (caves).

Extraordinary plasterwork
Astonishing freestanding circular stairway
Tapestry room

The gardens were next.

Lovely views

We stopped for a coffee at the cafeteria. 2 € each. No problem – except we got done 2 € each on top as a cover charge. Proper rip-off.

We then walked back to the jetty on the island to await a boat taking us the even shorter distance across to the Isola di Pescatore (Fishermen’s Island).

Unlike Isola Bella, this is state-owned. Around 50 people live on it permanently, swelled by thousands of tourists, as we found out. It is a very pretty island.

Outside of the circular hall from the boat taking us to Isola di Pescatore
Isola Madre, another Borromean island. We will be visiting this in a couple of days
View back to Isola Bella
Parish Church
Very narrow streets
Inside Chez Manuel, where we had beer, wine and pizza. Very nice
We passed a very pleasant half-hour in this seat, enjoying the scenery and the sunshine
On the way back to Stresa from Isola di Pescatore

We docked just outside the very pretty town of Stresa. Jean wanted some milk, so we eventually found a supermarket. And bought some milk. And some snacks. And some Prosecco. And some wine. And some gin. And some tonic……

Laden with all these goodies, we walked the short distance back to the hotel with temperatures in the high twenties.

We were due to visit a local hotel which sported a rooftop sky bar, the only one in the area. Jean opted out and went for a swim in the hotel indoor pool, but I decided to give it a whirl. After all, a free glass of fizz was on offer…..

The next hour or so passed very pleasantly,  but the threat of thundery rain was always there. A rainbow made an appearance.

From the Sky Bar
Back in our room

After dinner, the next exciting instalment was a “romantic” lake night-time cruise.

It was indeed very pleasant, made slightly weird by the electrical storm all around us. No rain, though, mercifully.

Some decent lightning flashes – stick with it

We stopped for about 20 minutes at Baveno, another pretty small lakeside town. Jean took a couple of pictures of the church tower, one in the dark:

And one with a lightning flash behind it:

There was also an impressive coloured fountain on the way back:

And so ended a splendid, if long, day.

Tomorrow offers a longish boat ride to Cannobbio plus more besides. Catch up with us tomorrow.

2 responses to “Day 3 – 14/9/23”

  1. what amazing villas
    the sky looked good too
    and Jean why were you not swimming in the outdoor pool?

  2. Excellent rainbow!

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