This morning, we continued our drive to Lake Maggiore, heading round the northern tip of the lake, and driving along the shore line road down to Stresa, where we were staying the next three nights. It was a lovely drive, but unfortunately not many places to safely stop for photos. Our hotel was lovely, a little way out of the busy central area, and very conveniently located for the boats across to the Borromean Islands.
Their name derives from the Borromeo family, which started acquiring them in the early 16th century (Isola Madre) and still owns the majority of them today. We didn’t have time to visit all three today, so we chose to visit Pescatore and Isola Bella. Pescatore (Fisherman’s Island) is the only one to be inhabited all year round, and unlike Isola Bella and Isola Madre, has never belonged to the Borromeo family. Whilst fishing does still exist, it now caters predominantly to tourists - it is predominantly restaurants and gift shops, though it still has a few picturesque little alleys. Named for Isabella, countess Borromeo, Isola Bella was originally a largely barren rock. Then, after first improvements and buildings, opened by count Carlo III between 1629 and 1652, his son Vitaliano the 6th built an attractive summer palace, bringing in vast quantities of soil in order to build up a system of ten terraces for the gardens. The palace is lavishly decorated, over the top one might say, and the gardens are stunning, affording glorious views over the lake, and with white peacocks sauntering around them