by ALLAN C.
After our stay at B&B near Lake Maggiore, we did the tour by boat of the Borromean Islands. Isola Madre was excellent for the gardens which we were interested to discover had been advised by the RHS in Britain. The second island had a good choice of fish based restaurants and the third was Isola Bella with the wonderful palace. We also drove up the coast towards Locarno and explored Cannobio with its network of old streets, Sunday market and the quay. Also we drove a circular tour to Lake Orta most of which - apart fron the bit through Omegna - was beautiful and the township of Orta itself is well worth the walk down the hill from the car park.
Osteria degli amici in Stresa - good standard Italian menu. Fairly priced wine and efficient service. Restaurant of The Hotel Fiorentino, Stresa. Huge portions of starters - Bresaola and Anitpasti - which we were allowed to take away what we could not eat for a picnic lunch the next day! Also simply grilled but delicious trout with herbs. Oggi Pasta at Cannobio. Up one of the streets from the quay but well worth seeking out. Excellent Saltimbocca and Escalope Milanese. Wee priced local wines.
One evebning we had a violent storm with thunder and lightning which we watched from the balcony of the B&B Villa Carmana. Truly natures son et Lumiere. The backcloth of the mountains and lake were briefly illuminated by the storm as it swept around the lake and between the mountains. A truly wondrous experience.
Position in the lakes with a range of passes and cols. Towns and villages equally accessible.Best perhaps to have your own car. Range of varied things to do, both sporting and cultural. Helpful people. Good range of restaurants of all budgets and a range of shops selling quality goods at fair prices. Something for everyone.