LAKE MAGGIORE (LAGO MAGGIORE)
Lacking the frenzy of its eastern neighbors, Lake Maggiore combines similar temperate mountain waters and idyllic shores. The romantic resort town Stresa is only an hour from Milan by train (every hr. ?5. 10). The local tourist office is in the ferry building at the dock, in P.
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Martini. (fax 0323 30 150. Open daily 10am-12: 30pm and 3-6:30pm. ) To reach Orsola Meuble, V. Duchessa di Genova 45, turn right from the station, walk downhill to the intersection and turn left. The affordable blue-tiled rooms have cement balconies. ( 0323 31 087; fax 0323 93 31 21. Breakfast included. Singles ‚15, with bath ‚30; doubles ‚3040. AmExDMCV. )
Stresa is a perfect stepping-stone to the gorgeous Borromean Islands. Daily excursion tickets (‚10) allow you to hop back and forth between Stresa and the three islands Isola Bella, Isola Superiore dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre. The islands boast lush, manicured botanical gardens and elegant villas. The opulent, Baroque UPalazzo e Giar- dini Borromeo, on Isola Bella, features six meticulously designed rooms with priceless masterpieces, tapestries and sculptures. The 10 terraced gardens, punctuated with statues and topped by a unicorn, rise up like a large wedding cake. (Open Mar. -Sept. Daily 9am-5: 30pm; Oct. 9am-5pm. ?8.50. )