Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lake Maggiore - Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, Stresa and Arona




I hope everyone had a very Happy Easter or Passover holiday. Ours was somewhat subdued, as we recently lost another family member to cancer, my husband's nephew's wife who was only in her 40's, to melanoma. The melanoma our niece-in-law had begun as a rare internal one that went undetected until she already was, unfortunately, stage 4 before becoming symptomatic. She braved immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatments but passed away very quickly. We attended her funeral in the state Maryland, where she lived, a few days before Easter. Her last words to us over the phone the day before she passed were that she would "see us someday in heaven'" and I truly believe we will meet again one day! We treasure all the times we had together, including their visit to see us in Colorado last year. Treasure life, treasure all the times with the ones you love!


If you have been following my recent posts, you know that my husband and I visited Italy last summer to see his many relatives that live there. We spent 11 days in Nothern Italy, in Genoa, where quite a few of his Aunts, Uncles, and cousins live. One day two of his cousins, husband, and wife, drove us even further north towards the Alps, to visit the Lake (Lago) Maggiore region. Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. The lake shoreline divides the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. (All photos will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)

Please click on to enlarge

We had a lot of fun driving north--the roads were good, the rest stops had interesting informational signs in both Italian and English and included gift and souvenir shops, and we passed beautiful scenery including field upon field of arborio rice, which was destined to be used in delicious risotto recipes one day.


Another northern Italian feature we saw often were chestnut trees! The fuzzy green balls on the trees had chestnuts in their core. Chestnuts are also a favorite staple of Northern Italian recipes.


I was excited to see Stresa again, and Isola Bella--the island seen above in the lake. In the 1970's I traveled to Italy and visited both places with my classmates! In fact, we stayed at the hotel seen on the left. We traveled to 11 cities in 16 days during that trip, including a visit to Lugano, Switzerland. It was such a wonderful experience! Italy was not quite the international tourist destination back then as it is today, and I saw many places in a less crowded and more serene atmosphere. I'm happy to have those memories!


A highlight of that 70's trip was visiting Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) which is one of the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore. In 1632 Carlo III of the influential House of Borromeo began the construction of a palazzo dedicated to his wife, Isabella D'Adda, from whom the island takes its name. Plague and other events interrupted the completion of the palazzo and gardens and work was passed onto his sons and a nephew until completed in 1671.  The island achieved its highest level of social success during the period of Giberto V Borromeo (1751–1837) when guests included Edward Gibbon, Napoleon and his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais, and Caroline of Brunswick, the Princess of Wales. It is said that Caroline, having fallen in love with the place, did her best to convince the Borromeo family to sell her Isola Madre or the Castelli di Cannero islands; her request being turned down, she established herself on the banks of Lake Como at Cernobbio in the Villa d’Este I remember seeing the bed that Napoleon slept in, and marveling at the small size of the bed!

Vintage photo of me--1970's

Although the Palazzo was highly decorated and opulent, I most remember the lush and beautiful terraced gardens and statuary outside.  



We bought tickets to take the ferry to two islands--Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori. 


We walked around Isola Bella to enjoy the beautiful views, but we did not opt to re-visit the palazzo as we knew we did not have the time to see it all leisurely.


Instead, we took the ferry to Isola dei Pescatori (Fisherman's Island). 


It was an equally scenic island and full of shops and restaurants


We had lunch al fresco and dined on delicious fresh lake fish.


After lunch, we enjoyed walking around the island...


...it was so picturesque!


We returned to the town of Stresa. Stresa is the lakes leading resort, full of four-star hotels and a charming town.  It has magnificent views of the lake and over to the Borromean Islands, plus has galleries, restaurants, cafes, piazzas and an abundance of cultural and musical events year-round. We stopped for a cold and refreshing lemon flavored beer in one of the cafes and rested before returning to drive to one more town along the coastline of Lake Maggiore.


We drove to the southern border of Lake Maggiore and to the town of Arona. There we visited the enormous statue of San Carlone (Saint Charles Borromeo). Built in the 17th century from bronze and copper sheets, the entire structure is 115 feet (35 meters) high. At one time this colossal statue was the largest in the world and is only surpassed by the Statue of Liberty in New York. In fact, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the French artist who designed the Statue of Liberty, visited Arona in 1869 on his way back from Egypt to study the statue’s structure. The colossus of Arona is mentioned on the plaque located at the feet of the Statue of Liberty.


Please click on to enlarge


The interior of the statue can be accessed by narrow stairs and ladders, allowing visitors to peer through the eyes and ears.My husband and cousin climbed up the steps while I and other cousin stayed behind on the statue base. The guys had a lot of fun looking out the eyes and taking photos of the scenery and sights inside the statue.  
It was soon time to drive back to Genoa, where we had a late dinner.  I really enjoyed seeing Lake Maggiore, Stresa, and Isola Bella again after so many years and having such a nice time on Isola Pescatori and Arona. More memories that I'll always cherish!

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44 comments:

Lady Fi said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Too young!

And what lovely shots of Italy.

Joyful said...

I enjoyed seeing your holiday photos. Sorry to hear of your loss. It is so difficult to lose a loved one, especially a younger one. But as your dear relative said, you will meet again one day. At that day there will be great gladness. Hugs. xx

Linda W. said...

Another wonderful travel post I really enjoyed. So sorry to hear about your niece in law. Yes, way too young.

Vee said...

Would you ever have dreamed back then when first visiting this place that you would one day marry your Beloved? Quite amazing. And what a sweet photo of your vintage self.

I am sorry for your family’s loss of this precious young woman. I like those words of faith.

Ruth Hiebert said...

There must be so much of interest to see there. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Cathy Keller said...

I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you all. As always, your photos are beautiful!!

Angie said...

Pat - so sorry to hear about your niece-in-law. Each day I try to remind myself not to take the day for granted ... one never knows!

As always, I enjoyed your tour ... especially the dining al fresco pictures - can't wait to do that again! How appropriate that you had fish on fishermen's island!

I was fascinated by the statue of St. Charles of Borromeo - that is the name of our current church!

Hope your week brings you peace.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Such an exotic adventure you had. Beautiful photos, and it is cool you visited the region years ago.

Maggie said...

How wonderful to visit Lago Maggiore again and follow in your own teenage footsteps, it looks like a lovely place to vacation time.
So sorry to hear that your niece passed recently.
Thanks for sharing your trip to the Italian lakes with the MM crowd today.

Snap said...

Your trip to Italy, in my Granny's words, was the cats pajamas! Wonderful and full of sweet memories to keep. Wishing you and your family well after the passing of your niece.

Jeanie said...

I am completely dazzled, pat. What a beautiful country. I am so enjoying your visit.

Sending you wishes for peace and healing in your loss. Your niece-in-law sounds like a courageous woman who fought hard. I'm so very sorry.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful memories -- both from a "long time ag"o (not nearly as long ago as my high school years though) and those more current. A fabulous trip -- and even though you remembered some of it, it still must have been wonderful to have family members as local guides. Everything is so colorful and beautiful ... an amazing country.

I am so sorry to learn of the loss of your niece (i-l) ... I remember your posts about their visit. She was courageous and accepting both -- a difficult combination to achieve. I'm so sorry.

Villrose said...

Sad when young people die.

Beautiful islands you show!

Powell River Books said...

So much history in Italy. Thanks for the tour. - Margy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'm sorry for your loss too. We lost a family member over the weekend so it's been sad here too. I love the names of the towns in Italy...so musical. I tried to learn to speak Italian but I don't even speak English very well and I had to stop! Too much of a Southern drawl. Hugs to you my friend, Diane

Kay L. Davies said...

Your photos are lovely, although your heart is heavy. It is never easy to lose a loved one. My condolences to your family.
Kay
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

It's a beautiful area of the world and I enjoyed the photos.

Anonymous said...

Losing someone close is always hard, sorry Patti!
Am surprised that Italy was at one time not as popular for tourists! The ones who were there decades ago were all full of praise. You looked young and hip in 1970 (didn't we all, lol?) I love Italy for all of its art history. Many thanks for sharing this difficult season as well as the happy times last year in Lake Maggiore. Have a joyful week!

NC Sue said...

My condolences on your loss.
Thank you for sharing these lovely photos at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/bedtime-at-biltmore.html

Al said...

What a beautiful town. I can't wait to get back to Italy, maybe next year.

Lorrie said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss, Pat. May you find comfort in God's promises.

Your photos brought back memories of my all-too-short time in Lugano and Stresa a few years ago. I didn't make it out to Isola Bella, but one day I hope to return and do that. It's such a lovely area.

Sarah said...

Pat, it's great fun to see these photos, as we, too, traveled to this area in the late 90s. Isola Bella was magnificent! This is all such a beautiful area of Italy. I know it was fun to retrace your footsteps from you previous visit.
I'm sorry for your family's loss. You have been in my thougts.

baili said...

My precious mom died out of throat cancer and just like your niece she was diagnosed late when there was no way to recovery! i do hope that some day i will meet her and say her "sorry" mom we did not know !

your trip to Italy brought LIFE to my day as in my wish list Italy is on top and i hope i will be visiting there in next few years .
thank you for such glorious photos my friend!

smulan said...

The first time in my live, for many, many years ago, my parents and I went to Italy. Our first visit was the "Lago Maggiore". Since that time i never have been there. Thankyou for all this wonderful pictures. It was great to see.
The loss of a loved one can only be measured by the one who suffers the loss. I wish you strength to believe in life anyway.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

So lovely! My husband used to spend his childhood vacations in this region. They had a house on Lake Magiorre. Sorry, I know I just butchered the spelling on that one. Have a lovely week.
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.de/2018/04/belfast.html

Fun60 said...

Wonderful scenes of Italy and memories from your youth. Doesn't time pass so quickly? Sorry to hear of the untimely death of your niece in law. Our time on this earth is so limited we must make the most of every day.

Sylvia said...

Pat, I am so sorry for your loss. That is quite a big lake alright. Climbing inside that statue looks like fun (not). Thanks for sharing. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat, first of all please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your relative. How sad to lose someone that young! You’re so right about life being a treasure. It is so fleeting. I loved the photo of you in the 70’s on Lago Maggiore. It is a beautiful place, and I enjoyed my time there too, visiting the same places you did, and staying in Stresa. Continue to enjoy life.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Hope you are recovering well from the sad events. Enjoy seeing your vintage picture. The towns and island on Lake Maggiore are gorgeous!

Powell River Books said...

Historic European cities have so much charm. - Margy

ellen b. said...

So so sorry for your families loss. So young...

NatureFootstep said...

I have only been in Venice once ao I don´t know Italy very well. Great shots!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

So sad about your family's loss. Lovely photos of your time in Italy.

Michelle said...

I cannot imagine living in a place with such beauty. And, I have to say, the food you have been featuring looks so fantastic. Thank you for linking up today and I hope you have a GREAT weekend!

carol l mckenna said...

Gorgeous place and photography! Love the 'vintage' photo of you!

Namaste,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Sharon said...

Thanks for all these photos that entice me to visit. Italy is my favorite European country so I hope to return and include this area in my travels. Love that vintage 70s photo of you!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Very sorry for your loss. Internal melanoma... never heard of that, but very scary!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

handmade by amalia said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Pat.
Amalia
xo

Rambling Woods said...

Oh Pat...that is far too young to pass..I am so sorry about your niece.....Thank you for sharing some more Italy photos..

Lowcarb team member said...

So very sorry for your loss, my condolences.

You shared another lovely post full of wonderful photographs.
'Lunch al fresco and dined on delicious fresh lake fish.' looked and sounded wonderful.

My good wishes

All the best Jan

Wandering Wren said...

Such a sad start to your post, Pat, I'm so sorry for you all.
I've been to Lake Maggiore and like you, it was a while ago - I'm pleased you've reminded me of the details, I'm impressed you've still got your pics to hand, I reckon I would have the same hairstyle if I could only find my pics!
Hugs to you from Thailand
Wren x

Angelina at Petite Haus said...

I'm sorry for your loss :-( Thank you for sharing your pretty pictures - I'm headed to Lake Como this Summer... wondering if we should try to stop by Stresa as well?? Thanks for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things!

Beverly said...

Pat, what a beautiful location. I always enjoy your travels, and you are the best at sharing.

Happy Pink Saturday. I appreciate you joining us and you are always so good to make Pink Saturday special. This post is being featured on my Pink Saturday post this week as "the one with the most clicks".♥

Anonymous said...

bookmarked!!, I really like your blog!