Friday, May 30, 2014

Stresa Travel Notes: Nights out on Isola Bella **updated July 2014**

**Update July 2014** The evening events on Isola Bella have changed slightly for 2014 so I have rewritten parts of the post.

I don't usually use this blog to write about events, but the new initiatives from the bar, restaurant and shop owners on Isola Bella definitely deserves some blog space. Although there are some changes for 2014 we are looking forward to some greats night out on Isola Bella again this year!

The palace at night

Bella by Night

Every Friday from 6th June to 29th August and the last Saturday of each month from 28th June to 30th August.

Fridays are street food, music with your transport and first drink included for €10 per person. After your first included drink, discounted drinks are available at the four participating bars/restaurants: Ristorante Magnolia, Ristorante Elvezia, Il Chiosco and Osteria del Crimine. The boats will start operating at 20.00 from the Stresa Lido (cable car station square).  Saturdays enjoy dinner and music with free transport provided for all table reservations.

On Fridays transfers by boat Stresa Lido - Isola Bella - Stresa Lido cost €10 per person (including your first drink) and start at 20.00 - no need to book. Drinks and meals to be paid directly at each bar/cafĂ©/restaurant. Booking for Saturday nights: call +39 347 7848926 and your boat time will be given at time of booking.

For the full season programme of what live music will be on visit the Bella by Night website or or events calendar
Live music on Isola Bella
Arriving on Isola Bella
Ristorante Elvezia, Isola Bella
Fish supper by the lake
Osteria del Crimine, Isola Bella
Hope to see you there! Let us know if you head over to Isola Bella for one of the evenings and what you think of it.

Sarah, Viaggi Tomassucci

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stresa Travel Notes: Bellissima Isola Bella!

Ok, so it has been a long time (too long!) since the blog was updated, so I thought what better way to start the season than with a visit to Isola Bella.

I have already posted about Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori so I thought it was about time that Stresa's most visited attraction got a mention too.

Isola Bella is the nearest island to Stresa and is therefore the first stop on the ferry away from the mainland, just a 10 minute journey. The island is dominated by the Borromean palace and its terraced gardens, but there is also a church, some shops, bars and restaurants.

But lets get back to the main attraction: once you have your ticket you will enter the palace first and then the gardens. Unfortunately no photos are allowed in the palace so I will give you a brief outline. Climbing up the wide stone staircase you will reach the first floor and the start of your visit. In front of you is the entrance to the picture gallery (extra charge €3) and then to the right, the main part of the palace. Take a look at the model of the palace and gardens in the Salone Nuovo (Salone delle Feste) and you will see how the original plans for the palace were quite different. Other highlights are the Sala di Napoleone and the Sala della Musica where Mussolini, MacDonald and Laval met for the Stresa Conference in 1935 and look out for the exquisite mosaic table which is my favourite piece of furniture in the whole palace.

After you go downstairs, visit the cool stone and shell studded grottoes, you will come upstairs again and through the tapestry room into the gardens. Here I thought I would let the photos do the talking:

Practical Information
If you are just planning to visit Isola Bella the return ferry costs €6.80 return (€5.60 for over 65's Monday to Friday). If you are planning to combine it with other visits on the same day have a look at our guide to the ferries and you can see the different ticket options.

Entrance costs €13.00 per person and if you combine it with a visit to Isola Madre on the same day you can get a joint ticket for both islands for €18.50. RHS members enter for free.