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Journey to Stresa

This popular Italian resort offers history, natural beauty and charm in abundance

The small and pretty town of Stresa, today one of the most popular resorts on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Piedmont, northern Italy, originated as a tiny fishing hamlet first mentioned in records in 998AD. By the fourteenth century Stresa's population had grown sufficiently for it to be officially recognised as a village and gained the right to hold a weekly market; a tradition still upheld in the town each Friday morning.

Stresa's idyllic location on Lake Maggiore overlooking the island Isola Bella and providing magnificent views of the lake's surrounding hills had already secured the town's popularity with European aristocracy as a holiday retreat, but the opening of the Simplon Pass between Brig, Switzerland and Piedmont in 1806 boosted Stresa's tourism further still. Consequently many beautiful villas and grand hotels were constructed at the beginning of the nineteenth century and by the twentieth the now well-established resort was welcoming prestigious guests such as George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Princess Margaret.

Today, although a highly popular Italian resort, Stresa remains small enough to explore on foot, rewarding visitors with medieval buildings, opulent and historic villas, public gardens and several museums. During the summer, the Stresa to Mottarone cable car ascends to the summit of Mount Mottarone from which unparalleled panoramic views across the Po Valley to the Alps are obtained.

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There are 2 holidays in this category
Showing 1 to 2 of 2 holidays
Lake Maggiore

This wonderful seven-night holiday takes you to the shores of beautiful Lake Maggiore on a tour by rail. Set among the stunning peaks of the Italian Alps, enjoy a tour filled with scenic exploration.

Departs from May 2017 to October 2017.
8 days from £1,095per personView tour details
Scenic Lake Maggiore

This wonderful seven-night holiday takes you to the shores of beautiful Lake Maggiore. Discover scenic railway journeys, picturesque Isola Bella and stylish Milan.

Departs from June 2017 to October 2017.
8 days from £895per personView tour details
Showing 1 to 2 of 2 holidays

Villa Taranto Gardens
Established in 1940 by Captain Neil McEarcharn, Villa Tarantino's large, landscaped gardens lovingly recreate the style of an English garden and features beautifully maintained lawns, flower gardens - including the spectacular Dahlia Garden which showcases over three hundred species, a water-lily pond, waterfalls, fountains and sculptures.

Stresa Market
Held in Piazza Capucci each Friday morning Stresa's colourful market is the perfect place in which to buy delicious local produce including salami, smoked meats and sausages, fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, honey, jams and cheese.

Villa Ducale
Built in 1770 by a rich tobacco merchant, Villa Ducale has a rich history. Bequeathed to the philosopher Antonio Rosminiin 1848 the villa later became the preferred holiday residence of the Duchess of Genova whose daughter, Margherita, became the first Queen of Italy. Today the restored villa is notable for its beautiful architecture and décor, its library of more than 100,000 books and its extensive Italian gardens which feature exotic plants and flowers.

Isola Bella
An enjoyable ten-minute boat ride from Stresa, the small lake island of Isola Bella is entirely occupied by the magnificent castle-like palace and stunning terraced gardens created by the wealthy Borromeo family in the seventeenth century.

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Rail Discoveries has more than three decades' experience providing outstanding rail holidays.

Our escorted tours benefit from the presence of a professional Tour Manager, who will ensure that your holiday runs smoothly.


Allow Rail Discoveries to take the stress out of organising a holiday; our tours include rail travel, a range of superb accommodation, and a number of meals.

Embark on a wealth of included excursions or enjoy the complete dining experience on one of our all-inclusive tours.


Call us on the dedicated phone number above or speak to one of our award-winning Tour Advisors in person at our offices in York.

We can arrange connecting UK rail from your local station, porterage services or extra nights in a favourite city.

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