Around Lake Maggiore, a major lake extending into Swiss territory, Stresa (pronounce stra-sah) is a first class, turn-of-the-century international resort.
Absolutely worthwhile from Stresa is the boat trip to the three Isole Borromee ("isles of the Borromeo family"), namely Isola Bella, with a 17th-century palazzo and an extraordinary Italian style garden, Isola dei Pescatori ("fishermen's isle"), a picturesque place where the original atmosphere has remained intact, and the largest Isola Madre, almost entirely covered by beautiful gardens.
If you happen to be in this area towards the end of August-mid September, you may be able to enjoy some of the many open-air concerts and other classical music events held both in Stresa and on the Isola Bella during the Settimane Musicali festival.
North of Milan.
About 90 km from the city.
Take highway A8 E62 to Carpugnino (km 80), then the signs to Stresa.