Italy's Lake Country: A Local's Guide

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We think Italy's Lake Country – the undulating hills, medieval towns and villages – paired with fine wine and the region’s delightful slow food movement, sounds as close to heaven as an Italian vacation can get. Many travelers to this region base themselves out of historic Stresa, an ideal place to enjoy all the charms of Lago Maggiore and the Borromeo Islands. Today our local guide Daniela joins us to share some tips for visiting her lovely part of Northern Italy.

1. Guide’s name: Daniela G.

2. Why I became a guide: Curiosity is the main reason. Because I’ve always been curious about the history and culture of the region where I was born and still live. After finishing my studies and working at jobs in different fields, I passed my exam as a local guide and decided to try to free-lance in this world. Since then (it’s been 15 years now!), I’ve never changed my mind.

3. Describe why you love your region in one sentence: Because I realize that I was born in one of the loveliest places in Italy: a lake surrounded by sweet hills, with the dramatic peaks of the Alps at a distance…

4. Top 3 things not to miss when visiting your part of Italy: 1. Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori, the so-called “Borromeo’s Islands”; 2. The charming town of Orta San Giulio and the island of San Giulio; 3. The Simplon Pass on the Alps.

5. Best place to go for a great photo: One of the villages on the hills surrounding Lago Maggiore, or the top of Mottarone (4500 ft high, about a 30-min drive from Stresa.)

6. Tell us one local food specialty everyone visiting Italy's Lake Country should try: Gorgonzola cheese!

7. Your favourite local restaurant: Ristorante Antico Verbano (a waterfront restaurant in the town of Meina, on the shores of Lago Maggiore).

8. Best place to celebrate a special occasion: Take a cruise on a private boat along the shores of Lago Maggiore.

9. When is the best time of year to visit your region of Italy? The best season to visit my region is spring, for the colourful blooming of azaleas and rhododendrons. But each period of the year offers something beautiful, as for landscapes, colors, flowers, and festivals.

10. Are there any special events taking place this summer that travelers should know about? Yes! The Stresa Festival has reached its 54th edition: 24 concerts, from July 22nd to September 5th, held in spectacular locations (like the Tapestries Gallery in the Palace of Isola Bella, or the Courtyard of the Cachemire Cypress on Isola Madre, or the Monastery of Santa Caterina del Sasso…) From midsummer jazz concerts to musical meditations, there will be music for every taste.
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