A Frescoed Lakeside Village

Saturday May 28, 2016, continued
Lake Orta, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne

We fell in love with petite Lake Orta, especially the alluring hamlet of Orta San Giulio, when we first saw it, so it’s definitely on our must-return list on this lake journey! Our journey from the Verbania side of Lake Maggiore gets us quickly to the top of Lake Orta, and the village of Omegna, where Alessi has been headquartered since the 1920s. 05281603 alessi hq top of ortaBright primary colors, flowing canals, and abundant greenery make up the compound, and we check out all of the marvelous design items in the factory store, crowned with an iconic teapot.
Orta San Giulio has become more tourist-friendly since we were last here…and a nice addition is a multi-story covered parking garage, where we find a spot and walk down to the enchanting village, looking up as we stroll to see all of the beautiful frescoes that we remember.05281603 fresco filled orta san giulioWe pause in the garden of the Palazzo Communale,05281603 from gardens of palazzo communale taking in the view of Isola San Giulio offshore,05281603 from gardens to island view went there last time link blog then meander through the portico on the side 05281603 gracious frescoes porchand out into the narrow lanes.
There’s that delightful balcony where we enjoyed an anniversary dinner 8 years ago! 05281603 memories diff resto same balconyThe restaurant name has changed – wonder if it’s even better than Antico Agnello?
Someone’s peeking out a window 05281603 peeking out a trompeloiel windowas we enter the main square, lakeside. And in front of this arcaded building, ancient heraldic shields fading in the sun,  05281603 uplook as we walka stage is being set up for an evening performance – wish we could stay longer!
The view from this rainbow row is terrific – 05281603 view of homes as pretty as view of lakeand we walk closer to shore to gaze out at the islet. 05281604 can taxi to monastery island link to previous blogWe boated out last time, today we’ll just look, perhaps with a bit of envy at those sailors. 05281604 enjoy perfect size of lake for a sail or driveUp the cobbled hill we go,05281604 hill up past more frescoes to seek out  some more frescoed beauties – a trio on this façade. 05281604 revisit trio of beautiesFrom a swooping Annunciation05281605 annunciation to a tender Madonna and Child, 05281605 sweet little madonnait must be a tale of Mary.
Aaah Lake Orta, you’re a fitting finish to our lake-ramble week. Back in our hillside apartment, a final sunset toast05281606 home in time for sunset to the beautiful Lake District of Italy!

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Across the Lake

Saturday May 28, 2016
Lake Maggiore, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne

That twinkly town we viewed across the lake last night? Verbania – and today we edge round the lake to explore it in person. Narrow streets are lined with vintage shop-fronts or colorful homes, elegant symmetry decked with blooms, 05281601 cute shops and pretty homesand the church opens out on to the sparkling lake.05281601 across the lake twinkling is verbaniaFrom the lakeside promenade (a string of lights along the shore from our perch on the hillside opposite) we figure out which is our apartment complex – above the large white building and to the right. 05281601 find our apartment acrossWe zigzagged up and up to get there yesterday, then from the parking lot climbed a couple of flights of stairs with our luggage to the first level of apartments – which seem miraculously attached to a rocky vertical hillside. You have to WORK for a view like that!
Does Italy have a Village Fleurie (flowery village) contest like France does?05281601 lakeside flower bedecked balconies If so, Verbania would be in the running!
Around the curve of this lakeside we continue, on to Intra, finding more elegant and flowery homes, 05281601 on to Intraand gazing in awe at men at work far above.05281602 at work menAs we look for a likely lunch spot, wanting to be outside, Kirk notes a sign for La Tavernetta, touting their giardino (garden)  – the menu looks great, and the leafy terrace very inviting – we’ll take it!05281602 kirk spies signs to la tavernetta giardino and its a winnerYes, it’s a winner – I could eat this gnocchi with gorgonzola and pears cooked in red wine every day!05281602 lunch could eat gnocchi with gorgonzola and pears cooked in red wine every dayWell-fed, we’re ready to continue our explorations –05281602 stroll back to car on to another lake on to another lake!

 

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The Beautiful Island

Friday May 27, 2016
Lake Maggiore, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne?

Goodbye Lake Garda – it’s been a pleasure! We’re on our way west to another of northern Italy’s string of beautiful lakes, Lake Maggiore, where we’ll spend our remaining days. From there it’ll be an easy less-than-an-hour drive to Milan’s airport when we have to leave.
We searched long and hard for a lake-view spot and oh did we find it! Clinging to a steep hill over the village of Baveno, Fausta’s holiday apartment gives us what we’re looking for…05271601 bavenoand the view’s so enticing we don’t want to stop and unpack!  But those suitcases can wait – we’ve arrived as early as possible since it looks like today will be the only rain-free day to enjoy the lake.
Next stop, Stresa, from where we ferry to Isola Bella, the beautiful island. 05271601 easy to get to milan drive to stresa ferry to isola bellaWe stayed in Stresa a few years ago, but didn’t get to the island and today’s our chance! It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the gardens, terracing down the islet.05271601 enter palace on one side of island gardens spread to otherThe entrance to the gardens is through the palace at the far end…05271601 entrybut it’s the Italianate garden that’s the draw, covering nearly half of the island. 05271601 lush gardens most popular tourist draw in areaThe stretch of tacky souvenir stands from the garden exit to the ferry stop detracts from the beauty of the island – look up and enjoy the architecture to avoid them! 05271601 look up to avoid disconcerting abundance of tacky souvenir standsAnd be sure to wind through the narrow cobbled lanes of the old village – 05271601 tiny island wander arounda riot of color and creativity! 05271602 adorableFrom the terrace of the palace take in the view of Isola Pescatori, with a larger town and a couple of hotels. 05271602 beyond is another islandFerrying back to Stresa, we admire the pull-up-and-eat restaurant, 05271602 boat up for lunchwhich was doing a brisk business as we strolled by, and wave farewell to Isola Bella,05271602 farewell bella indeed! 05271602 isola bella indeedRemembering the flower-lined lakeside path of Stresa from our previous stay, we enjoy it once again,05271602 stresa stroll reference previous visit blogthen return to our own bella spot for an evening apero.05271602 time for aperoThe view is as intriguing as our delicious dinner…as the lights twinkle on across the lake. 05271603 lights twinkle on intriquing funicularKirk wants to head up that funicular on the right tomorrow!
Still watching as the night darkens…05271604 enjoy the showenjoy the show!

 

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