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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reader's Mail: Daily Bicycle Rentals

Q: A reader asks: "Is there somewhere in Stresa we can rent a bicycle for a few hours? We're not super athletic, we just want to ride around a bit."


A: Yes, there are several options for bike riding; some have been mentioned on this blog already (see links at bottom). And now there is another option for renting bicycles, directly in the center of Stresa. On the corner of via de Martini and via Bonghi, which is just behind the large Palazzo dei Congressi, touring bikes can now be rented at the Sapori d'Italia office.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Memories: Why Is Napoleon Marching Through Stresa?



It's definitely a bit like living in Disney World. One weekend ago Stresa was full of cowboys and everyone was line dancing during Festa Country; this past weekend Napoleon and his troops marched through town and fired cannons. It's been a couple of centuries since he was last here. Welcome to life in Stresa...

Crowds gathered in the piazzas and streets as soldiers, officers, courtiers, drummers,and Napoleon himself all paraded around town. The uniforms were very detailed and authentic, (no one had tell-tale Nike trainers showing under their French army trousers for example,) and the guns and bayonets looked scarily real.



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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Music and Food: Jazz Evenings At Verbanella



When good friends came to visit, because it was a Thursday, we didn't even have to think where to go. Especially with a pretty evening such as this one was. We went to Caffe Bar Verbanella, since there is live jazz there every Thursday (and now Friday too) of the summer. I have written of this in other summers, but I like to keep doing so as a reminder to new visitors.

It was late June this time, so very long days. Arriving at 8:00 pm, the sky was still light. Just up the lake from us, near the Lido Blu Beach, a few people silently fished. The terrace was still empty at Verbanella; we're speaking of jazz after all, music and crowds start a bit later. 


We ordered our first glasses of wine and I attempted artsy shots of the chardonnays and mountains. From the Verbanella terrace, looking at the lake, the sun sets to your left, over Baveno, causing shadow to slowly overtake the terrace.



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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Memories: Festa Country!




I was sort of missing an all-American Fourth of July, so fortunately the July 5th "Festa Country" in Stresa more than filled that need. With all the plaid shirts, cowboy hats, and boots that everyone was wearing, both visitors and the shopkeepers, waiters, and vendors alike, it was actually difficult to remember that this was Stresa I was walking through! And then add line dancing and a mechanical bull, and the illusion became pretty complete.

The gorgeous weather didn't hurt any either. We stayed out in the town all through lunch, and then again through the evening. Almost all of the shops were adorned with bales of hay and "country" decorations. Country music played everywhere.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Restaurant: Caffe Torino -- Food, Fun, And Friday Piano Music



Okay, so, in the previous post we spoke about several reasons to visit Isola Bella on Friday evenings. But Friday evenings right here in Stresa can also be a lot of fun! Like last Friday, when we ate dinner at Cafe Torino, on the full-to-capacity terrace, listening to the engaging piano music and songs of Joe Diverio.


Caffe Torino is a staple in Stresa, having held its place in Piazza Cadorna for many years. And Joe Diverio is a staple at Cafe Torino, playing piano and singing to crowds there almost every summer weekend since he returned to Stresa in 2002.


Joe was born in Italy, trained in music at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music, and then began his career as an accordion instructor and, at that time, the youngest concert performer in Italy. By 1960 he was performing in Italy, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Holland and Luxembourg. In Beirut, Lebanon he began working at the famous Caves Du Roy Nightclub, eventually remaining there several years, playing music, managing the club, and releasing records.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Events: Summer Events 2014 -- Isola Bella By Night


For those of you here or visiting this summer, below find several upcoming Summer events and special activities involving Isola Bella. Two of them bring you to Isola Bella at night, the third gives you a great view of said island from Stresa, lit up at night, while the fourth tranquilly transports you around the islands at night. The dilemma will be how to fit them all into your plans!

Bella By Night
Every Friday, from 13 June through 29 August, Isola Bella is hosting Calici Sotto Le Stelle, Glasses Under the Stars. A 10 Euro ticket gets you transport to Isola Bella, a wine glass (the calice), and your first drink. On the island you'll find live music and vendors selling street food, while island restaurants and bars will also be open and joining in the fun. Drinks are discounted in establishments participating in this promotion. Each Friday evening a different type of music will be offered, beginning with Beatles and Rolling Stones classics! 

The last Saturday of each month a similar event is offered, called Sabato al'Isola, Saturday at the Island. By making a dinner reservation at a restaurant on the island participating in the promotion, you receive free transport to and from. There will be live music on the island also on these nights.

Transport to the island begins at 20.00 (8:00 pm), from the Carciano dock (where the cableway station is).

For more info: bellabynight.com   or  call:  347 784 8926  or email: media@bellabynight.com



(   Continued  ...   )

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book: A Local (Me!) Talks About Stresa In A New Guidebook



My world-traveling friend, Gigi Griffis, just published a travel e-guide book about Italy -- and I'm in it! The book is called 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In. What Gigi has done is asked a series of questions to people living in Italy, some natives and some, like myself, expats who have a strong connection to one particular area, and the answers give a more focused, local view of certain popular towns and regions.
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Beach Club: Lido Beach Club Revisited



WALK IDEA:  This idea came from a young couple staying at La Lombarda. They told me they had walked the 3 kilometers from Stresa to Baveno, along the Lungolago, then along the main road that connects the two towns. There is either a sidewalk or small shoulder to walk on for all but a short strip of the way. They found Lido Beach Club by taking a right at the fork on the main road in front of the Dino Hotel. They ate lunch at Lido Beach Club in its beautiful tent-covered restaurant, and then, eventually, they took the ferry boat back to Stresa.

I thought, what a great idea for a nice relaxing walk and day! Soon after that conversation with my young guests I found myself at Lido, noticing all that's new this year there, and reading through their new brochure:

An oasis for the senses, a place of pleasure of meeting where attention to detail is of essence and nothing is left to chance. Elegant and refined, the Lido is surrounded by a beach complete with deck chairs and parasols, a splendid lawn, a bar open from the morning and a restaurant decorated with simplicity and elegance. The kitchen, researched and Mediterranean cuisine, where the ingredients are of fresh produce market, where the tasty dishes will indulge the client in the discovery of new flavors.

I have left in the cute translation errors, but I know you get the idea. Lido is a full-service beach club, where you can come for the day and feel as if you're in an island resort. Or come for lunch... or come for drinks and aperitivo... 

Aperitivo!
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Event: Stresa Festival 2014 Calendar



Summer visitors, here they are!   All the engagements for the Stresa Festival 2014. This year's festival has been given the name "Music on the Move." Events begin on July 24 with the Jazz Concerts and end on September 6 with the last of the "Music on the Move" concerts.

What's new this year?
Six Midsummer Jazz Concerts during the weekend of July 24 through July 27, an increase from four in previous years .

New this year, you can buy your tickets online, AND, download the ticket pdf onto your smartphone to show at the door. No more need to print a ticket.

Downloadable brochures of the concert schedule and artist information.

Concert 1000!  Friday, August 22, 2014 marks the first concert of the 2014 season, but it also marks the 1000th concert ever of the Stresa Festival. To celebrate the event, Stresa Festival director Gianandrea Noseda will lead the orchestra and choir of the Teatro Regio di Torino in a special performance at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Stresa. 

A new promotional video:

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Restaurant: Antica Osteria Il Monte Rosso -- Michelin Two-Fork Restaurant, Five-Star View



Just want to share with you the cuuuutest menu that I have ever seeeeen. After the Tulip Festival at Villa Taranto we went to dine at Antica Osteria il Monte Rosso, on the lake in the Suna part of Verbania. They brought us up to their open balcony, which you reach by climbing a metal spiral staircase, and when we sat they presented each of us with a small wooden box. 1854 is the year the restaurant opened.

Opening the latch and the lid, we each found a collection of items: magnifying glass, old postcards, and a bit of dried flowers bound in a ribbon.

(   Continued   ...   )

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