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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Event: World Championship Fireworks 2014


This is beautiful Omegna, a small city just 25 minutes by car from Stresa. Here's a bunch of photos from last weekend when we came here for the San Vito festival, which takes place every year at the end of August. The highlight is the fireworks exhibition, part of the World Championship of Fireworks, which features a series of fireworks shows in different locations around the area. 

First of all, we somehow scored an amazing parking spot. Not easy at all, since 25,000+ people gather here for this fireworks show, the final in the summer series. We were parked near these boats below. Gorgeous day! As you can see many took advantage of the day to sunbathe, as well as save a spot for the show later. 


We didn't worry at all about finding a viewing spot. Omegna surrounds a small bay, and there is a great view all around. So instead we explored. Because this is a huge festival that goes on all day, as well as extending into days before and after. There is a central stage set up for a band later...


(   Continued   ...   )

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Art: Palazzina Liberty-- Hidden Art Gallery


The Palazzina Liberty has -- at least during all of the months of each season -- ongoing art exhibitions. You'll see the posters pasted and pinned around Stresa, on windows, bars, and in the supermarket; but have you ever stopped in to this small, slightly out-of-the-way gallery? You should; there's always something interesting to see. For example, now, until 26 August, the gallery is featuring a show of works by local painter Giacomo Schiari.

(   Continued   ...   )

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shopping: More Little Gifts

These hand towels, found in the linen shop on via Garibaldi,  are embroidered with a cheery "Buongiorno" greeting that I'd love to use as guest towels. The pack is priced at 15 euro.

As my visiting friend said, as we walked around Stresa on a gray drizzling day, "It's always a good day for shopping!" And of course she's right. Here are some items I've noticed recently in two shops on via Garibaldi that I think fit well into the category of charming little gifts. This bunch ranges in price from 3 euro to 15 euros.

First, some food items, because who doesn't enjoy yummy gifts from Italy?

In Pasticceria Bravi, on via Garibaldi, 6, these "Fiori di Stresa" caramelle, Flowers of Stresa, candies, cost only 3 euro per 100 grams. Wouldn't they make great little gift sacks?


(   Continued   ...   )

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seen In Baveno: Faux Painting


Oh look at the cute pink building in Baveno... ooooh, there's a cat sitting in one window and a pigeon in the other...  But closer inspection of course reveals that neither cat or pigeon is real, in fact those two windows are completely fake, faux, painted onto the facade of the building. On this wall, of six windows, only two were real. 



Faux painting is not at all uncommon in Italy; even our La Lombarda has one faux window painted on to even out a wall. Stones are painted on for effect, molding details, etc. Here, the faux effect is made more complete by the addition of the real stone window sills and the shutter holders on the wall. But the cat and bird are pure whimsy. 

Take a good look around you at buildings; is everything you're seeing really there?



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Seen In Stresa: Musical Notes





I've been serenaded to sleep every night this week with live music. It seems that just about every night now in Stresa, in August, there is live music on a stage somewhere in town. On some evenings there are actually several groups in different venues. These photos are of a jazz duo at Piazza Cadorna, where via Roma and via P. Tomaso meet. The night before, a dance performance in Piazza Possi, just outside my door. And a night before that, a cover band called "i Colori", signing me to sleep outside my window. The music always ends relatively early, to not disturb, and it's a lovely way to end evenings here as you stroll around. Expect this to continue throughout August at least. 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Seen In Stresa: Ristorante Taverna del Pappagallo



There are many places in Stresa in which to have a pizza, but I particularly like those at Taverna del Pappagallo. And I especially like this quiet little table we had a couple nights ago, in the corner of the garden, with this view. Yes, those are grapes hanging overhead.                                                                          (   Continued   ...   )

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.
(   Continued   ...   )

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.



(   Continued ...   )

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.



(   Continued   ...   ) 

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.

(   Continued   ...   )

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