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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Stresa-Mottarone Cablecar



I do believe that the journey is just as important as the destination. With that in mind, I believe that every visitor to Stresa should treat themselves to a journey on the Mottarone funivia, also known as the Stresa-Mottarone cablecar. Since 1970, with the closing of the old tram, the cableway has been the easiest, fastest, and most stunning way to reach the summit of Mt. Mottarone. Here's what you'll want to know:

The funivia station is at the Carciano boat station. Walk east for 1 km (0.6 mile) along the lake to arrive there from the center of Stresa. There is also ample parking if you're coming by car. Or arrive from other points on the lake by boat to Carciano. Tickets are purchased right at the base entrance to the cableway.

Each cablecar carries 40 passengers. In summer the cars make the trip every 20 minutes. Always check the schedules posted near the stations for the exact time of the last departure and descent from the top. Also check for any unexpected closures, due to bad weather or maintenance.

There are two stops on the cableway. The midstation stops at the Giardino Alpinia, the Alpine Gardens. With a round-trip cableway ticket admission to the gardens is included. Here walk through gardens blooming with 500 varieties of alpine plants from April through October, and stop for a moment at the benches which overlook the lake. There is also a cafe near the gardens.

The top station reaches 1,491 m (4,892 ft) atop Mt. Mottarone. The summit is a 15-minute walk from the station, and offers a 360 degree panorama of the Po Valley, the Alps, of seven different lakes, and on a clear day, all the way to Milan. Here, there are several different cafes and restaurants to choose from. Note that the final walk to the summit is steep, and that it will be much cooler atop Mottarone than down below. There is also a chairlift that can bring you to the very top; the cost is included already in your cableway ticket.

Together, the funivia, the Alpine Gardens, and Mottarone offer four seasons of activities. In the winter, Mottarone is a world-class ski resort. In spring, revive yourself walking among the flowers in the gardens. In summer, mountain bikers bring their bikes up the cableway for the thrilling ride down the well-marked trails. Hikers do the same, just taking a bit longer to reach the lake. And in autumn, there is no better spot from which to see the fall foliage. Enjoy these photos, all courtesy of the stresa-mottarone Web site, where you'll find up-to-date rates and schedules in English.

Cableway Web site, schedules, and rates, in English: www.stresa-mottarone.it
Giardino Alpinia Web site: www.giardinoalpinia.it


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