Monday, December 2, 2013
8:15 AM | Dana Kaplan, Stresa Sights | Edit Post
It was a horribly rainy Friday, and so I did not go outside to visit the Stresa Friday market. Instead, when the next day dawned stunningly clear and warm, I decided to go to Verbania, where the weekly market takes place each Saturday. I'm very glad that I did. What an easy trip, and a very different, much larger, market.
I used the public VCO bus to get to Verbania. You catch it on the main street, in front of the large parking lot at the Stresa boat station, and just across from Stresa's church. Be on the side of the street across from the church; looking at the church we want to catch the bus going to our right. It will say this on the marquis:
That's right, it does not say Verbania. If you feel nervous, just ask another person, or the driver, "Per Verbania?" The cost is 2.25 euro each way as of this writing; they can make change for you on the bus.
( Continued ... )
Sitting up high on the bus, the 25-minute trip becomes almost a mini tour. If you can, choose a seat on the lake side of the bus. You will go past:
the Borromeo Islands; Isola Bella above and Pescatore below,
Baveno, where the bus makes a stop,
Charming Feriolo, where another stop is made;
Past the parkland at Fondatoce,
then crossing over the Toce River; this is where the river flows into Lago Maggiore after its long trip down from the Alps.
And after crossing the Toce, around the Borromeo Gulf to Verbania. Stresa is now on the other side of the water. See the sun shining in these photos? Verbania, being on the other side of the gulf, gets this direct sun in the winter, making the day seem even warmer and brighter.
We arrive at Verbania, Intra, and disembark here at what is called the Vecchio Stazione, the Old Station. The bus stops where you see the black car in the photo below. Get out here... And remember to know the time of the return buses.
The lakefront is lined with cafes and shops. On this November day, people were eating outside. Follow people to the market; you really can't miss it.
Verbania is a much larger city than Stresa. It has about 30,000 permanent residents, compared to Stresa's 5,000. And it is a center for other large towns surrounding it. Therefore, the market is far larger than Stresa's, far vaster in its range of goods. It meanders through many different streets of Verbania, sometimes widening into a parking lot, sometimes including shops, in a sort of impromptu Saturday sidewalk sale.
Okay. So. I know you've been waiting for my market report, what trends I noticed in this early winter. Here they are:
Down jackets. Lots and lots of down jackets. The most popular versions seemed to be these short, lightweight, colorful ones.
Also, down jackets in floral prints. That's something I don't recall seeing before.
Another trend in jackets this year was the "tapestry" look, with jackets constructed of several different fabrics. Each coat was unique, as different parts of fabric are used on each. Liking these ... they are dressy, different, and fun!
For the guys, Verbania has far more choices than Stresa. Very nice things, too! I noticed many sweater vendors; lots of cashmere and wool:
And then, in addition to all the clothing, there are housewares, toys, jewelry, food, food, food, and just more, more, more. I would say leave yourself a few hours, between shopping and stopping for something to eat or drink at one of the many cafes. Because of the size and scope, the Verbania market runs all day; it doesn't close up at 1:00 as the Stresa market does.
The return bus is caught across the street from the Old Station, at this bus stop:
In Stresa, it stops directly in front of the church.
As you can see, it is possible to go to a market each day of the week. There's Cannobio on Sunday, Luino on Wednesday, Stresa every Friday, Arona Tuesday, Verbania Saturday, and so on! And so far, I have found that they really do have each their own unique flavor.
So, grab your tote bags, and get shopping!
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