Tuesday, August 26, 2014
3:17 AM | Dana Kaplan, Stresa Sights | Edit Post
This is beautiful Omegna, a small city just 25 minutes by car from Stresa. Last weekend 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 ... )
And a really good-sized crowd everywhere...
Here's a floating bar on the lake!
In addition to waiting for the fireworks, many were enjoying the market that extended for a good distance along one side of the lake...
And there was no shortage of food, whether in a calm bar along the water...
Or grabbed to go while walking around.
It was still bright out, but the shoreline was starting to get really crowded.
But we still didn't look for a spot. Instead, we had an aperitivo and then scored a great table on the second floor of Bar Salera 16, in front of a glass wall overlooking the lake.
From here we watched the sun begin to set, and a few small boats, mostly fireworks crew or water police, motored slowly around.
And then ... out of the tranquil water, I swore I saw a man rise up from underneath. And I had. Higher and higher, until I saw that water jets on his feet were lifting him up.
This entertained the crowd for a good 15 minutes. He was attached via a thick tube to a small motor boat. The tube supplied the high-pressure water to his shoes, and he seemed able to control the motion in at least a limited fashion. By this time we had left the restaurant and watched from the railing as he rose to impressive heights!
By now it was almost dark. We walked away from the lake back into the charming porticoed streets of the city center.
We had some gelato.
We watched the last light leave the sky and used an app to learn we were looking at Mars and Saturn in the night sky.
And just because the entire evening had been going this way, we scored a great viewing spot leaning over a barrier just behind the VIP section. So we knew the view would be good.
And of course, it was. One last thing, Omegna's fireworks have a musical accompagniment. So with the powerful speakers, we listened to short greetings from the mayor and a few others, and then the music began.
Now I don't know about you, but I can't take photos of fireworks, and certainly not with my iPhone. I'll leave that to the pros. And to be honest I'd rather just watch. Here's proof: a few pathetic attempts at capturing some of the blasts. I'd say my only success has been catching the smiley face rocket!
But I don't want to you go away empty handed, after this build-up to the fireworks show, so here you go: The Finale!
Over the years I've seen several of the Championship Fireworks shows in different locations. The easiest to see from Stresa would be any of those in Verbania or Laveno, across the lake. For those of you traveling by car the other destinations are all reachable too.
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