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When I think of the Lake District in Northern Italy, I think of Lake Como and dreamy George Clooney. Maybe Julia, Brad and the Clintons are there also. His too gorgeous for words wife, Amal, is obvs there, glowing in her pregnancy like no normal human ever should. In other words: the place is out of my league.
Good news people!!! I. Was. Wrong. I admit it (please don’t tell my husband). There is more than one lake in the region. For us geography-impared here is a map:
As you can see there are SEVEN lakes. Seven. Except one isn’t labeled. Since it seems to play a small, insignificant role, we’ll call it Peggy.
In early April, I visited Lago Maggiore. Specifically, two towns on the western coast. They are Arona and Stresa.
Arona is the southern-most of and largest of the two towns. It is right on Lago Maggiore. For you history buffs, the Borromeo Family acquired Arona in the 15th century. The family still holds a stake in Arona as owners of La Rocca and most of the the Borromean Islands.
Arona is a pretty awesome small town. There are several boutiques, mostly clothing and shoes. More restaurants, cafés, and bars than you can throw a stick at. Due to the fact that it’s a popular holiday spot for Swiss & German tourists you can get a variety of different eats and drinks outside of pasta and wine.
Corso della Republica, pedistrian shopping district, Arona.
Head to the train station in Arona for a €4,5 ticket to Stresa. Stresa is a small, mostly pedestrian town that is so picturesque, its nauseating. There are direct trains and trains that stop in smaller towns along the way. Don’t even sit down for the 10-15 minute ride. Find a standing spot as close to the door so you can watch the scenery as it passes. You get an amazing view of the lake and surrounding mountains as you climb up into them.
Don’t hump the door, thats frowned upon.
While it is sparse in off season, all of the shops are still open. If you’re looking for good wine, go visit the family that runs Enoteca La Cambusa. Open since 1961, they can tell you everything about everything, plus they ship home. They also have herbs, oils and vinegars. We tasted a 20-year old balsamic that looked more like molasses and made me weak in the knees.
There is also a lovely pottery place that could break you (no pun intended) because you’ll want one of everything! Ferri Christina sells authentic Deruta ceramic ware & Venetian glass jewelry. It’s no joke. If they don’t have a piece you want in a print you want, they get it made.
Take all of my
When you’re done shopping, sit down in the main piazza and grab a meal and some wine. Wait until almost sunset and catch the train back down to Arona. It’ll absolutely remind you of how amazingly beautiful the world is.