After a journey enhanced by magnificent views of the lakes and mountains, we descend to STRESA, Stresa is the gem of Lake Maggiore (in Latin Verbanus), whose northern arm extends into Swiss territory. The extraordinary beauty of its vegetation, its delightful scenery and the mildness of its climate have made it a famous holiday resort ever since ancient times. By taking a boat from Stresa, you can visit the Borromean Island: Isola Bella, with its Palazzo Borromeo, containing partings, tapestries and a collection of arms, and Isola del Pescalori, with its quaint fishermen's houses.
The next day, our trip continues towards the Swiss border (35 miles). We come first to Baveno with its lovely bay (Romanesque Parrocchiale, Baptistery) and then, leaving tiny Lake Mergozzo to our left, to the village of Pallanza perched on an enchanting promontory jutting into the lake (note the Palazzo Pretorio, the XVI century Church of S.Leonardo, and the Church of the Madonna dl Campagna with its Bramantesque octagonal dome). Rounding the tip of the promontory, we come in rapid succession upon the towns of Intra, Ghiffa and Cannero, off which the ruins of old castles may be seen on two tiny islands. A halt should be made in Cannobio to visit the Bramantesque Santuario delta Pieta (inside, a beautiful Altarpiece by Goudenzio Ferrari), and the arcaded houses ornamented with wrought iron and carved wood work.
At Poggio di Valmara, we cross the Swiss border. After Ascona, the millionaires paradise, we reach the city of LOCARNO 11 miles from the border, with its Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, which is accessible by funicular railway and from which a magnificent view may be enjoyed.
We then cover the 25 miles of lovely scenic road, via Cadenazzo, to LUGANO on the lake of the same name (see the old quarter, the Renaissance Cathedral, the XV century Palace of Justice and Lucchini Palace, the XVII century Rival Palaces and, above all, the extremely important frescoes by Bernardino Luini in the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli; visit the richly endowed Von Thyssen collection).
Continuing south and crossing a bridge over the lake, we leave the tiny Italian enclave of Campione (charming position, Casino) on the left, and come to the border-town of Chiasso (15 miles), where we re-enter Italy. Two miles more and we are in COMO. Following the shore road, we reach the middle of town, heading in the direction of a noteworthy group of buildings which includes the severe Tower with its Gothic-Renaissance fagade (elaborate Porch with statues in cuspidate niches) and its XVI century apse and dome; insider, tapestries and paintings by B. Luini and G. Ferrari. From Brunate, which may be reached by funicular railway (2,355 ft.), there is a magnificent view, of the lake and the Alps.
The next daf should be spent in a tour around the lake. From Como to the northernmost tip there are some forty miles of unforgettable scenery, punctuated by towns containing features of extraordinary interest: Cernobbio, with the XVI century Villa d'Esle, now a luxury hotel; Moltrasio, with the little Romanesque church of S. Agata; Argegno, at the mouth of the Val d'Intelvi and across from the Island of Comacina (remains of the very old church of S.Eufemia, and an attractive in). Then we come to Tremezzo, with the best view, of the shoreline as well as the lovely Villa Carlotta (1747); crossing over by boat to Balbianello Point, a visit may be paid to the Villa Arconaii. Then there are Cadenabbia, Menaggio and Gravedona the latter with a severe Romanesque church in S.Maria del Tiglio and the noble XVI century Palazzo Gallic.
From the tip of the lake, we start down the eastern shore (27,5 miles) to Lecco. On the far side of a small inlet stands the Romanesque Abbey of Piona, the cloister of which is the architectural jewel of the lake. We then pass through Bellano, with its beautiful XIV century church, and Varenna,whence a boat can be taken to the delightful town of Bellagio with the Serbelloni and Melzi Villas, set amidst pineevoods and parks that stretch to the very extremity of its tiny peninsula (Romanesque church of San Giacomo). Continuing from Varenza, in the sadow of the towering slopes of Mt. Grigna (7,875 ft.), we pass by LECCO and skirting the little Garlate Lake, we come after 20 miles) to MONZA, which was an extremely important city under the Longobards. It boasts a magnificent Cathedral (1396) faced with white, green and black marble m the Chapel of Queen Teodolinda, lively XV century frescoes; in the Treasury, the Iron Crow u of the Longobard kings of Italy which was worn by Charles V and Napoleon), the XIII century Arengario, at one time the Town Hall, and the splendid Royal Park, where the Motor-Race Track is to be found.