Dwight Peck's personal website
life's hectic non-stop party threatens to get out of control and really exhausting
April 2005 visit to Switzerland (and Italy)
may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
and the Borromeo Islands
other readers besotted with Hemingway's
A Farewell to Arms, many times we have plodded
through Stresa on the western short of Lago Maggiore promising ourself that,
one day, we would treat ourself to a visit to the Isole Borromee. Especially having
been forced to study the careers and "thoughts" of various cardinals
and theologians of the Borromeo family, we were determined finally to go out there
and see what they left behind.
from Cannobio's on strike for the morning and takes 3 hours anyway, so we've dashed
by auto to Verbania, a much better jumping-off place for the Isole in any
case. Now we're just strolling around Verbania, looking for a hot-dog stand, till
the strike's over and the boat's ready to go.
Verbania has a lovely old part of town.
idling about here, just waiting for Kristin, who's found another pharmacy to browse
in for a while.
strike should be over now, it's time to leave Verbania and catch the boat for
the Borromeo Isles.
Ready to go. [More views of Verbania, 2009]
Pallanza, just around the bend from Verbania, and now we're heading out to the
the very nice house the Borromeos built on Isola Madre (Milan -- think Visconti,
Sforza, Borromeo! That's how bigtime the Borromeos were in their prime, i.e.,
from the 16th century until they turned this house over to the national trust
for taxes.) Theologically, this was a no-show, which is fine! Gardening-wise,
helluva job, Borromeos.
the front door of it, a lovely house, with many many unlabeled portraits of semi-ugly
people and lots of excellent period furniture. (No photos!)
the palace chapel on Isola Madre, a little like a Caribbean casino except for
the cross on top, but really quite a restful place. The island is a big
exotic garden, with flowers from all over, probably reaching full bloom just about
when the high-season tourists cascade down upon the place in full cry. We had
fewer blooms but fewer tourists.
gardening, fresh sushi in the pond. The main house has got a great marionette
museum as well, created by the family in the 19th century with the help of La
Scala set designers in their off hours, and some 19th century Countess' doll collection,
which is a bit scary if you've seen those horror movies about grinning killer
We've noticed something . . .
. . . ah.
Pheasants and peacocks in the gardens (and a parrot collection),
but we must prepare to island-hop when the next boat arrives.
the middle Borromeo island, the Isola dei Pescatori or Fishermen's Island, a compact
community built around the 16th century San Vittore church.
this must be a madhouse, but for the moment we've got it more or less to ourselves,
and it's easier to imagine what life might have been like here
some 400 years ago.
the park at the end of the tiny Isola dei Pescatori
a pleasant afternoon on Fishermen's Island, many boats but no fishing boats to be
the boat dock, getting ready for the summer hordes
Bella, the other one, an 18th century palace and gardens -- we avoided this one
because it looked somewhat overdone.
leaving the Isola dei Pescatori now, and going back to Cannobio for an enormous
dinner. Tip: the pizza in that ristorante on the right is really crappy, and the
beer comes in a plastic cup.
citizen tour boats from Stresa
the Isola Madre again as we head for the old feedbag in Cannobio.
Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 May 2005, revised 2 July 2008, 5 August 2014.