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Stresa

Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Piedmont  /  Lake Maggiore  /  Stresa
(3.3/5 based on 5,000+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, zoos & aquariums, nightlife
Stresa is a town and comune of about 5,000 residents on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, about 90km northwest of Milan. Since the early 20th century, the main source of income has been the tourist trade; like other places on Lake Maggiore, it benefits from spectacular views as well as areas of historical and architectural interest. It is situated on road and rail routes to the Simplon Pass.HistoryThe name of this town first appeared in documents in AD 998.In the 15th century it grew into a fishing community and owed feudal allegiance to the Visconti family. It subsequently came under the control of the Borromeo family.For centuries Stresa has been a popular retreat for Europe's aristocrats, who have endowed the town with a number of villas. Tourism increased substantially after tunneling of the Simplon Pass allowed train services from north of the Alps to pass through Stresa in 1906.In 1948 American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway visited the town. He had set part of his 1929 novel Farewell to Arms in the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees. In 2002 Stresa hosted the 10th International Hemingway Conference.Stresa has played host to two notable political conferences in the 20th century: 1935: the UK, Italy and France re-affirm the Treaty of Locarno and agree to form the Stresa front to combat and contain Nazi Germany.1958: the foundations of what would become Europe's Common Agricultural Policy of the European Economic Community were formulated in Stresa. Stresa is also the venue for the "Settimane Musicali"; one of Europe's important classical music international festivals which is held annually in the summer.
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