Stresa Music Festival

Italy, beside its many beauties, offers a great variety of cultural events, often hosted in natural landscapes or historical landmarks; think of the Opera season at the arena of Verona, the ‘Regata delle Lucie’ where the vessels race on the waters of Lake Como, or the Andy Warhol exhibition that you can catch at in the ‘Castello Sforzesco’ in Milan and so on. For travelers as well as locals, these festivals and concerts represent a great opportunity to enjoy entertainment and culture as well as its natural or historical setting. As the second largest lake in Italy, Lake Maggiore is a very charming location worth to be visited as much as the more famous Lake Como.

It crosses the border into Switzerland, while the Italian part lies within two regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. Thanks to its all year around mild climate, Mediterranean species, such as lemon and olive trees, thrive together with the many gardens, blooming with camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias, while many species of freshwater fish including the freshwater cod and the eel can be sampled in the local restaurants.

The lake also has 11 islands with Verbania and Stresa being the most prominent and charming towns on its banks. Stresa is an excellent base to discover Lake Maggiore. There is so much to discover and do, from palaces, villas and gardens to markets, local fetes and concerts. The ‘Settimane Musicali di Stresa e del Lago Maggiore’ - better known as ‘The Stresa Festival’ - is without a doubt among the best-known European classical music festivals, offering to its audience superlative performances by internationally famed artists, all hosted in churches and historic buildings throughout the province. Among these, the wonderful Palazzo Borromeo on the Isola Bella is one spectacular background or the Loggia of Cashmere on the Isola Madre.

The 2014 one marks the 53rd edition of the festival, which first originated in 1961, thanks to a lawyer in the area whose friend – the mighty orchestra conductor Arturo Toscanini - was often guest at his villa on the lake. The Stresa concerts season starts in Easter and goes on throughout the summer, featuring music ranging from symphonic and chamber concerts to instrumental and vocal recitals. This year’s edition kicked off with a series of midsummer jazz concerts and will culminate in the Stresa Congress Hall on September 6th, with a final perfomance of symphonies by Johann Brahms conducted by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Vladimir Jurowski. It’s not too late to go catch one of these concerts, and seize the opportunity of visiting Lake Maggiore and its wild and romantic surroundings. For calendar and tickets please go to

Nicoletta Lucia Paganucci