The local sights, restaurants and activities
It’s a widely known fact that the natives of an area rarely see the sights. I am no exception. The three Islands of Stresa (Bella, Madre and Pescatori) are among the best jewels of Italy, but I’ve been just once on Pescatori and Bella, never on Madre. Certainly worth a trip though. Ferries depart from the maritime station in Stresa. If you are into gardens, Villa Taranto in Verbania boasts among the best in the country . Lake of Orta is on the other side of the hills west of Lesa and the road to get there is worth driving.
Paradise for foodies
There are amazing restaurants within few kilometres from Lesa. Here is a list of my favorite, in order of preference:
Pascia – Invorio, 10 kilometres SW – Chef Paolo Gatta, 1 michelin star. My favourite. $$$
Rapanello – Lesa, 34 metres – Amazing fish $
Battipalo – Lesa, 100 metres $$
Il Piccolo Lago – Mergozzo – 15 kilometres, 2 Michelin stars $$$$
Cheese lovers should definitely stop in Arona at Guffanti. The family have been aging cheese since time immemorial and they know their business.
Wine lovers will find surprises in the area around Boca and Ghemme. Consider a visit to the following producers:
Ghemme: Antoniolo and Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, for reds
Cavallirio: Antico Borgo dei Cavalli, for whites
Hiking and sports
Hikers should definitely head to Parco Nazionale Valgrande where they will find many excellent hikes and also wonderful streams to swim. Short hikes starts from just behind the house just head west under the bridge and get lost in the woods or follow the street north to hike the ancient paths following the lake.
There are two golf courses very close to Lesa, in Gignese the historic 9-hole course ‘Alpino’ and in Comnago the spectacular 18-hole ‘Des Iles Borromees’. Follow the road to Comnago. Other 3 major courses within 20 kilometers, in Agrate Conturbia and Bogogno.
Lesa has a sporting centre with swimming pool and tennis courts, around 400 metres from the house heading S towards Arona then turning left
Beach: Lesa public beach is a bit hidden on the road after the Sporting Centre. But I like to swim along the stone beach just N of the house where there are also 2 floating docks