Lago Maggiore is one of many finger-like lakes in northern Italy, close to the Swiss border and the Alps. Right next door is the more famous Lake Como. I stayed in Stresa, on Maggiore with my family last week and it was a great little place to hang out. There’s plenty of things to do, such as stroll the lakeside, trekking from village to village in the area, drive to more small lakes, and ride the ferries to visit the small islands in the lake. There are three near Stresa–Isola Bella, Isola Pescatore, and Isola Madre. Isola Bella and Isola Madre are owned by the Borromeo family, who built castles, one Baroque, and one more English in style on each island with huge gardens. The Isola Pescatori is more plebian; it’s where the fishermen lived.
We also visited two street markets. One was in Luino. This market is very big and apparently people from all over the area, including Switzerland, descend on the little town for this market. Most of it is cheap shoes, leather goods, and clothes. But my sister and I walked to the back of the market and found the food stalls! Pretty spectacular. Saucisson!