Imagine a home not only defined by sophisticated style and luxurious finishes, but equipped with everything for a perfect vacation… Breathtaking view, private swimming pool, huge ever green garden, rumpus room and many other.
Villa Ermelinda was built in the late 40s, and completely restructured in 2014. Today it is a brand new 600m2 holiday home for up to 13 guests. There are 6 bedrooms each one with ensuite bathrooms, all of them have a unique design that marries perfectly natural landscape of Lake Maggiore. There is a lounge zone with a fire place, Chesterfield sofas, 3D TV, Apple TV, vintage card console, cherry tree furniture. Dining zone with a high tech equipped kitchen.
Basement of the house is turned into a spacious rumpus room, with sofas, Yamaha keyboard, Playstation 3 and a fitness zone with several machines, Jacuzzi and sofas. There is wi-fi all around the house and outdoor swimming pool.
View to the Borromeo gulf and the islands worth mentioning as well, as it is splendid. As is the location, just 15 minutes walking to the centre of Baveno, 10 minutes drive to Stresa and 50 minutes drive from Malpensa airport.
Although Hemingway is most commonly associated with Florida’s Key West, Spain and Cuba, the latter serving as inspiration for his Nobel Prize Winning novella The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway also had a long, and sometimes painful, relationship with Italy. In 1918, as war raged in Europe, an 18 year old Ernest Hemingway responded to a plea for ambulance drivers on the Italian front, and left for Europe. He arrived in Milan and immediately received a baptism of fire when he was sent to the scene of a bombed munitions factory to collect “the fragments” of female workers. A scene he vividly described years later in his book Death in the Afternoon.
Fossalta di Piave on the Italian Front
A few days later he was transferred to Fossalta di Piave on the Italian Front. The Italian Front stretched from more than 400 miles, with much of the fighting being conducted in or around the Alps, with the Italians on one side and the Austro-Hungarian armies on the other. Soldiers fought against the enemy but also against the hostile weather that could reach as low as -45c during the winter months. Avalanches were also a constant fear and often intentionally caused by opposing Armies. The “war in the mountains” would rage for almost three and a half years until French, British and American soldiers could reinforce the Italians. After the decisive battle of Vittorio Veneto the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and an Armistice was signed.
Hemingway – Italian Silver Medal of Bravery
Several months earlier on 8th July 1918 Ernest Hemingway was seriously wounded, while delivering cigarettes and chocolates to front line troops, when a mortar exploded next to him. Despite the severity of his own wounds, Hemingway still managed to carry an Italian soldier to safety, for which he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. He spent the next six months recovering from the 227 shrapnel wounds to his legs in a Milan hospital. During this time Hemingway fell in love with Nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, who he fictionalised as Nurse Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms.
A Farewell to Arms
Although the novel is a work of fiction, the parallels between the young protagonist, Frederick Henry, and Hemingway’s own life are clear. And this perhaps is what gives it such a quality of authenticity: from the description of the battle of Caporetto, to the relationship between Henry and Catherine, and the novels final heart-wrenching climax. Hemingway speaks to the reader with conviction and, sometimes, brutal honesty. His “to the point” style is as much about what is not written as what is, and this shift in style, away from the overly flowery language of his peers, allows the reader to “fill the gaps”, and almost become part of the story.
Stresa – Lago Maggiore
Lake Maggiore, his “home from home”! In September 1918, just two month after his injury, a 19 year old Ernest Hemingway was given 10 day Convalesce-Pass and headed for Stresa, just an hour drive from Milan on Lake Maggiore. He checked into room 106 (now the Hemingway Suite) at the Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, and headed straight for the bar. Unfortunately, for visitors looking for a “Hemingway experience” that bar has long since been closed; the good news is that the new bar has not forgotten Him. Several photos of him adorn the wall, and a Hemingway Special cocktail can still be found on the drinks menu. But surely, it’s the framed page of the guest book he signed on a return visit in 1948 that is the most intriguing. It simply reads: “Ernest Hemingway (an old client)”.
Hemingway spent 7 of his 10 day leave at the Grand Hotel Iles Borromées. While there he spent much of his time playing pool with a “99 year old count”, talking with the barman over a dry martini (Hemingway’s drink of choice back then) and taking boating trips to the small island of Pescatori on Lake Maggiore. All of which were fictionalised in A Farewell to Arms.
Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees Stresa
It’s a strange feeling to sit at the bar in the Hotel Borremées, looking out across the lake and knowing that somewhere in that still water, or in the mountains behind, Hemingway found his inspiration. In a letter to his parents in 1918, Hemingway wrote “I’m up here in Stresa, a little resort on Lake Maggiore. One of the most beautiful Italian lakes.”.
So it seems not much has changed since Hemingway’s time, it is still just as beautiful and still remains a perfect location to relax and enjoy the fresh air of the lakes. The many tiny islands on Lake Maggiore offer some of the most beautiful gardens in Europe and can easily be reached in a matter of minutes by the excellent passenger boats that operate throughout the day.
Hemingway Suite – Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees Stresa
Hemingway’s spares writing style and universal themes never failed to captivate the reader. He wrote with an honesty that was sometimes painful to read, but always impossible not to. He pulled no punches and made no apologies for it. Snippets of his own life were so delicately inserted into his novels that it is only in hindsight that we can fully understand what he meant when he described the process of writing as “bleeding into a typewriter.” Unfortunately, the legend that Hemingway himself had helped to create has often threatened to overshadow the great contribution he made to modern literature. By his final years his novels and real life had become so intertwined that even he couldn’t tell them apart.
Ernest Hemingway took his own life with a shotgun in 1961, aged 61.
The gardens of Villa Taranto in Verbania, between Intra and Pallanza, are known as ones of the finest botanical gardens in the world. The result of a passionate labour of the Scottish Captain McEacharn in 1931, the myriad of colours and scents marvellously landscaped over the garden enchant visitors from March to October.
The gardens have a traditional English style, though there is no lack of Italian features like statues, fountains, ponds, terraces, waterfalls – in short, all the ornamental elements that add some extra magic to this earthly paradise.
Villa Taranto’s garden has thousands of species of trees and flowers from all over the world, planted harmoniously over an area of around 16 hectares, crossed by 7 km of paths and avenues. It is impossible in a few words to describe the richness of colour, scent, and emotional impact: eucalyptus, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, port wine magnolias, maples, camellias, dahlias, tulips, lotus, heathers, dwarf asters, hydrangeas, dozens of tropical plants (including the giant water lily Victoria Amazonica).
From spring to autumn there are always flowers in bloom, with “special events” for certain species which are particularly spectacular in their season: the tulip week is in April, dahlias are at their best between July and October.
Here you can find more information, opening times and prices for the season 2015
Fascinating Villa Pallavicino is located on the outskirts of Stresa, barely one km away from its centre. It dates back to the 19th century when it was built for the politician Ruggero Borghi and then passed into the ownership of the Duke of Villombrosa before finally being purchased by Marquis Ludovico Pallavicino of Genova.
Marquis Pallavicino extended the grounds and gave the villa the look it still has today. The zoological park was opened to the public in 1954 and both the villa and park are still owned by the Pallavicino family.
As you enter the park you will pass a splendid series of archways created with cypress trees, as well as wonderful magnolia trees. In the natural amphitheatre which surrounds the villa there is a magnificent Lebanon Cedar and all round the lawns are Rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. In the old greenhouses the gardeners cultivate numerous exotic species of plants.
The zoological park is situated in the gardens and as well as zebras, llamas, wallabies, prairie dogs, parrots, toucans and much more you can stand just a few steps from beautiful deer.
Here you find more information, opening times and prices for season 2015.
In just 1 hour drive on a picturesque road, you find Premia Terme, an up-to-date complex of thermal baths, covering an impressive area of 26 thousand square meters of land including 5000 square meters of thermal and recreational facilities.
It is designed in full respect of the natural beauty of the environment and the fine architectural interpretation reflects the typical character of local building: local stone called serizzo has been used for the base, the external walls are pannelled in wood and roofing is in local beole stone slabs with large glass picture windows framing the superb views over the valley. The complex is L-shaped and encloses a south-facing area with a large swimming pool used for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. The water circuit continues towards the interior of the complex with dedicated pools having various therapeutic functions.
Saunas, aerosol therapy and water treatments complete the services of the wellbeing center which is based on the ancient Roman tradition which placed both body and soul at the center of daily life.
The spring waters of Premia gush at a temperature of 44° C and are classified as hyperthermal containing calcium sulphate at a permanent residue of 180° of 1414 mg/liter. Particularly recommended for inhalation crenotherapy for sufferers of chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the upper respiratory tracts, in particular pharyngitis, laryngitis and nasal inflammation and sinusitis and, more generally, other diseases of the upper respiratory tracts. Due also to the waters’ fine rehydrating qualities, they can also be highly recommended for the treatment of burns or scarring and anti-aging of the skin.
Here you find all the information about opening hours and prices of Terme di Premia.
On the opposite shore of Arona the chunky medieval Rocca di Angera fortress lords it over the town of Angera in no uncertain terms. From a distance, it is the first thing one sees. Inside is the 12-room Museo della Bambol , displaying the Borromeo family’s priceless collection of dolls. What better place for them than this towering, fairy-tale castle with its high, crenelated walls atop a rocky outcrop? Modest vineyards cling to the slopes around it.
The Borromeo clan bought it from Milan’s Visconti family in 1449. Various rooms and halls open on to the courtyard, among them the awe-inspiring Sala della Giustizia (Hall of Justice), with its overarching vault and lively 13th-century frescoes. From the tower you have breathtaking views. The doll collection counts more than 1000 items, while a separate collection of French and German mechanical dolls and figurines (dating from 1870 to 1920) becomes highly amusing when they are set in sometimes noisy motion.
The easiest way up is by car (signposted from the centre of Angera). By foot, follow the signs from Piazza Parrocchiale. The rest of Angera repays a stroll too. The shady waterfront is speckled with villas and old fishing families’ houses.
Here you find information about opening times and prices.
The cable-car trip up Monte Mottarone (1491m) from the northwestern end of Stresa will for sure impress you with the views over Lake Maggiore, including Isola Bella and Isola Superiore. From the summit on a clear day you can see Lake Orta, several other smaller lakes and Monte Rosa, the Alpine border with Switzerland and second highest mountain of the Alps.
The 20-minute cable-car journey on the Funivia Stresa–Mottarone takes you to the Mottarone station at 1385m, from where it’s a 15-minute walk or free chairlift (when it’s working) up to the summit.
For the more active, there are plenty of good mountain-biking and hiking trails on the mountain. Bicicò rents out mountain bikes at the lower Stresa cable-car station. Walkers can ask at the cable-car station or the tourist office for a free copy of Trekking on the Slopes of Mount Mottarone, which outlines a two-hour walk from Stresa to the Giardino Botanico Alpinia and a four-hour walk to the top of Mottarone.
Skiing Mottarone’s gentle slopes is limited to five green and two blue runs, making it good for beginners. Also possible from the summit is Alpyland a 1200m-long bobsled descent with adjustable speeds that makes it ideal for families.
Here you find info about prices and scedules