boat ride to Santa Caterina del Sasso (2009 TRIP)

Wednesday, July 15th:
The skies were gray Wednesday morning. Not long after I woke up, it began to rain. I had two full days left in Stresa and both Santa Caterina del Sasso & Orta were on my list as places I definitely wanted to visit. Santa Caterina del Sasso, a monastery that was built in the 12th century on a rocky hillside, looked like the better choice for a cloudy/rainy day. After breakfast, the rain stopped for a bit. I took the 9:55 am boat (5.80 euros roundtrip) to Santa Caterina. For the history of this amazing monastery, check out Dana’s blog post.


Stairway up to the monastery:


Inside the “Chapter Room” (also known as the old reflectory of the monastery):


View heading to the church:


Old olive oil press before heading to the church:


Because I took so many photos that I want to share, I have done two more posts with more photos of this amazing place:

Part 2 ~ Santa Caterina del Sasso

Part 3 ~ Santa Caterina del Sasso.

When the 10:50 boat arrived, I was not ready to leave. It was nice to be alone for a few minutes before the new boatload of people arrived. Even with other people there, this place was so peaceful.

The next boat (11:30) was the last to leave before the 2 hour lunch break. I could have stayed for hours but did not think to pack a lunch.


I met two very nice people from England on the boat on the way back. When we returned to Stresa, I joined them for coffee and an enjoyable chat in the main piazza. Then, I went back to my hotel room, had some yogurt and fruit, and then slept while it rained during the afternoon.

When I woke up, the skies were sunny. I watched some of the Tour de France in Italian and then went down to the courtyard area of my hotel to use the free wifi. A little while later, a woman sat down right next to me and lit up a cigarette. I could not believe it! There must be 25-30 chairs outside the hotel and I was the only other person sitting outside. I glared at her as I got up and moved. I really don’t think she got it.

Before dinner, I walked to the train station to buy my ticket for Friday. Instead of walking back to my hotel, I decided try a different way into town. I came upon this cool chalk art scene…


I also discovered a tiny church and ended up in back of the famous Hotel Iles Borromees. I hung out for a while down by the waterfront, taking photos until dinner.

I returned to Ristorante il Vicoletto for another delicious dinner, ordering the bufala mozzarella, tomatoes & sardines and the ravioli with fish and fresh tomatoes. Yum! The waiter from il Pappagallo (the one who waited on me, not the one who called me Catarina) was also eating there Wednesday evening. That is a sure sign of a good restaurant.

Next up – Thursday ~ visit to Orta San Giulio


10 thoughts on “boat ride to Santa Caterina del Sasso (2009 TRIP)

  1. Thanks for the link back to Stresa Sights! Your photos of Santa Caterina are, as always, really gorgeous. They really captured the serenity of the place. I can’t wait to see more of them. I think the grey day suits the atmosphere there, and certainly was good for the pictures. And I remember you telling me about the woman with the cigarette at du Parc… still can’t believe it…
    Your posts are making me miss Stresa very much…


  2. Hi Girasoli, wonderful photos. I enjoyed reading about your boat trip to see the monastery. I really want to visit Stressa one day and when I do I will need to refer to your blog posts of your experiences there. Your dinner sounded so good too.
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos.


  3. Hi G: Such a wonderful posts. The photos seem to convey the feeling of peacefulness felt. Lovely photos. Can’t wait to see the rest of your photos from this region… Being a reformed smoker, I can understand your ilk over smelling smoke – but I don’t think Europe/England has got the serious message about health and smoking. menehune PS: Let’s PRAY the Phillys can pull this one out.


  4. What a remarkable spot — and your photos are, as always, fantastic. I love the way the monastery seems to rise straight up out of the water! It must have been so peaceful there.
    What a shame about the smoker. I’m often gobsmacked by how thoughtless people can be. At my gym, which has a large locker room, I’m amazed how often someone will take the locker right next to mine when there is plenty of space. Are these people lonely? Am I a curmudgeon?
    All that said, it sounds like a wonderful day!


  5. Whoops! I realized today when doing a search that I spelled Santa Caterina incorrectly. I have fixed this post but I guess for the search engine and link it will forever be spelled incorrectly.
    Dana, I also thought when I was there that the weather ended up being perfect for my visit to Santa Caterina. I’m glad you enjoyed my photos and they brought back nice memories. This was my favorite thing I did whlie in Stresa. Thank you again for pointing it out to me.
    Annie, thanks! It was so amazing to see in person.
    Kathy, thanks! Good thing I took some notes! I am trying to be as specific as I can so that my blog posts may help someone else someday.
    menehune, glad you enjoyed the photos :)
    I was so thrilled when Italy finally passed a no-smoking law. I can deal with smoke outside when there is some space but when the person sits right next to you and starts blowing it towards you, that is too much!
    Yay Phillies!! One game at a time! And a lot of luck!!
    sandra, thanks! It really was an amazing place. It was so cool how it was built right into the rocks. I wonder what it is like in the winter when there is snow.
    It really is amazing how some people just don’t get it. No, you are not a curmudgeon :)
    expatraveler, thanks for stopping by :) I am glad you enjoyed my photos.
    candi, thanks! I think you would love this place.


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