On a tiny Italian island is situated a unique, Baroque garden. It’s a treasure of Isola Bella, a place, where white peacocks are strolling freely, and the air is filled with the aroma of oranges and lemons.
The greatest masterpieces are created with inspiration, or as an expression of the artist’s feelings. A good example would be the character of Count Carlo III Borromeo, who founded the fabulous gardens and built a mansion for his beloved Isabella d' Adda. He did that, so she doesn’t need to bear the heat and noise of Milan any longer. You can enjoy these beautiful gardens on Isola Bella, the most wonderful of the Borromean Islands.
In the past, Isola Bella was barren and rocky, but today it’s deservedly called the Beautiful Island. The count, madly in love with his spouse, created a real paradise here. At his command, tons of earth were transported to the islet, and then terraced gardens planted with lemons and oranges were created. White peacocks strolled fearlessly between merrily humming fountains and statues - it was really amazing, and the air was filled with Baroque love.
Three sisters on the lake
Isola Bella along with its less popular sisters, Isola Madre and Isola Pescatori, is located on Lago Maggiore in Lombardy. Borromeo family owes it for hundreds of years, as well as a large number of other priceless monuments of the region. Today, many old family residences were transformed into tourist attractions available to visitors for a fee. Gardens created out of love are one of them, and each year are visited by thousands of people. In the season, small ships cruising across the lake are carrying real crowds eager to see the rich buildings and the sea of flowers.
If we come to Isola Bella from Verbania, our eyes will be firstly greeted by a magnificent castle standing on a promontory. On the other hand, if we choose a course from Stresa, we’ll enjoy an amazing view of a large green garden, resembling a stepped pyramid. On the highest terrace (with a height of 37 meters) stands a statue of Cupid on a unicorn. That animal is also in the coat of arms of the Borromeo family, and is one of their favorite symbols.
Proof of love
The gardens were founded by the father, but the continuation of the work had to wait for the children. They had finished the project, interrupted 40 years earlier by an epidemic of plague. The northern part was waiting even longer and took its final shape in the mid- twentieth century. Today, you can enjoy a four-storey palace built with a great sense of taste. Its interiors are decorated with a refined, but not exaggerated taste. Particularly noteworthy is the huge living room, with large windows and stuccoworks. You should also see the collection of eighteenth-century puppets.
You can visit only a part of the representational rooms and caves, which are chambers, located almost at the level of the lake. Even in the summer they’re nicely cool, and the wealth of interior design impresses visitors. The walls of chambers are covered with mosaic made of tuff, nacre and shells. They’re crowned with figures of Greek gods and Baroque cupids, there’s also a unicorn.
In turn, the gardens attract not only with ten terraces, but with the abundance of flowers species growing there. Here, we can find not only the typical Italian species, but many exotic plants, kept in the greenhouse during winter. The top terrace offers a beautiful view of the garden and lake, while slightly lower is located an amphitheater with a fountain.
Overnight at the lake
Guests can enjoy a whole bunch of guesthouses and campsites located near the lake. You can choose Camping Village Parisi, situated approximately 2 km from the island. For the position for a motorhome you will pay from 9 to 14 euros, while for the accommodation - from 5.5 to 8 euros. Camping is pet friendly and a day stay for a dog costs 3 euros.
The island is not only about the palace and gardens. On the harbor stands a Baroque church, and in the near proximity you can find a few souvenir shops and cozy pubs. Tamed, white peacocks wander fearlessly in search of crumbs. It's a place for the beauty connoiseurs.