Isola Bella is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating destinations on Lake Maggiore, located about 400 meters off the shore of Stresa, in the gulf dedicated to the well-known Borromeo family. This splendid island is a true wonder for the eyes, famous for its beauty and historic gardens, making it an unmissable destination for those visiting the region.
The island was created by the Borromeo family in the 16th century when Count Carlo III decided to transform an uninhabited islet into a place of leisure for his family and guests. The project was entrusted to the Milanese architect Angelo Crivelli, who created a unique work of art, an artificial island that appears to emerge from the lake like an enchanted ship.
Crivelli's project envisioned the creation of an elegant palace surrounded by gardens and terraces, where the Borromeo family could enjoy the beauty of the lake in total tranquility. The construction of the palace began in 1632 and was completed only in 1671, under the guidance of Carlo IV. The final result is one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Italy, with an imposing white facade decorated with statues and frescoes.
But the real wonder of Isola Bella is its gardens, a collection of true botanical masterpieces that have been expanded and improved over the centuries. The lower garden, called the Garden of Love, is the oldest and is characterized by a series of terraces that follow along the coast, adorned with statues, fountains, and exotic plants. The middle garden, called the Italian Garden, is dominated by a large fountain and a maze of hedges. Finally, the upper garden, called the English Garden, is an explosion of colors and scents, with a wide variety of flowers and plants.
Isola Bella has been open to the public since 1951 and is a very popular tourist destination, especially among nature and art lovers. Every year, thousands of visitors arrive on the island to admire its gardens and works of art, including an important collection of paintings, sculptures, and antique furniture. The island also offers a spectacular view of the lake, with the possibility of enjoying unforgettable sunsets on the waters of Lake Maggiore.
But Isola Bella is not only a destination for tourists, but also an important place for the conservation of nature and biodiversity. In fact, the garden hosts numerous rare and exotic plants, many of which were imported by the Borromeo family from their travels to the East and South America. The garden was also the site of experimentation with new cultivation and hybridization techniques, which allowed for the creation of new varieties of flowers and plants.
In addition to the gardens, Isola Bella also offers a series of activities and attractions for visitors. Among these, the visit to the Borromeo Palace is a highlight, with its richly decorated halls, salons, and bedrooms furnished with period furniture and works of art. The palace also houses a collection of ancient weapons and porcelain, and a series of portraits of the members of the Borromeo family.
Another highly appreciated attraction is the guided tours of the Venus Grotto, an artificial cave created inside the island's rock. The grotto was created in the 17th century and is decorated with statues and frescoes depicting mythological scenes.
In conclusion, Isola Bella is a fascinating tourist destination that offers its visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, art, and history. An enchanted place, where time seems to stand still, and where every corner hides a surprise. If you are on vacation on Lake Maggiore, you cannot miss the visit to this wonderful island, which will leave you speechless and give you an unforgettable experience.