Isola Madre is the largest of the Borromean Islands, located just a few kilometers from the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore. This splendid island, covering an area of approximately 8.5 hectares, is dominated by lush vegetation and the wonderful botanical garden that makes it famous worldwide.
The history of Isola Madre dates back to the Roman period, when the island was used as a stone quarry for the construction of buildings and monuments. Over the centuries, the island underwent numerous transformations and was inhabited by several noble families. However, it was thanks to the Borromeo family that the island reached its maximum splendor.
In the 1500s, the Borromeo family purchased the island and began the construction of a villa in the center of the island. Over the centuries, the villa underwent several transformations and expansions, becoming an authentic architectural gem. Today, the villa houses a rich collection of furniture, paintings, sculptures, and other artistic artifacts.
The botanical garden was created in 1823 when the family imported exotic plants from all over the world. Today, the garden is home to over 20,000 plants, including many rare and exotic ones. Visitors can admire a wide range of plants and flowers, from rhododendrons to camellias, from hydrangeas to azaleas. The garden also houses centuries-old trees such as the cedar of Lebanon and the ginkgo biloba, dating back to the 17th century.
The garden is divided into several sections, each characterized by a particular type of plants and setting. Among the most fascinating sections of the garden is that of the magnolias, where some of the oldest and most suggestive plants of the island can be found. In addition, the garden hosts a wide variety of aquatic plants, growing in artificial ponds and watercourses.
The garden of Isola Madre is a true paradise for botany enthusiasts and for all those who love nature and beauty. Walking along the shaded paths of the garden, you can admire the extraordinary variety of plants and flowers, the fountains and sculptures that adorn the paths and lawns.
Isola Madre is open to the public during the tourist season, from March to October, and can be reached by ferries departing from the main centers of Lake Maggiore, such as Stresa, Verbania, Arona, and Baveno. A visit to the island is an unforgettable experience that allows you to discover one of the most beautiful and suggestive places on Lake Maggiore.
In conclusion, Isola Madre is a must-visit destination for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the nature, history, and beauty of Lake Maggiore. The botanical garden, the palace, and the panoramic view are just some of the attractions that make this island a magical and unique place in the world.