Isola Bella - The Most Famous in the World
Just 400 metres from Stresa, sailing towards the North-East of the Borromean Gulf, the eye is struck by the terraces and Italianate botanical gardens of Isola Bella.
Purchased by Charles BorromeoIII and dedicated to his bride, Countess Isabella D’Adda, it still bears the name that was phonetically shortened from Isola Isabella to Isola Bella.
Count Carlo began building work on the island to create a summer residence onLake Maggiore besides the ancient fishermen’s hamlet. The work was continued by his son, Vitaliano BorromeoVI, who decided to build this splendid complex of Baroque art, with ten terraces full of fine plants and flowers: rhododendrons, oleander and a wonderful collection of camellias, brought as gifts by various guests from all over the world, exotic botanical species, flowers and bulbs that fill the flowerbeds, parterre and bushes with colour, all cared for by the skilful hands of the gardeners, led by the multi-award-winning Gianfranco Giustina.
The terraces lead to a panoramic point with a splendid view over Lake Maggiore, theTeatro Massimo, an architectural complex made up of niches and statues, crowned by theUnicorn, the symbol of the Borromeo House, which in the past was also the setting for the noble family’s events.
Before entering the gardens, visitors walk through the equally impressive Palacewhere, in April 1935, the Stresa Conference took place and representatives of the governments of Italy, France and Great Britain (Mussolini, Laval and MacDonald) met to try and preserve peace in Europe.
Today, from March to October, the 25 rooms that form the Museum of the Borromeo Palace, can be visited with specialised tourist guides, offering tourists an unforgettable experience and leading to the Italianate garden, one of the finest examples of Baroque art in a botanical garden in Italy.
do you want to include Isola Bella in your group's tour?
Hre are our suggested itineraries:
Stresa to Isola Bella and back ( circa 2 hours)
Stresa to Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella and back (circa 3 hours )
Stresa to Isola dei Pescatori, Isola Bella and Isola Madre and back (circa 5 hours)
Stresa to Isola dei Pescatori, panoramic cruise round Isola Madre and visit to Isola Bella and back (circa 3 and a half hours)
We offer a professional, punctual service for groups, with flexible times at the discretion of the tour leader, a local tour guide or a tour escort with explanations on board, if the group decides not to use a local guide.
If you want to organise a trip to Stresa to visit theBorromean Islands, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you book a trip on Lake Maggiore with us we will offer all our support and advice to plan an unforgettable day. Our contacts and partnerships with local professionals mean that we can offer advice on restaurants and expert local guides for a truly memorable experience.
Our services include a water taxi or boat hire from Stresa or other towns on the lake, from which you can depart for a trip to Isola Bella or the other islands on Lake Maggiore.