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Discover the beauties of lake maggiore

Borromean islands

The Borromean islands are a small group of islands located in Lake Maggiore (Borromean gulf) between the cities of Stresa and Verbania. It includes isola Bellaisola Madre and isola dei Pescatori.

The origin of the Borromean Islands goes back to the 14th century, when the Borromeo family, the powerful local lords from Tuscany, became owner of the islands and built majestic palaces and gardens.

Isola dei Pescatori
(Fishermen’s Island)

The isola dei Pescatori (or Isola Superiore) is the only island, which is not owned by the Borromeo family and it is inhabited by 100 people, which live of fishing and tourism. On the Isola dei Pescatori it is possible to have lunch in the typical restaurants with lake view, to find out uncommon alleys or to enjoy the local craftsmanship in small markets.

The typical houses on the island, due to the small spaces, develop on height and their long balconies characterize its architecture. On the island you will find the San Vittore church from the 11th century with ornaments from the 15th and 16th century.

Isola dei Pescatori

Isola Bella

The isola Bella, called originally Isola Isabella in honor of the wife of Carlo Borromeo III, offers a majestic palace from the 17th century and a grandiose Baroque Italian garden. At Borromeo Palace you can visit the saloons with paintings, the rooms with furniture and arras, the mosaic caverns with stones and shells, the sculptures and the water games.

The garden is composed by ten terracings declining towards the lake and today they are considered among the most beautiful ones in Europe. The big variety of exotic plants on the Isola Bella and the peacocks which live free in the gardens, are a perfect combination of art and nature.

Isola Bella

Isola Madre

The isola Madre, is the largest one of the Borromean islands and is characterized by the silent and enchanted atmosphere. Here you will find a wonderful palace of the 16th century with furniture, period paintings and sculptures, rooms and saloons, a doll collection, 3 puppet and terror theatres and a chapel.

But what surprises the most at Isola Madre are the majestic gardens with more than 2000 species of different plants, some very rare, from all over the world, which bloom from April to October. The French naturalist Flaubert defined the Isola Madre as a real paradise on earth. In this tropical atmosphere, where flora and fauna coexist, there are several kind of volatiles, such as white peacocks, parrots and pheasants which live free in the gardens.