22 February 2022
Museums, botanical gardens, events for the whole family and the new Delfino hotel and restaurant in Terre Borromeo’s offerings to tourists for 2022
Friday, 18 March marks the start of the new season for the top tourist destinations in the circuit that includes the Borromean Islands, Rocca di Angera, Pallavicino Park and Mottarone Adventure Park. Museum visits with artistic and architectural masterpieces, rare flowers in the botanical gardens, the inauguration of a new restaurant on Isola Bella and initiatives for children in the amusement parks are at the centre of the Borromeo Experience, which everyone can organise individually. The offer available from Isola Bella Apartments has been expanded with three new structures.
Stresa, 22 February 2022 – The museum and nature sites of Terre Borromeo open on 18 March. The Borromean Islands, Pallavicino Park, Mottarone Adventure Park, in the Stresa area, and Rocca di Angera on the Lombard side of Lake Maggiore will welcome visitors until 1 November. For the first month, admission will only be possible on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but from 15 April onwards will be open daily.
The main new features include the complete renovation and new opening by the summer of the Albergo Ristorante Delfino on Isola Bella: following complex restoration work under the supervision of the Soprintendenza dei Beni culturali (Cultural Heritage Authority), the building has been returned to its former glory. Guests can choose from two exclusive suites and a restaurant seating about 150, open to the public all day from breakfast to dinner. The building has been restored using original materials and colours that preserve the vintage allure of the architecture and furnishings: this includes the façade, on the oldest part of which traces of painted frames have been found around the windows, probably dating back to 1791. These have been restored. A splendid terrace overlooking the lake provides the perfect place in which to relax in an atmosphere of times gone by, to start the day with a delicious breakfast or to enjoy the sunset with an aperitif, after visiting the museum and the botanical gardens.
The Palazzo Borromeo museum site is one of the most important existing examples of the Baroque era. As one walks through its rooms, one passes through centuries of history, discovering artistic treasures, unexpected anecdotes and extraordinary architectural works made from nature’s rarest materials. Palazzo Borromeo has over twenty rooms, each with its own specific character. Among the most evocative are the Berthier Gallery, which houses more than 130 paintings and constituted the beating heart of the Borromeo family’s collection from the late seventeenth century to the present; and the Napoleon Room, named after the French general who stayed here with his wife and entourage after the Italian campaign. There is also the Tapestry Gallery, a parade of large, precious and delicate Renaissance fabrics on the walls, some of the most beautiful in Europe at the time, and the grottoes which – designed as a cool place at lake level – are unique for the designs and decorations adorning the entire space, from the mosaic floors to the ceiling, created with black and white pebbles, fragments of tuff, stucco and stone.
The rooms of the Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Madre are elegant but more sober, and house one of the largest and best-preserved collections of puppets, stage sets and musical scores in the world. Also on display are mechanical devices representing the special effects of the time. A tour provides a perfect idea of what was long considered one of the most distinguished private theatres of the Lombard aristocracy.
Every spring, there is eager expectation of the explosion of flowers and blossoming plants in the botanical gardens on Isola Bella and nearby Isola Madre. A triumph of beauty and fragrance provided by plants from all over the world. In the Italian garden on Isola Bella, tulips, camellias and violets bloom in the shade of the spectacular Teatro Massimo from March. From the end of April, rhododendrons, magnolias, the azalea parterre and then the rose terrace come on to the scene. In the air, Mediterranean notes are diffused by the citrus espaliers. There are around twenty species of daisies on both Isola Bella and Isola Madre, which, with its English-style garden, represents the more exotic side of the Borromean botanical heritage, not least because of the milder temperatures. On Isola Madre, some rare collections deserve special attention: forty varieties of ancient camellias, some thirty species of magnolia, proteas from South Africa, wisteria from America, China and Japan, as well as water lilies, lemons and the majestic Kashmir cypress.
The cultural side of the Borromeo Experience is complemented by the sensorial and delightful side linked to the pleasures of the palate and shopping. The cafés in the gardens on Isola Bella and Isola Madre are ideal for a light lunch, a snack or an aperitif, surrounded by the romantic floral setting on the lake. For lunch or dinner at the restaurant, the Il Fornello Bottega con Cucina bistro offers a selection of refined dishes, based on quality ingredients and excellent raw materials from Italy and the Piedmont region. The La Piratera restaurant on Isola Madre, which can also be reached by private boat thanks to a buoy service available upon request, offers specialities from the lake.
In Vicolo del Fornello at the heart of the Isola Bella village, there is a succession of boutiques and flagship stores selling prestigious brands, including designer objects, jewellery, perfumes, accessories and clothing. In addition, the bookshops within the museum and the cafés in the gardens offer souvenirs and other items – books, gifts, souvenirs and typical Piedmontese delicacies – which can also be found online in the Terre Borromeo e-shop.
For those who want to stay for a few days or for a long weekend, including an overnight stay in their Borromeo Experience, Terre Borromeo offers Isola Bella Apartments, comfortable accommodation in the historic village. As of this year, three new apartments will join the three existing structures, all equipped with kitchen, wi-fi and air conditioning, expanding the offer up to 29 beds. Isola Bella Apartments have also won the Traveller Review Awards from the booking.com portal in 2022 thanks to traveller reviews.
Spending one or more nights on Isola Bella allows visitors to explore all the destinations of the Terre Borromeo circuit as well as the area’s other beautiful attractions. In Stresa, Parco Pallavicino is a natural oasis combining an enchanting botanical heritage with a wealth of wildlife: more than fifty species of mammals and birds live here in harmony with the surrounding environment. They are looked after by a staff of keepers who are also specialised in assisting wild animals that find a safe haven in the Park, often after being rescued by the forest rangers and unable to survive if released back into the wild. With the new opening and the arrival of the summer season, the local community will be increasingly involved in these events, which are a true spectacle of nature. Thanks to its characteristics, Parco Pallavicino is particularly suitable for children: kangaroos, alpacas, fallow deer, coati, cranes, flamingos, chickens of all shapes and sizes, zebras and all the animals of the farm always offer exciting encounters for children. Among the events scheduled for 2022 are the Family Run, a non-competitive running race organised in collaboration with the Italian Red Cross – Stresa committee – which will take place on 27 March, and the Botanical Treasure Hunt to take place on Easter Monday, 18 April, in collaboration with Grandi Giardini Italiani on the 25th anniversary of the network.
The embrace of nature amidst the colours and sounds of the woods, is the most authentic thing a trip to the Mottarone Adventure Park can offer. It is the ideal place for those looking for fun, sport, cycling and high altitude walks with views of breathtaking scenery. Children and young people can safely explore the park, trying their hand at tree climbing and adventure trails with different levels of difficulty, or in the Net Experience play areas. Nearby, the Bar Stazione is perfect for a snack, a light lunch or a tasty barbecue. Otherwise, at the summit, the Rifugio Genziana restaurant offers a well-deserved reward based on the typical flavours of the Val d’Ossola for those who have blazed a trail on and off the mountain paths. It is in this perfect setting for outdoor sports enthusiasts that the appointment with the Vibram Trail Mottarone returns on 7 and 8 May with four different distances, all starting from Stresa, to test everyone according to their level of fitness.
On the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore, the Rocca di Angera in the province of Varese welcomes visitors, enveloping them in the historic charm of its rooms and medieval garden. As well as being a fairytale location for events, the castle is home to Europe’s largest doll and toy museum: a fascinating and unusual journey through vintage toys, music boxes, porcelain and French and German automata that are true masterpieces of craftsmanship. The pride and joy of the Rocca di Angera are the fourteenth-century frescoes: the ones in the Sala di Giustizia and the Sala dei Fasti are particularly fascinating and not to be missed. Outside, the cafeteria can be reached even without visiting the castle, to enjoy the view of the lake while sipping a coffee or cocktail.
At the Rocca di Angera, on Isola Bella and Isola Madre it is possible to organise private visits, offering an exclusive and unforgettable experience behind closed doors and accompanied by a guide, and so have one of these dream locations all to yourself until it is time for an aperitif.
For information on times and rates visit the website: www.isoleborromee.it/prenota-acquista/