Isole Borromee Isole Borromee
The visit is included in the entrance ticket to Palazzo Borromeo.

4 May 2020 - 1 November 2020

Vitaliano VI

The invention of Isola Bella

Curated by Alessandro Morandotti and Mauro Natale

400 years from the birth of Vitaliano VI and in the year of Piedmontese Baroque, this exhibition looks back over his life, and above all his work – the vessel that emerges from the waters of Lago Maggiore – still a source of admiration and amazement today to visitors from all over the world.

 
Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-AON-Main-Sponsor

“L’isola è dama mia”

 

Staged in the grand hall completed by his descendant of the same name Vitaliano IX in 1956, in its first section the exhibition looks back over the main phases in the life of Vitaliano VI, the real author of the renewed good fortune of the family in the second half of the 17th century, through painted portraits, sculptures, medals and documents – including also the project of the Palace and the Gardens of Isola Bella – some never exhibited to the public previously.

The Baroque style in north-western Italy is the core of this exhibition, which can still be seen to a large extent in most of the rooms, where the original decoration is still present.
Stones, marbles and alabasters, paintings with countryside landscapes and perspectives, frames decorated with rock crystals, agates and lapis lazuli. In the Garden, stone architectures covered in mosaics, statues, fountains that, together with the hedges, create genuine theatres in the greenery.

Family strategies

The story of the exhibition is presented in the huge hall that for a long time was at the centre of lengthy debates between patron Vitaliano VI Borromeo and architects Andrea Biffi, Filippo Cagnola and Carlo Fontana.

 
For the first time, on the occasion of the exhibition, a large wooden model is presented of this space.

The first section of the exhibition is devoted to the family’s strategies: from the mid-17th century, Isola Bella was the spectacular theatre of the international consecration of the heirs of San Carlo and Federico Borromeo. Vitaliano VI and Giberto III, a cardinal in Rome, wove a precious network of alliances between Madrid, Vienna and Rome, and that family of ancient feudal nobility was projected into more expansive settings, beyond the confines of the so-called ‘Borromeo State’, as historians have defined the territory of Lago Maggiore that was controlled by the family from the 15th century.

An episode that was emblematic of this new expansion was the marriage of their nephew and advocate Carlo IV to the niece of Pope Odescalchi, Innocent XI, in 1677. A grand naval festival was organised to celebrate this wedding in the deep waters around the island, and the plans and graphic recreations of the event can be viewed in this exhibition.

Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-Busto
Busto di Vitaliano VI Borromeo, Carlo Simonetta
Isola-Bella-Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-Medaglia
Una delle medaglie di Giuseppe Vismara

In this section we also find the marble bust of Vitaliano VI Borromeo and his portrait painted by an unknown artist. The bust, a work by Carlo Simonetta, is the only sculptural representation of Vitaliano VI to be created when the count was alive.

The painting, on the other hand, is a courtly portrait that underlines the virtues of grandeur, dignity and magnificence that were so typical of the Borromeos. It is thought that the painting was executed by Pier Francesco Cittadini, who was called upon on a number of occasions to visit the Borromeo house to paint family members. This first section is completed with the portrait of Vitaliano VI by Salomon Adler and with the medals created by Giuseppe Vismara (the signed ones number as many as 65) illustrating the civil, political, military and artistic life of the dukedom through the metal effigies of its protagonists, including that devoted to Vitaliano VI in 1688.

History about a grand project

It was a project that was already dear to Carlo III, father of Vitaliano VI, who imagined that rocky “cliff” being the transformed into a terraced garden.

 

A design from the years 1660-1665 acquaints us with the entire island surrounded by the lake before the significant interventions promoted by Vitaliano VI substantially modified its appearance. The relief is from slightly before the first important project for the Palazzo in plan form, which was by architect Andrea Biffi (circa 1665), who made his indelible mark on the realisation of the great construction, also orienting the choices of the architects who followed him.

From that moment the island changed and took shape, thanks to a constant project planning described as a very highly structured palimpsest that has slowly developed over time, both gardens and Palazzo, outdoors and indoors. The design of the grottos is particularly fascinating: the ambitious idea for the “grotto-esque” apartment was conceived by Vitaliano VI Borromeo starting in 1662, imagining the creation of “rooms for the summer with the appearance of grottos”, which prompted amazement in the visiting guests of the time.

Isola-Bella-Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-Grotte
Progetto delle grotte, Filippo Cagnola, 1698-1690

The large design by Carlo Fontana representing Isola Bella from the gardens side is from 1686. Composed of 24 cards of various sizes glued onto canvas, the project enables an amazing panoramic view to be created, emphasising the length of the island.

Isola-lato-dei-giardini_architetto-Carlo-Fontana
Il progetto dell’Isola Bella, Carlo Fontana

What clearly emerges from this section, and when seeing the exhibition in general, is that the work certainly was not concluded with the death of Vitaliano VI in 1690. Already before his decease, the island was an obligatory stage of the Grand Tour and the Vedutisti – even famous members such as Van Wittel – celebrated it as an enchanting place, in noble competition with the perspective design by Carlo Fontana, which, midway between reality and fantasy, was to be a seminal work in Europe.

The interiors of Palazzo Borromeo

The Baroque layout design that was so desired by Count Vitaliano VI Borromeo is original and unique, with its furnishings, sculptures, paintings, stuccos, coloured and gilded wooden carvings and cabinetmaking.

The project was curated by architects Andrea Biffi and Filippo Cagnola, the stylistic continuity between whom is evident, as we can deduced from the designs on display. The rooms are embellished by hundreds of works with gold- and turquoise-painted frames, marble busts and alabaster vases, marked by the presence of imitation ebony painted wooden cabinets, enriched with flower-decorated slates, which are also dotted around the walls.

Sala-della-musica-con-i-quadri-del-Cavalier-Tempesta_Massimo-Listri
Sala della Musica, Palazzo Borromeo
Sala-delle-due-Alcove-o-della-Regina_Massimo-Listri
Sala delle due Alcove o della Regina, Palazzo Borromeo

Vitaliano VI and his designers played continually with the contrast and the similarity between the interior of the building and the exterior of the terraced gardens and views across the lake: natural and artificial wonders were constantly placed in contrast with each other.

In the project for the Palazzo, the Count had envisaged a central gallery (to house paintings that were particularly dear to him) with an annexed alcove, a solution that was not unusual for a building in the Baroque age. This is evidenced with drawings, perspective views, worksite records and photographs with hypotheses of construction and decorative solutions.

It is interesting to make a comparison with the current layout of the building, which enables us to observe how some of the rooms (the Medal Room, the Throne Room and the Room of the Two Alcoves) still retain their original appearance today.

Among the artworks on display, the works by specialists in the new painting genres stand out: still lifes of flowers, landscapes and architectural perspectives. Among all these, it is worth dwelling in front of the self-portrait by painter Pieter Mulier (1637-1701), nicknamed Il Cavalier Tempesta, and his wife Anna Eleonora Beltrami. It embodies a very special story of patronage, in which Mulier was welcomed by Vitaliano after long years of imprisonment in Genoa, enjoying his protection. To express his gratitude, Tempesta donated a conspicuous number of works with variations of his different specialities in the field of landscape and the harbour in stormy weather (hence his nickname: Tempesta), making him the most important landscapist to be documented on the island since the years of Vitaliano VI.

The Salone Nuovo

The Salone Nuovo [New Hall] of the Island, which is also the space that hosts the exhibition.

 
The Salone was the object of a lengthy planning process: between 1686 and 1688 the architects Andrea Biffi, Filippo Cagnola and Carlo Fontana attempted to interpret the ambitions of Count Vitaliano VI Borromeo, who imagined an environment with a dome, inspired by the plan of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Milan, one of the oldest churches in the city.

The grand ideas and proposals set down on paper in a series of valuable drawings are on display here for the first time in a systematic way. The initial idea of building a Hall of Honour dates back to 1662, but the work on the construction of this wing of the building begin several years afterwards, following a planning phase that lasted a number of years. In 1690 the death of Vitaliano VI led to a stopping of the work, which had only been conducted on the perimeter walls, as can be observed from the photographs on display.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries the Borromeos attempted to bring the work to a conclusion; in the 20th century the environment acquired its definitive form, implemented by Vitaliano X, who created the Salone and its Baroque-style decorations between 1948 and 1960.

Palazzo-Borromeo-Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-interno-salone-nel-1948
Interno del Salone Nuovo di Palazzo Borromeo, 1948
Palazzo-Borromeo-Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-esterno-salone-nel-1948
Esterno del Salone Nuovo di Palazzo Borromeo, 1948

The evolution of the project leading up to its current structure is recounted through a significant number of sketches and studies of details and decorations,.

A spectacular wooden model of the central hall of Palazzo Borromeo can also be admired in the exhibition; this was created between 1780 and 1781 by carpenter Giuseppe Antonio Oltolina from a project by Cosimo Morelli, an architect from Imola. The model, completely original, has been studied and restored and is presented to the public for the first time on this occasion. Its fir wood structure is covered in walnut for all the decorative details, both inside and outside.

salone-Nuovo-Palazzo-Borromeo
Sala Nuovo, Palazzo Borromeo

Useful info

The visit is included in the entrance ticket to Palazzo Borromeo.

The exhibition is part of the project “L’essenziale è Barocco” [The essential is Baroque] promoted by Regione Piemonte.
For more information www.visitpiemonte.com.

 
Mostra-Vitaliano-VI-AON-Main-Sponsor

ISOLA BELLA
The offer of Terre Borromeo

Tour operator & agencies

All useful information for operators: location rental, exclusive experiences, download useful materials and documents.

Events & Weddings

Its multi-faceted spirit and aristocrat allure make this fortress the perfect setting for a special day.

Educational offer

The educational proposal for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools extended to all locations in the Terre Borromeo.

Terre Borromeo

A story of love, protection and respect that has lasted for six centuries.

Who we are

Helpful Tips

Hours

  • Isola Bella

  • Isola Madre

  • ROCCA DI ANGERA

  • PARCO PALLAVICINO

Buy and Book
  • Buy tickets, guided tours and much more safely and quickly directly online.

How to get

  • Terre Borromeo is easily accessible! They are only an hour and a half from Milan and easily reachable from the main airports. Find out how to reach them by car, train and how to book the ferry that will take you to the islands.
Terre Borromeo Maps
Our Partners
Great Gardens of the World
Instagram Feed
Agli angoli di una delle sale dell'Ala Scaligera q Agli angoli di una delle sale dell'Ala Scaligera quattro grandi specchi si riflettono uno nell'altro, in un gioco di rimandi infinito.
.
"Two Less One" e "Two Less One Black" sono il risultato della performance dell’artista che le ha plasmate con un colpo di martello dopo l’altro, Michelangelo Pistoletto. 
.
Quando guardiamo dentro uno specchio, cosa vediamo davvero?
Liquidità, fluidità e lo scorrere del tempo sono per l’artista gli elementi predominanti. 
.
In questi quadri specchianti vita e arte si mescolano, si contemplano fino a confonderci le idee. Un'opera che ci spinge a cambiare continuamente prospettiva di indagine. 
.
"Fantastic Utopias", in mostra alla Rocca di Angera fino al 27 settembre.
.
In collaborazione con @galleriacontinua
Main sponsor: @aon_italia
.
.
.
At the corners of one of the rooms of the Ala Scaligera, four large mirrors are reflected in each other, in a game of infinite references.
.
"Two Less One" and "Two Less One Black" are the result of the performance of the artist who shaped them, Michelangelo Pistoletto, with one hammer blow after another.
.
When we look into a mirror, what do we really see?
Liquidity, fluidity and the passage of time are the predominant concepts of the artist.
.
In these mirror paintings, life and art mix, contemplating each other to the point of confusion. A work that pushes us to continuously rethink our perspective of investigation.
.
"Fantastic Utopias", on display at the Rocca di Angera until September 27th.

#artlovers #art #roccadiangera #terreborromeo #stresa #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience
"In un bacio, saprai tutto ciò che è stato taciu "In un bacio, saprai tutto ciò che è stato taciuto."
Pablo Neruda
.
L'Isola Bella è spesso complice di baci romantici, una cornice speciale per i vostri momenti indimenticabili.
.
Buona Giornata Internazionale del Bacio.
.
.
.
"In a kiss you will know all that has been kept silent."
Pablo Neruda
.
Isola Bella is often the setting of romantic kisses, a special place to experience unforgettable moments.
.
Happy International Kissing Day.

#terreborromeo #stresa #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #worldkissday #viaggioinitalia
Che cos’è la bellezza? . Un luogo fantastico, u Che cos’è la bellezza?
.
Un luogo fantastico, una sensazione intatta, una meravigliosa visione: in qualsiasi forma si presenti, non possiamo fare a meno della bellezza. 
.
Così è stato per Vitaliano VI quando immaginava l'invenzione dell’Isola Bella. Ripercorriamo passo dopo passo le idee, i progetti e le testimonianze grazie alla mostra “Vitaliano VI. L’invenzione dell’Isola Bella".
.
A Palazzo Borromeo fino al 1° novembre 2020.
.
.
.
What is beauty?
.
An unforgettable place, an incredible sensation, a breathtaking vision: in whatever way we experience it, we cannot live without beauty.
.
This is how it was for Vitaliano VI when he imagined the creation of Isola Bella. We retrace his ideas, projects and testimonies step by step in the exhibition “Vitaliano VI: The Invention of the Isola Bella”.
.
At Palazzo Borromeo until the 1st of November.

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte
✨ Ecco come nasce un mito. . Nella mostra “Vit ✨
Ecco come nasce un mito.
.
Nella mostra “Vitaliano VI. L’invenzione dell’Isola Bella” a Palazzo Borromeo si racconta il grandioso progetto di Vitaliano VI, l'inventore di questo luogo magico.
.
Quattro sezioni in cui dipinti, disegni, sculture, arredi e medaglie, oggetti solitamente non esposti al pubblico, testimoniano la creazione di un ideale di bellezza senza eguali che ancora oggi desta  la meraviglia negli occhi più curiosi.
.
Main sponsor: @aon_italia
.
@artribune
.
✨
Have you ever wondered how a myth is born?
.
In the exhibition “Vitaliano VI: The Invention of the Isola Bella” at Palazzo Borromeo, the story of the creator of this magical place, Vitaliano VI, is told.
.
Here you can explore four areas featuring a variety of paintings, drawings, sculptures, furnishings and medals. These objects are not usually on display to the public and they are living proof of an ideal of unparalleled beauty that, even today, has the power to spark wonder in the most curious of eyes.

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte
🌵 Quest’anno più che mai ci siamo resi conto 🌵
Quest’anno più che mai ci siamo resi conto di quanto il nostro Paese sia straordinario e di come non serva andare lontano per immergersi nella bellezza di arte e natura.
✨
All’Isola Madre è iniziata la stagione della fioritura delle succulente.
Addossate agli scogli dell’isola, aloe, cactus e fichi d’india hanno trovato qui il loro angolo perfetto, dove fioriscono e incantano con la loro singolare bellezza.
🌵
Dalle barca la visuale è perfetta.
Qui la natura si fa scoprire nella sua straordinaria varietà.
.
.
.
🌵
This year, more than ever, we found ourselves considering how extraordinary our country is and how you don't need to go far to immerse yourself in the beauty of art and nature.
✨
The succulents flowering season has come to the Isola Madre.
Leaning on the island's rocks, aloe, cactus and prickly pears have found here their perfect corner, where they bloom and charm with their singular beauty.
🌵
From the boat, the view is perfect.
Here nature reveals its extraordinary variety. 
#terreborromeo #isolamadre #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #natureaddicted
La felicità è da sempre al centro dei desideri d La felicità è da sempre al centro dei desideri dell’uomo.
A volte coincide con la gioia di costruire e di realizzare i propri sogni, con l’avere qualcosa a cui appassionarsi e in cui sperare.
.
Vitaliano VI ha realizzato un grandioso progetto e le sue opere ci parlano ancora oggi, dopo quattrocento anni.
.
Vi sveliamo la sua storia alla mostra “Vitaliano VI. L’invenzione dell’Isola Bella” a Palazzo Borromeo.
. 
Main sponsor: @aon_italia
.
.
.
Happiness has always been at the center of humankind's desires.
Sometimes it corresponds to the joy of building and realizing one's dreams, having something to be passionate about and to hope for.
.
Vitaliano VI realized a grandiose project and his works still talk to us today, after four hundred years.
.
We reveal his history at the exhibition “Vitaliano VI. The invention of the Isola Bella" at Palazzo Borromeo.

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte
🖼 Tra le collezioni di capolavori di Palazzo Bo 🖼 Tra le collezioni di capolavori di Palazzo Borromeo quest'opera ci racconta di un'inconsueta merenda realmente accaduta, proprio oggi nel 1712.
.
Carlo IV Borromeo (1657-1734) erede carismatico del fondatore dell’Isola Bella, Vitaliano VI, fu vicerè di Napoli per nomina dell’imperatore Giuseppe I d’Asburgo.
.
Nel golfo della città, a bordo della Galera “San Carlo”, ricevette insieme alla sua famiglia ministri e signori del tempo. Per l’occasione venne organizzata una sontuosissima merenda.
.
Piatti d’argento con frutta candita, confetti bianchi di nocciole, pistacchi e mandorle, centinaia di cioccolatini, biscotti di ogni genere e piramidi di sorbetti sono stati serviti per questo ricevimento fastoso.
Un momento che andava immortalato su tela, non trovate?

Giovanni Garri (Napoli? - post 1745), Merenda di Carlo IV Borromeo Arese nel golfo di Napoli del 18 Giugno 1712 (dettaglio).
.
.
.
🖼 
Among the collections of masterpieces of Palazzo Borromeo, this work tells us of some unusual refreshments that were really enjoyed on this very day in 1712.
.
Carlo IV Borromeo (1657-1734), the charismatic heir to the founder of Isola Bella, Vitaliano VI, was Viceroy of Naples by appointment of the Emperor Joseph I of Habsburg.
.
In the Gulf of the city, aboard the galley San Carlo, he welcomed various ministers and gentlemen with his family. For the occasion, a grandiose refreshment had been organized.
. 
Silver dishes with candied fruit, white hazelnut candies, pistachios and almonds, hundreds of chocolates, biscuits of all kinds and sorbet pyramids were served for this magnificent receiving. 
A moment that had to be eternalized on canvas, don't you think?
. 
Giovanni Garri (Naples? – after 1745), Refreshments of Carlo IV Borromeo Arese in the Gulf of Naples on 18 June 1712 (detail).
. 
#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience
✨ Le meraviglie della natura e le opere dell'uom ✨
Le meraviglie della natura e le opere dell'uomo in un dialogo continuo.
.
Sale impreziosite da centinaia di opere con cornici dipinte a oro e turchino, busti in marmo, vasi in alabastro, lastre di ardesia decorate a fiori che punteggiano anche le pareti.
.
La mostra “Vitaliano VI. L’invenzione dell’Isola Bella” ci porta direttamente dentro Palazzo Borromeo, dove Vitaliano VI, insieme agli architetti Biffi e Cagnola, ha realizzato un esempio irripetibile di Barocco.
.
Giocando con il contrasto e la similitudine fra l’interno del palazzo e l’esterno di giardini a terrazze, ci hanno regalato un gioiello tutt’ora unico al mondo.
. 
Vi aspettiamo a scoprirlo!
.
Main sponsor: @aon_italia
.
.
✨
The wonders of nature and the works of man in a continuous dialogue.
.
Rooms made precious with hundreds of works painted in gold and deep blue, marble busts, alabaster vases, slate plates decorated with flowers, which also dot the walls.
.
The exhibition "Vitaliano VI. The invention of the Isola Bella" brings us directly into the Borromeo Palace, where Vitaliano VI, in collaboration with the architects Biffi and Cagnola, realized an unrepeatable example of the Baroque.
. 
Playing with contrast and similitudes between the interior of the palace and the exterior made of terraced gardens, they gave us a jewel still unique in the world.
.
Come and discover it!

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte
🌈 Una leggenda narra che quando l'arcobaleno de 🌈
Una leggenda narra che quando l'arcobaleno della dea Iris dall'Olimpo toccava terra con un messaggio per gli uomini, un fiore di iris spuntava nel terreno.
🌱
Da pochi giorni gli iris hanno cominciato a dipingere il Giardino dei Principi alla Rocca di Angera. 🌈
Uno scenario da non perdere e nuove buone notizie da ricevere!
.
.
. 🌈
Legend has it that when the rainbow of the goddess Iris of Olympus touched the earth with a message for mankind, an iris flower sprouted from the ground.
🌱
A few days ago, irises began to paint the Garden of the Princes at Rocca di Angera.
🌈
Some good news to enjoy and a sight not to be missed!

#terreborromeo #roccadiangera #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #natureaddicted