Isole Borromee Isole Borromee
  • Isola Bella
  • For however fanciful and fantastic the Isola Bella may be, and is,
    it still is beautiful

    Charles Dickens
  • The Italian-style baroque garden
  • Statues and architectural decorations are alternated with geometries and precious plants
  • Palazzo Borromeo
  • The Baroque at its most astonishing
  • Opening - 1 November 2021 | ISOLA BELLA, PALAZZO BORROMEO
  • Vitaliano VI.
    The invention of Isola Bella
  • An exhibition dedicated to its founder



Isola Bella

It took almost four hundred years and the teamwork of hundreds of architects, engineers, plasterers, painters and cabinetmakers, who have given rise to the extraordinary transformation of Isola bella from a rock of the lake into a place of delights.

Isola Bella
Isola Bella, cerchia di Antonio Joli (Modena, 1700 - Napoli, 1777), 1756-1760 (?), oil on canvas

Until 1630 Isola Bella was a rock inhabited by fishermen, with two small churches and a few vegetable gardens. The Borromeos, who had already been owners of Isola Madre since 1501, from the first two decades of the 17th century with Giulio Caesar III and Carlo III focused their interest on the island, launching the grandiose project that was to lead to the creation of the palazzo and the garden.

This aim was to be carried forward, extended and defined by Vitaliano VI, who is to all intents and purposes considered the founder of Isola Bella. The work that resulted in the current layout continued without interruption throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, arriving at 1948, when, with Vitaliano IX Borromeo, the Salone Nuovo, the northern façade and the great pier were built.

An exhibition dedicated to its founder Vitaliano VI will be hosted in 2021.

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

The Baroque at its most astonishing


Galleria Berthier
Galleria Berthier

A fascinating itinerary between art and history accompanies you through its over 20 rooms.
Heart of Palazzo Borromeo, the Galleria Berthier is a mosaic of over 130 paintings including masterpieces and, following a practise that is recurrent in other noble collections of the period, a number of copies of the great masters of the past of the calibre of Raphael, Correggio, Titian and Guido Reni.

Unique settings are the Sala del Trono [Throne Room], the Sala delle Regine [Queens’ Room], the Salone degli Arazzi [Tapestry Hall] and the Grotte [Caves], born to amaze guests by transporting them into a magical marine world.


Sofonisba, Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli
Sofonisba, Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli (detto il Giampietrino),
c. 1521/22, oil on panel
grotte Palazzo Borromeo
The Palazzo Borromeo's Grottoes, Isola Bella

What to see

The Italian-style baroque garden

What to see

The Italian-style baroque garden

Ten terraces bursting with a different colour at every flowering time

Teatro Massimo
Teatro Massimo, Isola Bella

The Teatro Massimo is the most important monument in the garden of Isola Bella. Statues, obelisks and fountains are perfectly integrated together with the vegetation of the ten scenic terraces, at the top of which rises the statue of the Unicorn, the heraldic symbol of the Borromeo family.

All around the Theatre is a glorious display of rare flowers and plants: the centuries-old camphor tree, Gunnera manicata, known as the giant rhubarb – the leaves of which can reach two metres in diameter -, the perfumed sweet Osmanthus, the extremely rare Halesia diptera with its flowers that seem like snowflakes, the star anise and the Mexican pine.

During its blossoming period the Parterre of Azaleas is enchanting, and the Garden of Love is a joy for the eyes, composed of boxwood hedges creating green embroidery that is visible from the height of the terraces. Camellias, espaliers of roses in May, oleanders in June and citrus trees and panicled hydrangeas at the height of summer all enliven the Italian-style garden of Isola Bella, where white peacocks roam freely.

Since 2002 the gardens of Isola Bella, together with those of Isola Madre, have belonged to the prestigious circuit of the British Royal Horticultural Society.


The Italian-style baroque garden, Isola Bella
The Italian-style baroque garden

What to see

Vitaliano VI. The invention of Isola Bella

What to see

Vitaliano VI. The invention of Isola Bella


Opening – 1 November, 2021

Curated by Alessandro Morandotti and Mauro Natale

Vitaliano VI

An exhibition dedicated to its founder

The exhibition “Vitaliano VI. The invention of Isola Bella” 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.

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.


Useful info

Useful info

Season 2021

The opening of the Terre Borromeo museum sites will be defined on the basis of the updates relating to the COVID emergency.
We therefore recommend that you consult the homepage or contact the call centre + 39 0323.933478 to receive up-to-date information.


Adults Single Youngs Single Adults Group Youngs Group Baby
Isola Bella (Palace and gardens) € 18 € 11 € 16 € 9 -
Isola Bella + Isola Madre € 25 € 13 € 22 € 11 -
Isola Bella + Rocca di Angera € 22 € 13 € 20 € 12 -
Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino € 22 € 13 € 20 € 12 -
Download the pdf table with all prices
Adults Single
Youngs Single
Adults Group
Youngs Group
Isola Bella (Palace and gardens)
€ 18
€ 11
€ 16
€ 9
Isola Bella + Isola Madre
€ 25
€ 13
€ 22
€ 11
Isola Bella + Rocca di Angera
€ 22
€ 13
€ 20
€ 12
Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino
€ 22
€ 13
€ 20
€ 12

How to get there

By car
From the Autostrada dei Laghi motorway in the direction of Gravellona Toce, Carpugnino exit, following the signs for Stresa.
It is possible to park in Piazza Marconi in Stresa and from here you can take one of the boats to reach the Isole Borromee.
Alternatively, you can leave your car in the square in Carciano opposite the dock.

By train
Ferrovie dello Stato railway, Milan-Sempione line, Stresa stop. The station is around 850 m from Piazza Marconi.
With Ferrovie Nord railway, Milan-Laveno line, Laveno stop.

By bus
VB Arona Milan line: departure from Milan Lampugnano, stop B5.
Or Verbania–Stresa–Malpensa, which requires advance booking.
For info:

By plane
Distance from the principal airports: Turin Caselle 140 km – Milan Malpensa 50 km – Milan Linate 110 km – Bergamo Orio Al Serio 130 km.

By ferry
The boats depart from the main locations on the lake.
For further information: Navigazione Lago Maggiore – scheduled passenger service. Also available is a non-scheduled passenger service by motorboat.

Vademecum Covid

Vademecum Covid

• Beginning Friday 6 August 2021 access to the Terre Borromeo museum it is necessary to present a Green COVID-19 Certification (Green Pass or equivalent certificate) or a negative test. Minors up to 12 years of age and individuals with specific medical certification are excluded from the obligation.

• You are advised to arrive at the locations with a ticket already purchased online via the platform booking.isoleborromee

• In compliance with the safety rules, access to the sites may be limited.

• It is not possible to enter the sites if you have a high temperature (over 37.5°) or other symptoms of influenza and where hazardous conditions exist, such as coming from risk areas or in close contact with persons testing positively for the virus in the last 14 days or coming from abroad in the last 14 days.

• Access is only permitted if you are wearing a mask.

• You are advised to wash your hands frequently; hand sanitising gel dispensers are located at various points inside the sites.

• Always keep a distance of more than one meter from the other visitors and from the sites personnel.

• Luggage storage is not available.

• Inside the Parco Pallavicino, touching the cages, the enclosures and/or the facilities present inside the Park is prohibited. You are also advised not to touch the animals.

We thank you for respecting all the indications on the signs and given by the supervisory personnel.

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


  • Isola Bella

  • Isola Madre



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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.
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Finalmente weekend! È tempo di rilassarsi con un'esplosione cromatica che colora le giornate di settembre.
Scoprite tutte le sfumature delle Isole Borromee sfogliando l'ultimo numero di @iodonna_it, in edicola oggi con il @corriere della Sera.
Un'esperienza da vivere fino al 1° novembre!
Grazie a @gianna_testa e @susy_mezzanotte_photog
Finally weekend! It's time to relax with a chromatic explosion that colors September days.
Discover the vibrant shades of Isole Borromee on the latest issue of IO DONNA, on newsstands today with Corriere della Sera.
An experience to live until November 1st!
Thanks to Gianna Testa and Susy Mezzanotte.

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