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

     
    Charles Dickens
  • ISOLA BELLA
  • The Italian-style garden
  • Ten terraces bursting with a different colour at every flowering time
  • ISOLA BELLA
  • Palazzo Borromeo
  • A treasure chest of Baroque art suspended over the water
  • EXHIBITION | UNTIL 1st NOVEMBER, 2020 | ISOLA BELLA, PALAZZO BORROMEO
  • Vitaliano VI.
    The invention of Isola Bella
  • An exhibition dedicated to its founder

History

History

Isola Bella

It took almost four hundred years and the teamwork of hundreds of qualified architects, engineers, plasterers, painters and cabinetmakers, who in succession over the centuries have given rise to the extraordinary transformation of Isola bella from a rock lapped by the waters 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.

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

A treasure chest of Baroque art suspended over the water

A princely Baroque dwelling that has been continually transformed over the centuries, from the start of the building work in the mid-17th century at the wishes of Vitaliano VI to the creation of the Salone Nuovo [New Room] in the years of the post war period with Vitaliano X.

Sala del Trono
Throne Room

A fascinating itinerary between art and history accompanies you through its over 20 rooms, the most significant of which are the Sala del Trono [Throne Room], the Sala delle Regine [Queens’ Room], the Sala di Napoleone [Napoleon’s Room] -where the French general slept during his stay on the island – and the room with the splendid Flemish silk and gold tapestries. Then there are the truly unique Galleria Berthier and the grottoes.

For history lovers, a fundamental place to visit is the Sala della Musica [Music Room], where the Conference of Stresa was held in April 1935.

 

Marble, stucco, tapestries and paintings
Baroque at its most astonishing

 

The Galleria Berthier

The heart of Palazzo Borromeo, the Galleria Berthier is a mosaic of over 130 paintings including masterpieces, top-level artworks 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.

The Grottoes

Pebbles and fragments of tufa, stucco and marble decorate the six grottoes created at the wishes of Vitaliano VI Borromeo to amaze his guests and protect them from the summer heat. A unique and very striking project that seems to transport you 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 garden

What to see

The Italian-style garden

Ten terraces bursting with a different colour at every flowering time

Teatro Massimo
Teatro Massimo, Isola Bella

The Baroque Italian-style garden of Isola Bella is famous all over the world; it is a place where statues and architectural decorations are alternated with geometries and precious plants.

Acting as a screen is a large camphor tree that has welcomed visitors for two hundred years now. Obelisks and fountains take visitors by surprise around every corner as they walk along the avenues of the garden, where they can climb up to the grand terrace, the island’s true control station, from where they can admire Lago Maggiore stretching out before them and the enchantment of this treasure chest forged by man.

 

For decades the skilled hands of the gardeners have taken care of the botanical heritage, conserving its enchanted beauty against the ravages of time.

 

The sculptural structure originally called Teatro Massimo is the most important monument in the garden. Most of its statues are by Milanese sculptor Carlo Simonetta and date back to the decade between 1667 and 1677. At its high point, between the personifications of Art and Nature, looms the statue of the Unicorn, the heraldic symbol of the Borromeo family, being ridden by a cherub representing “Honour”, or, according to other versions, “Love”. On the lower floors, the statues symbolise the Verbano (Lago Maggiore), and, lower down, the Rivers Ticino and Po. On the sides of the exedras stand four obelisks with statues representing the primary elements: air, water, earth and fire. Facing the monument two rectangular parterres stretch before you, where white peacocks roam free.

On the opposite side of the Theatre, the garden of love is composed of boxwood hedges creating a green embroidery that is visible from the terraces above, accentuated by the four yew trees. Espaliers and large vases of citrus fruit complete the decorations in this area. If you stand with your back to the lake, you can admire the terraces with the statues of the four seasons.

Finally, the Serra Elisa, created in the early 19th century as a winter garden and today a micro environment that welcomes exotic plants and botanical rarities.

Since 2002 the gardens of Isola Bella, along with those of Isola Madre, have been part of the prestigious 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

EXHIBITION

Until 1st November, 2020

Curated by Alessandro Morandotti and Mauro Natale

Vitaliano VI

An exhibition dedicated to its founder

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.

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.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION +

Useful info

Useful info

Hours

The Palace and the Gardens of Isola Bella open every day until November 1st
from 9am to 5.30pm – last entry.
Closures: Palace 6pm | Gardens 6.15pm

 
 

Tickets

We recommend to purchase the tickets online in order to avoid queues at the ticket-office. In addition to entrance, it is possible to buy online transportation by motorboat from Stresa to the Borromean Islands (Isola Bella, Isola Madre, Isola Pescatori).

Tickets

Adults Single Youngs Single Adults Group Youngs Group Baby
Isola Bella (Palace and gardens) € 17 € 9 € 14 € 7.5 € 2.0
Isola Bella + Isola Madre € 24 € 10,5 € 20 € 10 -
Isola Bella + Rocca di Angera € 21 € 10,5 € 17 € 10 -
Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino € 21 € 10,5 € 17 € 10 € 3
Download the pdf table with all prices
Adults Single
Youngs Single
Adults Group
Youngs Group
Baby
Isola Bella (Palace and gardens)
€ 17
€ 9
€ 14
€ 7.5
€ 2.0
Isola Bella + Isola Madre
€ 24
€ 10,5
€ 20
€ 10
-
Isola Bella + Rocca di Angera
€ 21
€ 10,5
€ 17
€ 10
-
Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino
€ 21
€ 10,5
€ 17
€ 10
€ 3

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: www.safduemila.com.

 
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.

 
FROM DRY LAND TO THE ISLANDS
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.

In Piazza Marconi in Stresa there is an info point called “BorromeoExperience” with information materials, where you can also purchase and book entrance tickets, guided visits and all the additional services available from Borromeo (travel by motorboat, overnight stays, restaurants, mountain bike hire, etc).

Vademecum Covid

Vademecum Covid

• 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

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
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🌟
Sappiamo tornare bambini e meravigliarci delle piccole cose?
🌿
Visitare le Isole Borromee insieme ai più piccoli non è solo sensibilizzarli al rispetto e alla cura della natura ma anche imparare a guardarla con i loro occhi.
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Siete pronti?
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🌟
Is it possible to become children again and marvel at the little things?
🌿
Visiting the Borromean Islands with the little ones is not only a fantastic way to show them how to respect and care for nature, but it also allows them to learn by looking at it through their own eyes.
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Are you ready?

#terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #natureaddicted #viaggioinitalia #estateitaliana
📃 
Sin dagli albori della civiltà, bene e male sono i due principi fondamentali che governano l'esistenza umana: a ognuno la responsabilità di decidere da quale farsi guidare.
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Vitaliano VI ha scelto di spendere la propria vita nella creazione di un progetto che durasse nei secoli, della cui bellezza ne potessero godere tutti.
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In mostra a Palazzo Borromeo "Vitaliano VI. L'invenzione dell'Isola Bella", fino al 1° novembre.
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Since the dawn of civilization, good and evil have been the two fundamental principles that govern human existence. We are all responsible for deciding which one to be guided by.
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Vitaliano VI chose to spend his life creating a project that would last throughout the centuries, so that it’s beauty could be enjoyed by all.
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"Vitaliano VI: The Invention of Isola Bella", on display at Palazzo Borromeo until November 1st.

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte #estateitaliana #viaggioinitalia
Non solo mare.
@donatellabianchiofficial è venuta sul Lago Maggiore per scoprire le meraviglie che si affacciano sul blu del Verbano.
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Oggi alle ore 14 su Rai Uno, Linea Blu vi farà viaggiare anche sull'Isola Madre e sull'Isola Bella.

#terreborromeo #borromeoexperience #isolamadre #isolabella #lagomaggiore #lakemaggiore #estateitaliana #viaggioinitalia
Avete trascorso una giornata sul Lago Maggiore e vorreste poter rimanere ancora qualche ora in questa cornice?

Salite al Mottarone e godetevi il panorama da un'altra prospettiva.

Ogni sabato di settembre il ristorante @rifugiogenziana propone menù dedicati per la cena.

#BorromeoExperience
#parcodelmottarone
#aspettandolautunno
#rifugiogenziana
#dinner
Siamo molto felici di annunciarvi che la mostra “Fantastic Utopias" ospitata all'Ala Scaligera della Rocca di Angera rimarrà aperta fino al 1° novembre 2020.

Un appuntamento da aggiungere al calendario per un fuori porta autunnale dedicato all'arte contemporanea.

Grazie a @galleriacontinua  e @ila.bonacossa per questa stimolante collaborazione.

#BorromeoExperience
#RoccadiAngera
#FantasticUtopias
#contemporaryart
Alla mostra “Fantastic Utopias” all’Ala Scaligera della Rocca di Angera c’è spazio per ogni forma d’arte. L’artista ucraina Zhanna Kadyrova porta con sé la sua esperienza tra video e fotografia, scultura, performance e installazione.
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Nell’opera Second Hand assistiamo ad un inconsueto accostamento: piastrelle di edifici in decadimento o distrutti diventano capi d’abbigliamento e biancheria. Un’installazione che racconta con parole differenti la storia della fabbrica di seta Darnitsky Silk Factory, un tempo una delle più importanti in URSS.
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L’artista gioca con diverse forme e materiali, alla ricerca di nuovi significati. Eppure, la materia rimane ciò che dà forma e completa, prima di ogni cosa viene sempre l’idea. 
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In collaborazione con @galleriacontinua
Main sponsor: @aon_italia
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In the "Fantastic Utopias" exhibition at the Ala Scaligera of the Rocca di Angera there is room for every art form. Ukrainian artist Zhanna Kadyrova expresses her experience through video, photography, sculpture, performance and installation. 
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In the work "Second Hand", work we see an unusual combination: tiles from decaying or destroyed buildings become clothing and linens. An installation that tells the story of the Darnitsky Silk Factory, once one of the most important in the USSR, with different words.
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The artist plays with a variety of shapes and materials, in search of new meanings. Although physical matter remains, gives shape and completes, the idea always comes first.

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #roccadiangera #art #artlovers #stresa #viaggioinitalia #estateitaliana
Ciò che ci ha lasciato Vitaliano VI Borromeo non è solo la realizzazione di un progetto visionario, ma anche la testimonianza di riflessioni continue.
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Un impegno tenace, la consapevolezza dei propri valori e dell’importanza di usare il tempo come spazio di crescita non solo di un progetto ma delle proprie virtù.
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La mostra "Vitaliano VI. L'invenzione dell'Isola bella", fino al 1° novembre.
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Main sponsor: @aon_italia
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What Vitaliano VI Borromeo left us is not only the realization of a visionary project, but also the testimony of continuous reflections.
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A tenacious commitment, awareness of one's values and the importance of using time as a space for growth, not only of a project but of one's virtues.
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The exhibition "Vitaliano VI: The Invention of the Isola Bella", until November 1st.

#artlovers #terreborromeo #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #baroccopiemonte
🌱 
Avete mai fatto caso che alcuni dei profumi più intensi in natura provengono da fiori bianchi? Non solo gardenie, ma anche gelsomini, tuberose, zagare...
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La perfezione della natura gli permette di attirare gli insetti impollinatori anche senza una sgargiante palette di colori, solo con il loro inconfondibile profumo caldo e avvolgente.
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D'estate l'essenza delle gardenie in fiore nell’atrio di Diana trasforma la visita ai giardini dell’Isola Bella in un'esperienza che coinvolge tutti i sensi.
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Have you ever noticed that some of the most intense perfumes in nature come from white flowers? Not only gardenias, but also jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom...
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The perfection of nature allows them to attract pollinating insects without a bright color palette: using only their unmistakably warm and enveloping scent.
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In summer, the essence of the gardenias in bloom in Diana's atrium transforms a visit to the gardens of Isola Bella into an experience that involves all the senses.

#terreborromeo #stresa #isolabella #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #natureaddicted #estateitaliana #viaggioinitalia