Isole Borromee Isole Borromee
Entrances
  • Isola Madre
  • The most voluptuous place I’ve seen in the world
     
    Gustave Flaubert
  • ISOLA MADRE
  • Palazzo Borromeo
  • A heritage that presents
    a unique cultural insight
  • ISOLA MADRE
  • The English-style garden
  • A unique botanical collection

History

History

Isola Madre

Already emerged in the glacial era, a document dated 22 September 846 testifies the presence on the island – then named Isola of Saint Vittore – of a few houses, a small church dedicated to the saint and some olive trees for the production of oil for the liturgies.

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

During the medieval age, the Island of San Vittore belonged to various owners (abbots and bishops). A document dated 1501 ratified the passage of ownership from the bishop of Novara to the noble Lancillotto Borromeo.

Through marriage, the Island of San Vittore was transferred in 1520 to the Trivulzio family, and it was only in 1563 that Renato Borromeo regained possession of the property, to which he gave the name Isola Renata.
New impetus was given to the construction of the Palazzo by calling on Pellegrino Pellegrini, known as Il Tibaldi, a key figure in Lombard culture and the trusted architect of Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan. The late 16th-century appearance of the Palace that we still see today dates back to this period. The gardens progressed significantly thanks to architect Filippo Cagnola, who in 1710 immortalised staircases, pergolas and vases with great precision.

At the end of the 18th century Isola Madre had taken on the appearance that is substantially conserved today, and it began to be considered a place of peace and repose thanks to its mild climate and luxuriant nature. At the beginning of the 19th century, the garden was transformed into a romantic garden, according to the taste of the time. Almost all the terraces of the island disappeared, giving way to perspective views framed by tall trees. Cultivations also change and rare and exotic plants were introduced, collected by Vitaliano IX, a botany enthusiast.

Subsequently the greenhouses (1826) and the family chapel were built starting from 1858 by architect Defendente Vannini.

In the early 20th century came the idea first of transforming Isola Madre into a hotel, and then of renting it out privately to a very select clientele. But it was Giberto and Bona Borromeo Arese who defined the future of Isola Madre between the 1960s and 1980s: the Palazzo (sumptuously furnished with furniture and works of art coming from Villa Borromeo Arese in Cesano Maderno) and the vast gardens were made available definitively for the enjoyment of the public since 1978.

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

What to see

Palazzo Borromeo

In the Palazzo on Isola Madre the choice has been made to give precedence to the private dimension of the family

The style is elegantly sober: a succession of loggias and rooms, furnished with tapestries, furniture items and paintings coming from various historic dwellings owned by the Borromeo dynasty in Lombardy.

Palazzo Borromeo Interno
Palazzo Borromeo, internal

Among the most important rooms: the Salone di Ricevimento [Reception Room], the Sala delle Stagioni [Seasons Room], the Salotto Veneziano [Venetian Lounge], the Library, the Sala delle Battaglie [Battles Room] and the Sala dei Papi [Popes’ Room].

Porcelains and liveries, family paintings and canopy beds decorated with sumptuous brocade compose a fascinating fresco of courtly life. Everywhere, from the loggias or from the large windows, it is possible to enjoy charming views of the lake and the botanical park.

Palazzo Borromeo Isola Bella Interno
Cipresso del Cashmir
Palazzo Borromeo Isola Bella Interno

The marionette theatre

Stage sets, designs, marionettes, entire scripts, musical scores, payment receipts: a genuine home puppet theatre where the Borromeo family entertained their guests. From the mid-17th century onwards the performances involved members of the family, friends and the servants themselves. The collection exhibited is among the most extensive and best conserved in the world. The creator of the sets and backdrops was Alessandro Sanquirico, scenographer of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, who worked for the Borromeos in around 1830. Together with the marionettes, also on display are various mechanical devices that were used to create fog, fire and stage noises: the special effects of over two centuries ago.

The Venetian Lounge

When you enter the Venetian Lounge, positioned at the sunniest point of the building, it will seem like being under a pergola supported by columns interwoven with plants and flowers.
Mirrors, Murano chandeliers and furnishings recall the taste of the Serenissima.
A perfect, sophisticated trompe l’œil enchants visitors.

What to see

The English-style garden

What to see

The English-style garden

With its eight hectares of expanse, it is the largest of the Isole Borromee.

The botanical heritage and the strong exotic impression have made it what Gustave Flaubert called “the most voluptuous place I’ve seen in the world”.
The current English-style botanical park was created in the early 19th century and since then it has been the abode for plants and flowers brought back from trips to far-off lands and acclimatised thanks to the mild and favourable temperatures.

Giardino Isola Mdre
Palazzo Borromeo, interno

Today the garden on Isola Madre is unique for its rare plant species from every part of the world.
Continuous, exuberant flowering, the result of the endeavours of expert gardeners, continually renovating every corner of the park: from the magnolia groves to those of bamboo, from the perfumed pergolas of wisteria to the espaliers of citrus fruit, from the parterres of ancient camellias and rhododendrons to the overflowing pools of waterlilies and lotus flowers. Eucalyptuses, palms and banana trees coexist with the collection of conifers and maples. At the height of summer ibiscus, morning glories and bougainvilleas bring out the emotion of a trip through time.

The mild climate has allowed the establishing of amazing flora hard to find in other locations: rare plants coming from the most diverse latitudes and spectacular blooms make it a real earthly paradise. The terrace of proteas is unique; these are prehistoric flowers that are the emblem of South Africa, found here in their ideal environment.

Completing a setting of such harmonious beauty are multi-coloured birds roaming freely in the park. Silver and golden pheasants and white peacocks walk in tranquillity on the lawns and among the hedges.

Isola-Madre Terrazza-Protea
The terrace of proteas, Isola Madre
Palazzo Borromeo Isola Bella Interno

The history of the cypress from Cashmir

Providing shade for the Palazzo is the imposing cypress from Cashmir, which arrived here in 1862 from the Himalayas in a bag of fresh seeds and which over the years has become a symbol of Isola Madre.
It is the largest, oldest specimen of its kind that in Europe; in its land of origin, Tibet, it is in danger of extinction.The whirlwind that hit the north of Isola Madre in June 2006 also left its mark on this huge tree.
Saving it has been an operation involving complex engineering and botanical skills. Even if it will never return to the shape that made it «the most beautiful tree in the world», the great Cypress of Isola Madre remains to provide evidence of the devotion of the Borromeo family to the conservation of the island’s natural heritage.

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

Terre Borromeo-isola-madre-cashmir
The cypress from Kashmir

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.

Tickets

Adults Single Youngs Single Adults Group Youngs Group Baby
Isola Madre (Palace and gardens) € 15 € 8.5 € 12 € 6 -
Isola Madre + Isola Bella € 25 € 13 € 22 € 11 -
Isola Madre + Parco Pallavicino € 19 € 10,5 € 16 € 10 -
Isola Madre + Isola Bella +Rocca di Angera € 30 € 15 € 23 € 12 -
Isola Madre + Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino € 30 € 15 € 24 € 12 -
Download the pdf table with all prices
Adults Single
Youngs Single
Adults Group
Youngs Group
Baby
Isola Madre (Palace and gardens)
€ 15
€ 8.5
€ 12
€ 6
-
Isola Madre + Isola Bella
€ 25
€ 13
€ 22
€ 11
-
Isola Madre + Parco Pallavicino
€ 19
€ 10,5
€ 16
€ 10
-
Isola Madre + Isola Bella +Rocca di Angera
€ 30
€ 15
€ 23
€ 12
-
Isola Madre + Isola Bella + Parco Pallavicino
€ 30
€ 15
€ 24
€ 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: 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.

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

• 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
Our Partners
Instagram Feed
#Berthier130
🖼
Nella Galleria Berthier di Palazzo Borromeo c’è anche un “Giovine scapigliato”.
È proprio così che questo ritratto di Daniele Crespi viene citato negli antichi documenti di casa Borromeo.
✨
L’artista, tra i massimi esponenti della pittura seicentesca lombarda, ritrae un giovane raffinato con una bellezza elegante, quasi femminea, mosso da una capigliatura fluente.
🖌
Nelle Storie vi lasciamo le nostre pillole d’arte.
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Daniele Crespi
Ritratto di giovane scapigliato
1625-1630
Galleria Berthier, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella
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#Berthier130
🖼
In the Galleria Berthier of Palazzo Borromeo there is a "Young Scapigliato".
This is exactly how the portrait of Daniele Crespi is mentioned in the ancient documents of the Borromeo house.
✨
The artist, one of the greatest exponents of Lombard 17th-century painting, portrays a refined young man with an elegant, almost feminine beauty, framed by flowing hair.
🖌
You can find a teaser in our stories.
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Daniele Crespi
Portrait of a Young Scapigliato
1625-1630
Galleria Berthier, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #palazzoborromeo #isolabella #artlovers #galleriaberthier #artgallery #baroque #baroccoitaliano #painting #viaggioinitalia
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Sono pronto!
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Oggi anche le Isole Borromee riaprono al pubblico!
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È un po’ come il primo giorno di scuola: tutto sa di nuovo ed emoziona. 
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Abbiamo lavorato durante questi mesi per prenderci cura di ogni angolo, per farvi vivere anche quest'anno esperienze indimenticabili in tutta sicurezza. 
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Nel mese di maggio, lsola Bella e Isola Madre saranno aperte soltanto nei weekend, dalle ore 10.00 alle ore 17.30 (ultimo ingresso). I Palazzi chiudono alle ore 18.00, i Giardini alle ore 18.30. 
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Vi ricordiamo che la prenotazione online è obbligatoria. Link in bio. 
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Leggete la nostra guida IG con le meraviglie da non perdere!
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 I'm ready!
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Today even the Isole Borromee [Borromean Islands] reopen to the public!
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It’s a bit like the first day of school: everything is new and exciting.
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We have worked hard over the months to take care of every corner, to make sure you have unforgettable experiences in complete safety this year.
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In May, Isola Bella and Isola Madre will be only open on weekends, from 10.00am to 5.30pm (final admission). Palaces close at 6.00pm, the Gardens at 6.30pm.
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We remind you that online booking is mandatory. Link in bio.
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Read our IG guide about wonders not to be missed!

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #isolabella #isolamadre #palazzoborromeo #newopening #openingday
Finalmente si riparte!
✨
È una gioia sentire il rumore delle barche che tornano a navigare nelle acque del lago Maggiore verso le Isole Borromee.
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Dopo Parco Pallavicino e la Rocca di Angera, sabato 1° maggio riapriranno anche l’Isola Bella e l’Isola Madre.
🌷
Vi ricordiamo che nel mese di maggio giardini e palazzi saranno aperti soltanto nel weekend. La prenotazione online è obbligatoria. Link in bio.
💙
Vi aspettiamo per una nuova stagione da vivere insieme!
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Let’s finally start again!
✨
It is a joy to hear the noise of boats returning to sail in the waters of Lake Maggiore towards the Isole Borromee [Borromean Islands].
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After Parco Pallavicino and the Rocca di Angera opened their doors, on Saturday, May 1st, Isola Bella and Isola Madre will also reopen.
🌷
We remind you that gardens and palaces will only be open on weekends during May. Online booking is mandatory. Link in bio.
💙
We are waiting for you for a new season to be experienced together!

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #isolabella #isolamadre #newseason #opening
#Berthier130
🖼
Come si riconosce una gentildonna del ‘500? 
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Nella Galleria Berthier un pittore sconosciuto dell’Italia settentrionale ritrae una figura femminile seduta su una dantesca, dietro a un tavolino con un calamaio, un foglio di musica e un libricino nella mano destra. 
C’è anche un gatto, seduto alla finestra aperta sul paesaggio.
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Dall’abito lussuoso agli oggetti ritratti, ogni elemento sottolinea la nobiltà della donna.
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Quali sono gli altri elementi distintivi di questa rappresentazione? 
Scopritelo nelle stories.
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Pittore dell’Italia Settentrionale 
Ritratto di gentildonna con gatto
Ultimo quarto del XVI secolo
Galleria Berthier, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella
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#Berthier130
🖼
How does one recognize a gentle woman from the '500? 
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In the Berthier Gallery, an unknown painter from northern Italy portrays a female figure sitting on a Dantesque, behind a small table with an inkwell, a sheet of music and a booklet in her right hand. 
There is also a cat sitting at the open window, overlooking the landscape.
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From the luxurious dress to the objects portrayed, each element emphasizes the nobility of the woman.
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What are the other distinctive elements of this piece? 
Find out in our stories.
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Painter of Northern Italy 
Portrait of a gentlewoman with cat
Last quarter of the 16th century
Berthier Gallery, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #palazzoborromeo #isolabella #artlovers #galleriaberthier #artgallery #baroque #baroccoitaliano #painting #viaggioinitalia
💐
Lunedì 26 aprile la Rocca di Angera riaprirà le sue porte!
🌱
ll giardino medievale è già in fiore tra erbe officinali e il profumo di lavanda.
Visitando le magnifiche sale storiche del castello non perdetevi la vista sul Lago Maggiore, con una pausa rilassante all'aperto sulla terrazza della Caffetteria. 
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Da qui è ancora più intensa la sensazione di tornare a vivere la bellezza dei nostri territori, che possiamo portare con noi con un pensiero scelto tra le proposte del Bookshop. 
💗
Modalità di ingresso per la stagione 2021: vi consigliamo dal lunedì al venerdì la prenotazione online che diventa obbligatoria per accedere al sabato e alla domenica. Link in bio.
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Vi aspettiamo!
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💐
On Monday 26th April the Rocca di Angera will reopen its doors!
 🌱
The medieval garden is already in bloom with medicinal herbs and the scent of lavender.
When visiting the magnificent historic rooms of the castle, do not miss the view of Lake Maggiore, with a relaxing break outdoors on the terrace of the Cafeteria.
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From here the feeling of returning to experience the beauty of our territories is even more intense. We can cherish this feeling with a souvenir, choosing among the proposals of our Bookshop.
 💗
Entry mode for the 2021 season: we recommend Monday to Friday online booking, which will become mandatory to gain access for Saturdays and Sundays. Links in bio.
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We are waiting for you!

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #roccadiangera #openingday #newseason
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A volte riusciamo a vedere meglio ciò che abbiamo davanti semplicemente cambiando prospettiva.
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Da questa immagine aerea, la Rocca di Angera non perde la sua imponenza e riesce a svelarci i suoi equilibri e la sua armonia.
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Notate dettagli che non avreste immaginato?
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📸@stefanopezzano71
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Sometimes we can better appreciate what we have in front of us by simply changing perspective.
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From this aerial image, the Rocca di Angera maintains its grandeur while revealing balance and harmony.
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Do you notice details you wouldn’t have imagined?

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #borromeoexperience #roccadiangera #artlovers #architettura #prospettiva #perspective #architecture