Isole Borromee Isole Borromee
NATURE

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

Although it is said that the nearby Isola Bella exceeds it in terms of beauty and magnificence, in reality Isola Madre, which is larger in extension, is a genuine treasure island, a bountiful chest of botanical “jewels” coming from all over the world.

While in antiquity it was no more than a rock, by as early as the 9th century it was transformed into a place abounding in olive trees, and later, in 1500, also welcoming vines and orchards with walnut, fig, chestnut, cherry and pomegranate trees, which were well suited to the particularly mild climate of Lago Maggiore.

In the first decades of the 19th century, following the landscaping orientation of the time, firs, cypresses and evergreens began to appear, giving rise to what was to all intents and purposes a botanical garden.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

The full-blown transformation took place thanks to Vitaliano IX, an enthusiastic naturalist, who had seeds, botanical rarities and plants in vases sent there from all over the world.

Roses, peonies, azaleas and verbenas, sage and laurel were planted. In the Noria Meadow: apricot, cherry, apple, pear, fig and plum trees. Ashes, willows and walnut trees near to the Palazzo.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
From the left: the Noria Meadow, prunus trees, azaleas, weeping willows

In the large meadow facing towards Suna there is an English-style garden with hibiscus, calycanthus, mulberry and pomegranate trees, as well as oaks and rhododendrons, maples and cypresses.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
From the left: calycanthus, rhododendron and magnolia trees

Towards the end of the 19th century, Vitaliano came into contact with passionate researchers, thus giving rise to a period of exchanges of seeds and plants with other important gardens.

And through correspondence with Joseph Pentland, the Scottish botanist, traveller and diplomat, numerous exotic species reached the island that the diplomat considered suited to growth on the banks of Lago Maggiore.

Among these, Wellingtonia, the Giant Redwood, from Oregon, and seeds of the tallow tree that arrived from Northern China through one of his intermediaries. In 1862 Pentland sent conifer seeds from Kashmir and wrote to the count as follows:

Have them sown immediately: there is a species of cypress from Kashmir that will be favourable for the woods of Lago Maggiore.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
From the left: the Wellingtonia and the cypress from Kashmir

The whirlwind that hit the north of Isola Madre in June 2006 also left its mark on this giant 25-metre-high tree with its trunk almost eight metres in diameter (Cupressus cashmeriana). Saving it was an operation requiring high-level engineering and botanical skills. Even though it will never return to the form that made it «the most beautiful tree in the world», the great cypress of Isola Madre remains to bear witness to the dedication of the Borromeo Family to the conservation of the island’s natural heritage.

The most diverse species of palms succeed in coexisting with Californian redwoods and Mexican pines on the Islands, while collections of wisterias and rare pittospora succeed in serving as a counterattraction to shady forests of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
From the left: wisteria, rhododendron, camellia and magnolia

Among the botanical rarities present on Isola Madre, the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) also merits a visit; it has characteristic roots with protuberances emerging from the ground, which are necessary for the oxygenation of the plant.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
Taxodium distichum with exposed roots

A little further along, in the Gynerium Meadow, the pampas grass (Gynerium argenteum) displays its silvery inflorescences, while in the Square of the Parrots, in the shade of the camphor tree, white peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam undisturbed.

Numerous specimens grow along the Avenue of the Palms, standing out among which is Jubaea spectabilis, one of the largest in Europe, which arrived from Chile in 1858.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
From the left: Gynerium argenteum and Jubaea spectabilis
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

Though finding themselves in a cool latitude, some palms even succeed in bearing fruit: the acclimatisation of exotic plants, and particularly palms, has always been one of the main goals of this botanical garden.

Among all these, particular attention is merited for the Butia capitata, which in autumn produces large clusters of juicy orange-coloured fruit.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

Isola Madre is known for its exceptional collections of flowers, starting with magnolias, acquisitions of which have been documented since the late 18th century.

Alongside large specimens of grandiflora and soulangeana, there are particularly rare varieties such as the “Yellow Bird”, with flowers in the various tones of yellow, up to twelve centimetres wide.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

The Plain of Camellias, which arrived on the island in the early 19th century at the wishes of Vitaliano IX, hosts more than one hundred and fifty varieties, many of which ancient; the planting of numerous cultivars is accompanied by the selection of new hybrids, among which the very famous hybrids of Camellia japonica “Glory of the Borromeo Islands” and “Gloria of the Verbano”.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

Between April and May the wisterias blossom, one of the first collections of these to be created in Italy.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

In the mildest zone of the island, the Terrace of the Proteas has been opened to the public. It was inaugurated in 2013 and is devoted to southern flora, thus bringing a representation of vegetation coming from South Africa to Italy.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

The extraordinary attention and care devoted by the Borromeo family to their gardens has meant that the Royal Horticultural Society of London, one of the most famous organisations in the world devoted to horticulture, has included the Islands’ gardens, the first in Italy, in its prestigious visitors’ circuit.

This unique and spectacular setting, placed at the disposal of the public thanks to work, experience and continuous commitment, creates an age-old, majestic dream of beauty.

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF ISOLA MADRE

© Photo: Stefano Pezzano, Gisella Motta, Alessandro Famiani

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Da venerdì 16 a domenica 18 settembre, la città di Angera promuove "Il
Raduno Internazionale Mongolfiere"!
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Nove palloni voleranno sopra Terre Borromeo.
La manifestazione ha lo scopo benefico di raccogliere fondi per due associazioni del territorio: la Fondazione Renato Piatti Onlus e l'Associazione Genitori Bambini Down.
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Dalla Rocca di Angera lo spettacolo sarà magico!
Sei pronto a volare? Link in bio.
Foto ©️Città di Angera - Foto di Luciano Manconi
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From Friday 16th to Sunday 18th September, the city of Angera promotes "The
International Hot Air Balloon Meeting "!
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Nine balloons will fly over Terre Borromeo.
The event has the charitable purpose of raising funds for two associations in the area: the Renato Piatti Onlus Foundation and the Down-Parents' Association.
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From the Rocca di Angera the show will be magical!
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Photo © City of Angera - Photo by Luciano Manconi

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Passione per il bello e innovazione culturale, quest'anno iniziamo così!
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Terre Borromeo organizza programmi didattici per le scuole di ogni ordine e grado nei suoi siti culturali e naturalistici, sul Lago Maggiore. Ogni attività è personalizzata, ideata per condividere esperienze, imparando.
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Buon ritorno a scuola!
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Passion for beauty and cultural innovation, this is how we start this year!
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Terre Borromeo organizes educational programs for schools of all levels in its cultural and naturalistic sites on Lake Maggiore. Each activity is personalized, designed to share experiences, learning.
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Happy back to school!
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Accidenti, non era camomilla!
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Non farti ingannare dall’Anthemis Arvensis, la pianta che si fa conoscere come falsa camomilla. I fiori hanno tutto l’aspetto di una margherita, ma con qualche differenza.
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Lasciati guidare dagli occhi esperti dei nostri giardinieri per riconoscerle ed… evitare brutte sorprese. Guarda nelle stories!
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Damn, it wasn't chamomile!
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Don't be fooled by Anthemis Arvensis, the plant that makes itself known as false chamomile. The flowers have all the appearance of a daisy, but with some differences.
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Let yourself be guided by the expert eyes of our gardeners to recognize them and… avoid nasty surprises. Look in the stories!

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #BorromeoExperience #roccadiangera #falsacamomilla