Isole Borromee Isole Borromee
HISTORY

THE ORIGINS
OF THE BORROMEO
FAMILY

The Borromeo family, headed today by Prince Vitaliano XI Borromeo and his wife Marina, has an ancient history that verges on legend.

Vague chronicles relate that a certain Lazzaro – the first presumed exponent of the lineage –went to Rome in 1300 to complete a pilgrimage to mark Holy Year.

On his return he was assigned the name “Bon Romeo” – in other words, “good pilgrim who has been to Rome”– and the family surname is supposedly derived from this nickname.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
The town of San Miniato

On the other hand, history tells us that the Borromeo family originally came from the town of San Miniato al Tedesco, which they abandoned in 1370 following a revolt against the city of Florence.

The family was forced to disperse around a number of different Italian cities, such as Milan, Padua, Venice, Pisa and Genoa, dividing into numerous branches.

The siblings Andrea, Borromeo, Alessandro, Giovanni and Margherita went to Padua, where the latter married the powerful Giacomo Vitaliani.

Borromeo Borromei was the first to move to Milan.

In the 1430s the family’s fortunes continued to improve.

In 1439 Vitaliano I obtained the enfeoffment of Arona and acquired vast properties around Lago Maggiore (including the Rocca di Angera), laying the foundations for what would become a vast landed estate, called “Stato Borromeo”.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
From the left: the coat of arms of the Vitaliani family, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the coat of arms of the Visconti family

He also forcefully guided the family’s mercantile and banking activities and, in the first half of the 15thcentury, occupied key positions at the Milanese court of the Visconti.

He was Treasurer General of the Duchy, supplier to the army, exclusive licence-holder for the transportation of salt from Genoa to Milan, and supported Duke Filippo Maria Visconti economically, obtaining land and privileges in exchange.

In those years bank branches in London, Bruges and Barcelona were also opened.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY

On the left, safe-conduct granted to Giovanni I and Vitaliano Borromeo to reach Venice, with an entourage of armed men, by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti (1418) – ABIB, Cassettiere, P107

All his children married leading members of the main Milanese noble families, completing the full integration of the family into the Lombard political society of the time.

It was these important bonds of kinship that inspired, for example, the spectacular decoration of the monumental staircase, characterised by large heraldic coats of arms belonging to great European families such as the Habsburgs, the Medici of Marignano, the Farnese, moulded in stucco by sculptor Francesco Maino starting from 1680.

Vitaliano I was also responsible for the construction and enlargement of the Milanese palazzo, as is also documented by the accounts registers of those years that are conserved in the Borromeo Archive on Isola Bella.

Due to unusual historical circumstances, today the ark of Vitaliano I Borromeo is found in the apse of the Palatine Chapel, the Borromeo family’s private church, annexed to the palazzo on Isola Bella.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY

Diplomatic and prudent, between the 16th and 17th centuries the Borromeos became one of the most important families of the Milanese duchy, thanks above all to the eminent figures of the two Archbishops of Milan, Carlo and Federico Borromeo.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY

From the left, Portrait of San Carlo Borromeo, Giovanni Ambrogio Figino, c. 1600 (Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan);
Portrait of Cardinal Federico Borromeo, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, 1610 (Diocesan Museum, Milan)

Carlo Borromeo (1538-1584), nephew of Pope Pius IV Medici, an ordained priest and a consecrated bishop, moved to Milan in 1564.

Renouncing many privileges and transferring the rights to a part of the family’s property, he spent extravagantly on the poor people of the diocese and steadfastly defended the reforms of the Council of Trent. He was proclaimed a Saint in 1610.

The cousin of San Carlo, Archbishop Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), immortalised by Manzoni in I Promessi sposi [The Bethrothed], left an important cultural legacy to Milan: the Biblioteca e Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, which was opened in 1609 and is still in operation.

Cardinal Federico Borromeo’s older brother was called Renato I (1555-1608). In 1583 he regained possession of the islands on Lago Maggiore.

On the largest of these islands – baptised Isola Renata by him – the noble had a palazzo with terraced gardens built.

In the 18th century the island changed its name to Isola Madre, perhaps to recall the fact that it was the first island of the archipelago to be inhabited by the Borromeos.

One of the younger children of Renato I, Carlo III Borromeo (1586-1652), received the Isola Inferiore as a dowry.

On this island, then little more than a rock emerging from the lake, with a little church, some gardens and fishermen’s houses – in around 1630 Carlo III made plans for a Baroque terraced garden, having this designed by architect Giovanni Angelo Crivelli.

He named the island Bella in honour of his wife Isabella d’Adda.

In 1650 Vitaliano VI Borromeo, a cultured and inquisitive man, took over the running of the works on Isola Bella and, considering Rome with a spirit of great independence and autonomy of decision-making, took in hand the project begun by his father Carlo III to create a garden on Isola Bella.

Vitaliano transformed this idea into a grandiose Baroque scenography, adding a majestic palazzo.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
Vitaliano VI Borromeo

Isola Bella thus took on its definitive form.

Soundly established in the territory and able to maintain and increase its prestige over the centuries, the Borromeo family has given the history books illustrious personalities and an artistic and documentary heritage of international significance.

THE ORIGINS OF THE BORROMEO FAMILY
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Nella piccola Adorazione dei Magi che fu di Giulia Arese, moglie di Renato II Borromeo, la cura che Giulio Cesare Procaccini mette nella regia e nella resa delle figure, concepite come microsculture preziose, ci ricorda che l’artista attorno al 1605, sebbene trentenne, è da poco approdato all’arte della pittura.
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Nato a Bologna, figlio di Ercole Procaccini il Vecchio e fratello di Camillo e Carlo Antonio, tutti rinomati pittori, Giulio Cesare fu l’unico della famiglia a iniziare la carriera artistica come scultore.
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Questa tavola della Galleria Berthier è uno dei migliori esempi delle sue sperimentazioni giovanili, dove la pittura veloce, impetuosa e improvvisa rilegge i maestri di area emiliana, primo fra tutti il Parmigianino.
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Giulio Cesare Procaccini
Adorazione dei Magi
1605 circa
Galleria Berthier, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella
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🖼 #Berthier130
In the little Adoration of the Magi by Giulia Arese, wife of Renato II Borromeo, the care that Giulio Cesare Procaccini puts into directing and rendering figures, conceived as precious microsculptures, reminds us that the artist, in around 1605, although thirty years old, had recently arrived in the art of painting.
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Born in Bologna, son of Ercole Procaccini the Elder and brother of Camillo and Carlo Antonio, all renowned painters, Giulio Cesare was the only one in the family to begin his artistic career as a sculptor.
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This panel from Galleria Berthier is one of the best examples of his early experiments, where fast, impetuous and sudden painting reinterprets the masters of the Emilian area, starting with Parmigianino.
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Giulio Cesare Procaccini
Adoration of the Magi
Around 1605
Galleria Berthier, Palazzo Borromeo
Isola Bella

#terreborromeo #lakemaggiore #lagomaggiore #isolabella #palazzoborromeo #artlovers #berthier130 #galleriaberthier #paintings
Dalla magica cornice del Lago Maggiore alla fiabesca atmosfera di uno storico castello, le Isole Borromee e la Rocca di Angera tra le “Meraviglie” di @albertoangelarai1
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Un viaggio alla scoperta di tradizioni secolari, bellezze artistiche e paesaggi mozzafiato che rendono unico il nostro bel Paese.
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Appuntamento martedì 4 gennaio 2022 alle 21:25 su @rai1official per tornare a viaggiare tra le #Meraviglie d'Italia.
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From the magical setting of Lake Maggiore to the fairytale atmosphere of the historic castle, Isole Borromee and Rocca di Angera among Alberto Angela's “Wonders”.
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A journey to discover centuries-old traditions, artistic beauties and breathtaking landscapes.
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Save the date! January 4th at 9.25pm on RaiUno to return to travel among the #Meraviglie of Italy.

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Pronunciate il nome Viburnum. Quale sensazione vi lascia?
🌿
Se vi sembra risuonare fortemente tra le labbra, come qualcosa dal carattere molto forte, è perché avete intuito la caratteristica dei suoi rami: la tenacia.
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Gli antichi arcieri avevano scelto proprio il legno di Viburnum lantana per realizzare frecce leggere e dalla dirittura molto precisa. I rami del Viburnum opulus, invece, venivano usati come scudisci per cavalli.
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Noi abbiamo scelto il Viburno per dare un tocco di magia ai viali dell’Isola Bella in inverno. Quando sbocciano sembrano batuffoli di neve profumatissima.
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Say the name Viburnum. What feeling does it evoke?
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If it seems to resonate powerfully between your lips, like something with a very strong character, it is because you have embodied the essential characteristic of its branches: tenacity.
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Ancient archers chose the wood of Viburnum lantana to make light arrows with a very precise straightness. The branches of the Viburnum opulus, on the other hand, were used as shields for horses.
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We have chosen the Viburnum to give a touch of magic to the paths of Isola Bella during the winter. When they bloom, they are like balls of fragrant snow.

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