How to reach
Autostrada dei Laghi, direction Gravellona Toce, exit Carpugnino. Follow the indications for Stresa.
You can reach Isola Bella and Isola Madre from Stresa, Arona, Pallanza, Locarno, Laverno… Using the boats of the Navigazione Lago Maggiore. For further information call number 800 551801, or visit www.navigazionelaghi.it.
On the lake are available many navigation societies offering the possibility to move at every time, for every destination.
Ferrovie dello Stato, line Milano-Sempione, stop: Stresa, connection with the boat. Ferrovie Nord, line Milano-Laverno, stop: Laverno. Many meters away you will find the embarkment by boat or hydroplane.
''Isola Madre (Mother Island) is the most sensuous place I have ever seen in the world”.
(G. Flaubert, 1845)
The luxuriant garden makes this magic Island unique, brimming with rare and exotic plants from every latitude, proof of the family's interest in botany over the centuries.
Originally it was a fruit orchard, then an olive grove followed by a citrus orchard. The Island took on its present aspect of romantic English park in the early nineteenth century. Expert gardeners and botanists, assisted by the perfect mild climate, knowledgeably integrated the collections over time with new species, flowering continuously and exuberantly for visitors.
Not to be missed amongst these is the spring blooming of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and magnolias, followed by the summer show of Bougainvillea and the difficult Millettia japonica. There is no shortage of multi-coloured carpeting, wisteria pergolas and water-lilies.
The symbol of the Island is the magnificent, secular specimen of Kashmir Cypress, uprooted by a whirlwind and now fully revived, one of nature's miracles.
The garden is a member of the prestigious network of the Royal Horticultural Society since 2002.
The sixteenth century Palace stands beside the Kashmir loggia, preserving important furnishings from the Borromeo household. It is an elegantly sober country dwelling, where the visitor can admire trompe l'oeil on the walls, porcelain collections, valuable furniture and the unusual presence of miniature theatres and puppets for the entertainment and amusement of family members and their friends.
An extraordinary collection of theatrical apparatus, equipment and scripts, all in excellent condition, witnesses the heritage and testimony of the family's important joint ventures, such as with Alessandro Sanquirico, set designer for the Scala Theatre, and his successor Carlo Fontana.