Visit Isola Bella and discover how almost four hundred years of work have transformed a rock inhabited by fishermen into a place admired by tourists from all over the world.
Welcome to the enchanting Isola Bella!
It is part of the archipelago of the Borromean Islands together with Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori.
Situated … km from Borgomanero, 400 metres off the coast of Stresa, its surface is almost entirely occupied by the Borromeo Palace and its lush gardens.
In the 17th century, the Borromeos were already the owners of Isola Madre. In the first twenty years of the century, Charles III began the work that would lead to the creation of the Palace and Garden.
This grandiose project would be continued, enlarged, and defined by Vitaliano VI, who is considered the founder of Isola Bella.
The current layout is the result of continuous work throughout the 18th and 19th centuries until 1948, when the Salone Nuovo, the northern façade and the large pier were built under Vitaliano IX Borromeo.
Visiting Palazzo Borromeo is like leafing through a book of art and history.
The imposing Baroque building designed by the most famous architects of the time occupies almost the entire island.
The heart of the Palace is the Berthier Gallery, a mosaic of over 130 paintings including masterpieces and some copies by great masters of the past such as Raphael, Correggio, Titian, and Guido Reni. But also the Throne Room, the Queens Room, the Tapestry Room with its Flemish tapestries and the Grottoes, with their shell-encrusted walls decorated with nymphs and black marble mirrors.
What really leaves visitors speechless is its celebrated park: an Italian-style garden consisting of ten terraces stacked like a truncated pyramid. It is adorned with statues, fountains, rare shrubs, exotic plants, and delicately scented flowers such as magnolia and camellias.
The upper part of the gardens, known as the ‘amphitheatre’ because of the plays that were held here, is surmounted by the Unicorn, the heraldic coat of arms of the Borromeo family.