Orta San Giulio, Stresa, Verbania
Orta San Giulio
Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori, Isolino di San Giovanni and the tiny rock Malghera.
The Isole Borromee (Borromean Islands) are the lands that emerged from Lago Maggiore, having been given the names of 14th century feudal lords that had become owners and had fortresses, villas and castles built. The largest of the five islands is Isola Madre, typified by a garden filled with rare plants and exotic flowers in which peacocks, parrots and pheasants live freely. The island is also famous for the blossoming of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias along with Europe’s largest Kashmir Cypress (over 200 years old), rows of cedar and lemon trees, the hibiscus collection, Ginkgo biloba. It is also famous for its ancient wisteria bowers. The 16th-century Palazzo was opened to the public in 1978, fascinating for the reconstruction of the ambiance of the time and for its collections of liveries, dolls and porcelains. The "Teatrini delle Marionette" (Marionnette Theatre) exhibit, featuring pieces from the 17th-19th centuries, is exceptional. Isola Madre leaves its guest with an impression of great refinement as far as the care of gardens and interiors are concerned, satisfying even the most demanding of tourists. It is no accident that in 1845 Flaubert described Isola Madre as the most voluptuous place to be seen on earth.
Isola Bella is completely filled by the Italian style garden at Palazzo Borromeo, which occupies the north-eastern coast of the island. In 1632,Count Vitaliano Borromeo began the construction of the monumental Baroque style palazzo and the majestic landscaping of its gardens that brought fame to the Island and stand as evidence to this day of the glory of an era. The visitor is overwhelmed by the splendour of the tapestries, furniture, statues, paintings and the stucco work that characterize the palazzo. At the end of the tour, guests can go into the gardens for a charming promenade among exotic, rare plants whose blossoming is designed to offer an extraordinary variety of colours and fragrances from the months of March to October.
The Isola dei Pescatori, also known as Isola Superiore, is the only one that is permanently inhabited. Its characteristic twisted alleys and houses with long balconies to dry fish, the small square, the promenade under the trees and the main road together make this one of the most romantic spots on the lake.
Not far from here, surrounded by very green hills, lies Lago d’Orta, considered one of the most romantic and picturesque places on earth.
San Giulio Isola, dominated by the basilica that carries the same name, is one of the most important Romanesque-era monuments in Piemonte. It is a place of peace and spirituality from which one can admire Orta, a small jewel placed on the lake’s shores. Elaborated, built and moulded by the brilliance of man’s dexterity, San Giulio presents itself with a unique panorama, thanks also to the buildings crammed together one on top of the other that emanate beguiling charm at night due also to an intense artificial light. At one time the castle that made it impregnable stood there. It was destroyed to make space for a convent that hosts Benedictine nuns that to this day are dedicated to manual labour and spiritual hospitality.
Date of last update: 29/12/2009
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