Isola Madre is the largest and perhaps most characteristic of the three islands in the Borromean Gulf. Its palace displays furnishings from the historic residences of the Borromeo family, and contains some beautiful rooms, such as the Dolls’ Room, the Room of the Seasons and a room devoted to the Puppet Theatre.
The atmosphere of this enchanting place is magical; its immense garden of rare trees and exotic flowers, where peacocks and pheasants wander and budgerigars fly in freedom, has something of the fascination of a tropical land. The English-style garden of Isola Madre, landscaped in the early 19th century in a space of almost eight hectares, displays a flora which is a continual surprise and which is hard to find in other places.
It is famous for the amazing spectacle of its azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias in flower, as well as its pergolas of ancient wisteria. The largest specimen in Europe of Kashmir Cypress, superb lime and lemon trees, a marvellous collection of hibiscus, and a Gingko Biloba, are all found here.
Isola Madre leaves you with a memory of manicured lawns, expertly tended trees and flowers, and beautifully laid out interiors, of a quality to please the most exacting visitor.
The public boats call at the island, leaving from Stresa, Baveno, Verbania and Arona.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: from the A26 exit at Stresa-Baveno.
By train: Stresa railway station.
Take the public service boat to Isola Madre from Stresa, Verbania, Baveno or Arona
For guided tours in the Palace.
Kids from 6 to 15: € 6,00
Guided tours: booking required
€ 45,00: groups