Gardens and palace of Isola Bella

Gardens with the Isola Bella Island palace - Italy's world-famous landscape attraction.

This small island, measuring just 320 by 400 meters, is located on Lake Lago Maggiore, near the coastal town of Stresa. From afar, the island is like an old ship, the galleon, whose deck is a fairytale park with the magnificent Borromeo palace. In addition to a very unusual look, the story of its creation is especially surprising.

In the XVII century, the rich Italian family of Borromeo bought up land, including this island. Then it was a rocky breed, with a population of several dozen fishermen and poor vegetation living on it.

The head of the family, Charles III, planned to turn the desert island into a paradise as a gift for his wife Isabella. In her honor, the island received the new name Isola Bella (Isola Bella - translated from Italian means "beautiful island"), combining the words Island (island) and Isabella.

Create landshaft project was entrusted to the famous Milanese architect Angelo Crivelli, who coped with it perfectly, surpassing all expectations. The palace was designed in the then popular Baroque style, and the gardens are decorated in Italian and English styles.

Construction began in 1632 with a fortress on the north side and a water tower providing the island with drinking water, and the first terraces were completed in 1652.

Due to the plague epidemic that struck the Duchy of Milan then, work had to be suspended. They were renewed only in the second half of the century by the sons of Charles III and the famous Italian master Barroco Carlo Fontana.

Thanks to the experience of the Fountain, soon enough the palace and park turned into an excellent family residence, which was enthusiastically visited by royal and other noble persons, such as Napoleon and Josephine. Balls, banquets and theatrical performances were regularly held here.

There is reliable historical information that the Queen of England really wanted to acquire this island, but the Borromeo family refused her.

In front of the palace is a unique Italian baroque garden formed by ten terraces with niches and fountains (like the famous hanging gardens of Babylon), belted balustrades with obelisks and sculptures by Italian craftsman Carlo Simonetta. Each terrace has its own unique species of exotic plants, harmoniously complementing the richness of architectural forms.

From the top terrace you can enjoy a wonderful view of the palace and garden complex and the lake. From here, from a height of 34 meters, the island's surroundings are protected by a formidable unicorn (heraldic symbol of the Borromeo family), saddled with a sculpture of Honor. Its high location symbolizes the royal superiority of the owners of the island. On two sides of the unicorn are two seated statues - Nature and Art.

The park is divided into local zones with romantic names: Flower Garden Azalea, Belvedere Alley, Amur Garden, Alley of Bitter Oranges, Western Alley. But the transitions between these zones are so natural that it gives the impression of a single whole.

The central and especially eastern part of the park is decorated with lawns with ornamental plants and a pond of elegant shape. On the western side, in tribute to history, there is a small village with houses and a church that live well thanks to numerous tourists from all over the world.

From the side of the palace, the park greets guests with a Diana Atrium of a polygonal shape with a figure of a goddess in the central niche and rounded stairs on the sides that rise to the next terrace leading to the Exotic Garden and Massimo Theater.

The exotic garden surprises visitors with a variety of rare species: there are trees and plants from Australia, New Zealand, the Himalayas, South America, many different citrus fruits, cypresses, pomegranates, magnolias and even bamboo.

The Massimo Theater is a wall of three exedras with stairs, niches, marble sinks and statues of gods and goddesses, Atlanteans and cupids by sculptor Carlo Simonetta (there are 52 on the island). Some of them are mounted on high pedestals so that they can be seen from afar.

It is impossible to imagine an excellent ensemble of landscape art without singing and beautiful exotic birds. Naturally, they are here in large numbers, and feel like full owners, especially in this regal albino peacocks have succeeded.

The palace itself was built in the style of the early Lombard Baroque, the ceilings are made in the neoclassical style.

The owners did not save on the construction and decoration of the palace premises: antique furniture, sculptures, paintings and other objects of art, collected around the world by the Borromeo family, everything here is tastefully decorated and very expensive. What are the chandeliers of Venetian glass.

The halls of the palace, decorated with paintings by great masters, tapestries, stucco moldings and mosaics, bear the names of great people: Napoleon’s Hall, Tapestry Hall, Luca Giorgiano Hall.

The lower floor of the palace consists of six spacious halls decorated with marble statues and skillfully decorated with stalactites and mosaics made of pebbles and shells, creating a complete image of visiting the grottoes at the bottom of the sea and giving coolness to the summer heat.

The Isola Bella palace and Park Complex is a popular tourist mecca for connoisseurs of unusual landscape design. In addition, there are annually held festivals of classical music, so harmoniously complementing the landscapes.

Special care for plants professional gardeners, therefore, the amazing diversity and flowering of flora on the island does not stop from early spring to late autumn.


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2022-05-24 17:53:05

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