Saturday, 21 June 2008

Isola Bella

This magnificent Island (one of three main islands near Stresa, at 15 minutes drive from Arona) still belongs to the Borromeo family and was named after Isabella, wife of Carlo Borromeo III.
She started the restructuring in the 17th Century turning what first was an unsignificant island into what it is today: a small Versaille with a typical terraced Italian-type garden (famous for its azaleas and rododendrons) and a main building full of art treasures. White peacocks walk around you through the gardens with their white-laced tails which create a surprising effect against the green of the grass and the blue of the sky. It is open to the public from March till October. It is not cheap to enter but it is worthwhile visiting!

18 comments:

Julie said...

Well, that decides me. I spent time in central Italy in 2006 - Assisi & Siena mostly. This year I am off to France. Next year it will be northern Italy. This sounds - and looks - simply gorgeous!
http://plumbingthedeeps.typepad.com/sydney_eye/

lezah said...

wow, how i wish i could visit this place

Blognote said...

The best time of the year would be mid May, Julie, when all famous gardens between Arona and Stresa are in bloom.
Those gardens are privately owned and belong to 19th and 18th Century luxurious villas.
The only thing I cannot foresee is the weather, which this year May has been terrible and has destroyed most of the roses and azaleas. I hope next year better.

Other places in northern Italy are the areas of the 6 lakes around Lago maggiore, among which Lake Orta and Lake Como, then the upper part of the City of Bergamo, other cities like Verona, Padua, Mantua and last but not least...Venice.
Then there are the famous Paladian Villas along the river Brenta, which you must do by boat... Enjoy your trip next year!

Thanks for visiting Lezah! Please see my information above.

Dina said...

Borromeo?! The Sisters of Borromeo have a convent in Jerusalem.
Your Isola Bella looks like a little paradise island (but I am more the monastic type, hehe).

Dan said...

Wow, wonderful pic and interesting history on this lovely place.

Also, thanks for your visit to my blog and your kind comment

Blognote said...

Thanks Dina! Then I have just the place for you. In the next few weeks I will post the Island of Orta San Giulio (not far from Arona and on another lake, Lake Orta. The main building on that beautiful island is a Convent.
Have a nice sunday!

Thanks for your kind comments, Dan!

Carla said...

Beautiful photo of this lovely island! Sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

Marie-Noyale said...

Will you offer us a peak on this island?... It looks very inviting!!
What a great view from Arona..

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I visited Isola Bella almost thirty years ago when I first arrived in Italy. I still remember the visit well - a real testiment to the beauty in men's souls.

Jules said...

Love popping here to get my Italian fix - it is one of the most stunning places in the world and i have been very privileged to spend some time there over the years!!!

Blognote said...

Thank you, Carla! I can recommend it to you.


Thanks Marie! Although it is a quarter of an hour's drive by car from Arona, the islands are just behind a small bay, so we cannot see it directly from Arona.

Then you had your portion of beauty of this part of the lake, Suzanne! I go there once every so often with family or friends but its beauty is striking every time.

Thanks for visiting, Jules! I am glad you already did visit the area.

Jilly said...

How absolutely beautiful.

Dina said...

Great! And do the monastics on Island of Orta San Giulio accept volunteers to work with them??

babooshka said...

Beautiful image and an inviting text to accompany the pic.Makes you want to hop straight over there.

Kim said...

Beautiful photo--all of them are magnificent. What a wonderful place to be enjoying life to the fullest!!

Blognote said...

Thank you, Jilly! This beautiful island has a magnificent position in the Lake.

Dina, the nuns in the convent on the Island of San Giulio belong to an enclosed order, whose task is to pray for mankind. I am afraid that outsiders can arrive only at the main gate...

Thank you Babooshka!!

Thank you too, Kim, for your kind words!!

Blognote said...

Dina, I forgot to tell you that in Late Spring, Summer and early Autumn, there are wonderful concerts of classic music in one of the main historical villas on the Island of San Giulio in Orta. The villa is still pivately owned but the owner puts one big room at disposal for such cultural events. In the price of the concert the small taxi-boat which brings you to and back from the islands is included.

There is also a monastery not far from Orta (on the mainland) where the munks put their small church at dispoal of musicians who want to play there (only classical music). During the interval you can sit in front of the church overlooking Lake Orta in the evening, while sipping herbal tea offered by the munks.

Last but not least, there are quite some concerts (mostly chamber music) in Summer taking place around the lakes, in private court-yards, gardens, etc.

Dina said...

Ohhh, music, monastery, monks -- the 3 Ms. Who could want more?!