Giardini di Villa Taranto

Botanical gardens and Borromeo Islands: an eight-month long experience between flowers and art

From the end of March gardens and villas will welcome Italian and foreign tourists, who reach the Lakes District to spend their first spring weekend. After the violent cloudburst in last August Villa Taranto in Verbania Pallanza will open from March 16 till November 3, everyday from 8.30 to 18.30. The 16 hectare wide gardens exhibit 20.000 botanical plants, 80.000 bulbous plants and 15.000 different flowers. Camellias, rhododendrons, tulips, azaleas, water lilies and victoriae amazonicae will make each visit a unique experience.

This year the FAI Italian Environmental Association includes Villa Taranto in the open sites during the so called “Spring Days” in March 23 and 24. From April 13 to 28 during the famous “Tulip Week” you will become eyewitness of a real spectacular and sparkling firework of colours with over 80.000 buds. In the Tulip’s Maze you can marvel at over 65 varieties; relating to colours and forms among these stands out the coveted black tulip “Queen of night” and the imposing “Big chief”, the corolla of which reaches an almost 10 centimetre large diameter. The huge Dahlias Labyrinth (500 Sm) of Villa Taranto will host, from July to October, a special exhibition dedicated to the dahlia: there fans will find more than 350 different flower species. Info: www.villataranto.it

On March 16 the gardens in Borromeo’s dominions on Lake Maggiore, Isola Madre and Isola Bella, will reopen after having been closed since last October, a time during which plants were guaranteed their necessary rest and maintenance work was carried out. The gardens will explode with the colours of thousands of tulip bulbs the Borromeo’s gardeners planted last autumn to bring the Renaissance park of Isola Bella and the romantic one of Isola Madre to life in an endless array of different shades. Along with tulips and ancient flower varieties, other key features will be azaleas and rhododendron bushes, which are ubiquitous on Isola Madre in numerous different varieties. Indeed, having found their ideal habitat here, they cover every space as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, big lilac bushes and first fragrant wisteria blossoms will fill the air with wonderful scents.

As well as  amellias there are numerous different rose varieties that, despite being present in all three gardens belonging to the Borromeo Family, reign supreme on Isola Bella. With more than 2.000 paintings art on both islands waits for you! The famous “Quadreria Borromeo” or General Berthier’s art gallery, housed in the Princes’ Villa on Isola Bella, presents 130 Lombard Baroque styled paintings, excellent copies of Raffaello, Correggio, Tiziano, Guido Reni’s works of art, a special exhibition of Bergognone, Boltraffio and Giampietrino’s, many of which are authentic masterpieces, and others based on floral theme; baroque decorations in the Throne Room and the Queens’ Room.

The Palace o f Isola Bella wil l be open to the public everyday un ti l October 20 (9-17.30) and exceptionally from October 21 to November 3 (reduced opening time) . Info: www.borromeoturismo.it In Stresa, the pearl of Lake Maggiore, you can visit from the half of March till October 31 (9-18) the park of Villa Pallavicino, created English style in the 19th century and bought in 1862 by the Marquis Pallavicino. It extends over a 20 hectare area with tree-lined paths (7 km total length), wonderful flower-beds and a botanical garden. Animals are the principal attraction there: you will see more than 40 species of mammalians and exotic birds (lamas, kangaroos, zebras, flamingos, etc.) which live wild in a totally natural environment. Info: www.parcozoopallavicino.it

The Alpinia Botanical Garden, 300 meter nearby the first station of the cable car Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone, will reopen everyday from the beginning of April to October (9.30-18). This 40.000 Sm large, huge garden holds an important rule, that is preserving the mountain flora. Moreover, the view from its natural terrace (760- 810 M a.s.l.) is really enchanting and gives visitors the possibility to admire Lake Maggiore with the Borromeo Gulf and the high mountain chain, going over the skyline.Info: www.giardinoalpinia.it