Isola Bella, named for Isabella, countess Borromeo, was originally a largely barren rock; after first improvements and buildings, opened by count Carlo III between 1629 and 1652, his son Vitaliano the 6th built an attractive summer palace, bringing in vast quantities of soil in order to build up a system of ten terraces for the garden. The unfinished building displays paintings by Lombard artists and Flemish tapestries.
Isola Madre, the largest of the three, is also noted for its gardens, which are maintained from about 1823 in an English style. Its palace, though uninhabited, is splendidly furnished with XVI to XIX century Italian masterpieces and paintings.
Two small islets complete the archipelago. Isolino di San Giovanni is located just off Pallanza (today part of Verbania) to the north. The tiny uninhabited rock of Malghera, lies between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori and offers bushy vegetation and a small beach.
Italian Rhapsody; A Romantic Island Palace Filled with World-Class Music in Italy's Beguiling Lake District. MICHAEL LEAPMAN Leads the Applause
Aug 24, 2005; Byline: MICHAEL LEAPMAN THE MOON cast a pale beam through the trees as some 300 of us sat expectantly in the courtyard of the...