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“Don't miss a visit here” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Isola Bella

Isola Bella
Isola Bella, Italy
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Type: Islands, Castles, Historic Sites
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Attraction Details
Owner description: One of three magical islands on Lake Maggiore, Isola Bella charms visitors with its magnificent Baroque palace and terraced gardens that slope to the lake.
red deer, canada
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Don't miss a visit here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2011

I have to commend Cal-travel-lover for their tremendous review and I have to agree with everything said. DO NOT MISS a visit to this island along with its beautiful gardens, fantastic rooms and stunning white peacocks. It was definitely one of the highlights of our Insight Tour of Italy this spring.

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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314 reviews from our community

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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“One of the top gardens in the world, with a spectacular villa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2011

This little island, one of 3 of the Borromeo islands in Lago Maggiore, is still owned by the Borromeo family from Milano. Their ancestors designed a magnificent villa with attached terraced gardens to cover the entire island. This is an "over the top" Italian villa with each room decorated individually, including a grand 3 story "entrance" hall that was only completed in the 1800's. Today, the Villa has been (mostly) restored, the family reportedly spends the 3 months of summer there on the upper floors, and most of the rest of the island still contains the gardens. There is a wonderful scale model in the villa of the original design with a grand canal entrance way which did not survive. We did not allow nearly enough time to absorb these two sights (recommend at least 3 hours on the island). I would recommend either using the audio guide or booking a an English speaking tour (available from Stresa, either individually or in combo with Isola Madre). The gardens are best in April/early May for the azaleas and rhododendron (we were there mid May and most of them had faded). The roses were just finished with their first blooms and preparing for the second. The garden was expertly maintained and the terracing was beautifully landscaped. The white peacocks were stunning. Pick a lovely sunny morning and enjoy the visit! Then take the ferry to Isola dei Pescatori for lunch or stay over there for dinner then back to Stresa or your hotel. We took the regular ferry from Isola dei Pescatori (we were staying there) to Isola Bella and then on to Stresa.

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Top Contributor
532 reviews 532 reviews
434 attraction reviews
Reviews in 115 cities Reviews in 115 cities
1,074 helpful votes 1,074 helpful votes
“Historical gem on an island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2008

Beautiful island that is worth a visit. This island is dominated by the Borromeo Palace and the surrounding gardens. A tour of the former is worth it, as history here ranges from the Popes to Mussolini, who met here with Laval of France and MacDonald of Britain in an attempt to stave off WWII.

This attraction is accessible from Stresa or Isola Superiore, as the boat that servcies it runs in a loop between all of the islands. You can easily tour all three in a day.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Beautiful Isola Bella”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2007

We visited Isola Bella several years ago but it remains one of the places I 'visit' when I want to think of something beautiful. We took the ferry over from Baveno. It was drizzling, so the walkway along the coast reflected the green vegetation. The grounds were beautifully landscaped. I remember that birds of all types -- big birds with plumes -- were standing under the hedges to stay out of the soft rain. The home itself was both magnificent and warm, overlooking the bay and Baveno itself. When we left, we took the ferry to Isola Piscatore, which is a small fishing island with the narrow winding streets tourists find so enchanting. There were cats everywhere, and colorful boats pulled up on the shore. We had a lovely lunch there. It was a great day.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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