Fodor's Expert Review Isola Madre

Stresa and the Isole Borromee Garden Fodor's Choice

All of this Borromean island is a botanical garden, with a season that stretches from late March to late October due to the climatic protection of the mighty Alps and the tepid waters of Lake Maggiore. The cacti and palm trees here, so far north and so near the border with Switzerland, are a beautiful surprise. Take time to see the profusion of exotic trees and shrubs running down to the shore in every direction. Two special times to visit are April, for the camellias, and May, for azaleas and rhododendrons. Also on the island is a 16th-century palazzo, where the Borromeo family still lives for part of the year. The palazzo has an antique puppet theater on display, complete with string puppets, prompt books, and elaborate scenery designed by Alessandro Sanquirico, who was a scenographer at La Scala in Milan.

Garden Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Isola Madre, Piedmont  Italy


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: €17 (palace and garden), Closed early Nov.–mid Mar.

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