Borromean Islands, the ‘pearls’ of the lake

Isola Bella
Isola Bella
Located just an hour’s drive from Milan, the Piedmontese side of Lake Maggiore reveals several of its treasures - the Borromean Islands - filled with gardens and palaces: an ideal destination for a relaxing getaway.

Where can you find a location where taste, history and culture are combined, possibly on the banks of a lake to fully enjoy the beauty of a summer’s day? Located just a short distance from Milan, this wish comes true at the Borromean Islands: three historical and natural treasures owned by the aristocratic Borromeo family, which can be visited from March to October.

Among these, the most notable one is the Isola Bella, easily accessible by boat from Stresa. In addition to its lush and terraced Italian gardens hosting the majestic ‘Teatro Massimo’ adorned with obelisks and statues, the island is home to the princess-like residence of Palazzo Borromeo. This striking Baroque palace boasts more than 20 rooms featuring original furnishings, armour pieces and over 130 works of art that can be admired thanks to guided tours.

From Stresa, you can head to the Isola Superiore, also known as the Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island). Measuring just 350 meters in length, this tiny island with its narrow, picturesque, cobbled streets is the only inhabited island of the three. Thanks to its abundance of fresh fish, visitors here can enjoy local lake fish specialities at any of the island’s numerous restaurants.

Just a little further on, you’ll be enchanted by the exotic beauty of the Isola Madre, whose lush vegetation, rare botanical species and brightly coloured birdlife offer an ideal landscape for nature lovers looking for a break and outdoor relax.

If you’re near Milan, a one-day trip like this is surely worth it!