The Taranto Villa’s botanical gardens are located in Verbania and cover an area of approximately 16 hectares (40 acres), hosting tens of thousands of plants. 7 km (4.5 miles) of paths run through the gardens; these paths are actually quite famous all over the world as they are considered some of the most beautiful in Europe.
The Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn is a key figure in the history of the gardens. He was passionate about botany and loved Italy. McEacharn arrived in Italy in 1928 with the intention of finding suitable land on which he could prepare and build a vast garden; in 1930, he purchased a property named La Crocetta (The Crosstree) in Pallanza, on the Castagnola cape.
The villa is not open to visitors as it has been the seat of the Prefecture of the Verbano Cusio Ossola province since 1996. The botanical gardens are sub-divided into various zones such as greenhouses, terraced gardens, flowerbeds, and herbariums, and include species of flowers that come from all over the world, some of which are very rare.
The Gardens have been open to the public from April to October since 1952. There is a fee to enter, and the visitors’ gate sees the passage of over 150,000 individuals a year. You can reach the gardens not only by land, but also coming from the lake; in fact, a special stop for the Navigazione Lago Maggiore (Navigation across the Great Lake) stands at the foot of the Villa.