Isola Bella (Beautiful Island)
The Beautiful Island is one of the three in the Borromean Gulf; at approximately 400 meters (1/4 mile) off the coast of Stresa, it can be reached in a few minutes by boat from the piers of Verbania, Baveno, Stresa, and Arona.
Count Vitaliano Borromeo and his children came to the island in 1632 and began construction on the imposing Baroque palace and the majestic scenery in the gardens for which the island is widely known. The luxurious fountains and white peacocks that roam freely around the lawns also contribute to the enchanting allure of this place.
Isola Madre (Mother Island)
The Mother Island is largest of the Borromean Islands and is covered with an immense garden full of rare plants and exotic flowers, where peacocks, parrots, and pheasants live and roam in freedom. The Palace from the sixteenth century was opened to the public in 1978. It is an interesting landmark because of the reconstruction of the period in its milieu as well as for its collection of porcelain and marionette dolls from the 1600s to the 1800s.
Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island)
The Isola Superiore (Upper Island), commonly called Fishermen’s Island, is located to the north of the Beautiful Island. A small island that has more or less the same dimensions as a rock, known as “the Malghera”, separates Fishermen’s Island from the Beautiful Island. The only one of the three Borromean islands that is inhabited year-round, Fishermen’s Island is home to a small village of fifty inhabitants characterized by a small town square that can be reached via the island’s tightly packed, winding alleys; the parish Church dedicated to Saint Victor can be seen at the center of the island.