Isola Madre

lago isola madre  - dimore storiche italiane

Isola Madre is the biggest of the Verbano islands. It raises from the water with an enticing silhouette traced in the luxurious vegetation that covers the greatest part of it, as long as the squared palazzo in the southern part, which is also the highest. Isola Madre overlooks the Pallanza shores and, compared to Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, looks secluded from the view. It was also the first to be inhabited. The first projects concerning the transformation of the island into a place of delights and a private residence started with Earl Lancillotto Borromeo, who choose to settle there for the mild weather. Today the island is a little green Eden renowned all over the world for the refined botanical collections.

isola madre borromeo  - dimore storiche italiane

The history of Isola Madre is bound to the Borromeo family since 1502. The first transformation works to create a place of delights and a private residence began by the will of Lancillotto Borromeo. In 1542, the island had started to look like a garden. Forty years later Renato the First Borromeo started the works on the palazzo leaving the direction to Pellegrino Tibaldi, a very notorious figure in the Lombard culture and a trusted architect of Saint Carlo. At the end of 1700 the island appeared just like today, a place of peace and rest thanks to a mild weather and a luxurious nature. In 1826 were built several greenhouses along with the family chapel (from 1858) located on the eastern side of the great plaza, named after the chapel itself. The name Madre, still in use, comes from the historical supremacy of the island in the Verbano and also, it is said, from the benevolent mood of the mother of Earl Renato, Margherita Trivulzio. Chinas and liveries, family portraits, tapestries and four-poster beds embellished with rich brocades: this are some of the details to create a perfect fresco of the courtly life you will taste inside the palazzo. The Isola Madre’s palazzo, opened to the public in 1978, exposes furniture gathered from many Borromeo residences. The palazzo drives you into an historical trip made of the environments of the lifestyle during XVI and XVII centuries. The particular beauty of the Venetian living room with embellished walls a la trompe l’oeil reminds us of a blossoming gazebo. You cannot miss the little marionettes theaters of house Borromeo, whose representations, mostly for recreational purposes, involved all members of the family since the middle XVII, friends and servants included. The great windows offer the view of the Borromeo gulf with Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, and the sight appears so graceful that your eyes and mind will wonder. During 1500, the island was redeemed from the Novara’s diocese. After only two years the works started to convert the biggest of all the islands of the Borromeo’s gulf first into an orchard, then an olive tree grove and, at last, into a citrus grove.
Today the Isola Madre is a botanical garden like there is no other, famous for the rare vegetable essences hailing from all over the world. This British-fashioned park offers shady boulevards where you can promenade or stop by a fine telescope to enjoy the panorama. Amidst green slopes, the botanist is provided with a great variety of subjects to test himself and the tourist can cherish the continuous blooming, result of a hard work.

borromeo dimora isola  - dimore storiche italiane

Isola Madre will be open every day from 24th March to 22nd October 2017.
Opening times: every day from 9:00 AM to 17:30 PM (last entrance).

The island is provided with a bookshop where you can buy exclusive books and guides, postcards, prints and quality souvenirs.
A comfortable and panoramic cafeteria is available to provide visitors with something refreshing.

Services :
Tours In Italy
Food And Wine

General Info

  • Swimming Pool :
  • Wellness SPA :
  • Facilities for Disabled People :
  • Wi-Fi :
  • Pets Allowed :
  • Park or Garden :


  • Tickets : Price N.A.
  • Open on : Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat,Sun
  • Opening times : 9:00-17:30 (ultimo ingresso)
  • Bookshop :
  • Guided Tours :
Isola Madre

Region : Piedmont

Province : VB

City : Stresa

Address : Palazzo Borromeo Isola Madre

ZIP Code : 28838

Visit Website

Telephone: 0039 0323 30556

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