Isola Bella .. such a pretty name 🙂 … is one of the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore. The islands take their name from the aristocratic Borromean family who owned three islands in the 16th and 17th centuries .. Bella, Madre and dei Pescatori (also known as Isola Superiore)
The small harbour of Baveno was right next to our hotel – Grand Hotel Dino – where we boarded our boat to Isola Bella ..
Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island) .. also known as Isola Superiore – 375m x 100m. A fishing community inhabit the island
Isola Bella is 320m x 400m. In 1632 Carlo III began construction of a four-storey ‘Lombard Baroque’ palazzo dedicated to his wife Isabella D’Adda. The project ‘saw palace and garden brought together in the form of an imaginary ship.’ Carlo’s sons took over the project turning the villa into a place of ‘ sumptuous parties and theatrical events for the nobility of Europe.’ Construction lasted 40 years.
We cruised slowly round the island viewing it from all sides. Magnificent buildings with tiered and manicured gardens. Quite unique !!!
Unicorn ridden by Eros stands at the top of the pyramid tiered gardens ..
No photography was allowed beyond the ballroom, sadly ..
From there we walked through several rooms decorated with paintings, furniture, plasterwork and crystal chandeliers. Very ornate .. very extravagant .. very sumptuous .. very grand!!!!! The hall/party room is a huge circular domed room, two stories high, decorated in pale blue and white .. like Wedgewood china from top to bottom!! Mind-boggling!!!!
Photos from Pinterest : l-r .. Isola Bella, party room, ‘grotto’ rooms
There is a Medals Room .. I think this was the room that also had horses saddles etc … a music room, a tapestry hall displaying rare Flemish tapestries from the 16th century. The most bizarre rooms are several ‘grottos’ decorated with coloured pebbles and shells, reflecting nautical themes. They are floor to ceiling cement and stone. Very odd ! Looked like someone came with a giant icing tube and squeezed those icing florets all over the place!!! But they were very cool in there .. in fact quite chilly!
A glimpse of my post to follow … the extraordinary Italianate garden on Isola Bella ..