Claudia Ruschena
Guida turistica - cell. phone ++39/338/6358857 

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Excursions on lake Maggiore with guided tours to the gardens of Villa Taranto, of Island Bella, of Island Madre and of Stresa


Botanical gardens:what to see

An excursion on Lake Maggiore and Lake of Orta has something to offer you at any time of the year, but there are seasons when the flowering is really extraordinary!
A guided tour in the botanical garden of Villa Taranto at Pallanza will enchant you with large numbers of camellias, rhododendrons, tulips, blue and violet water-lilies and the dahlia maze. Island Madre is a real garden of Eden with magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons and hydrangeas, among which golden and silver pheasants and white and blue peacocks run free. An excursion to Island Bella allows you to see a spectacular Italian garden as well as the famous Manor house Borromeo. Villa Pallavicino at Stresa cherishes a charming rose garden, one of the most beautiful ones on Lake Maggiore. Alpinia, over Stresa, has a is a precious garden dedicated to the flora of the Alps.

gardens photos

The botanical garden of Villa Taranto at Pallanza

Villa Taranto, tulip maze This is always a very successful excursion. Not only has this garden a great botanical importance, but it is also one of the most beautiful ones on Lake Maggiore, a real park to enjoy in every season. In this luxuriant garden there are Camellias and flowering cherry-trees, huge azaleas and rhododendron bushes, a multi-colored sea of tulips, the dahlia maze, the giant water-lilies, the flowering of the American magnolias and of the hydrangeas, the conifer drive and many other features.

The botanical garden on Island Madre in the Gulf Borromeo

Garden of Island Madre, camellias

Situated in the centre of the Gulf Borromeo, the botanical garden of tropical plants on Island Madre was laid out from the 19th century on and it can be compared to a garden of Eden with magnolias, azaleas, rhododendrons,wisterias and hydrangeas where golden and silver pheasants and white and blue peacocks run free. Here flower different varieties of Camellia, but the main attraction is the magnificent Kashmir cypress.



The botanical garden on Island Bella in the Gulf Borromeo

Garden of Island Bella, view from the terrace This island is close to Stresa and it attracts thousands of visitors every season. It was already famous in the 17th century, when its Italian garden was inaugurated. It is one of the oldest gardens in Italy and one of the most charming ones on Lake Maggiore. On Island Bella grow subtropical plants like camellias, magnolias, kalmia, huge shrubs of azaleas, yews and box trimmed in geometrical form and the prestigious collection of Coleus. From the top of the terraced gardens, rich in obelisks and statues, there are superb views of the Gulf Borromeo and Stresa.


Botanical garden of Villa Pallavicino in Stresa

This garden is situated to the South of Stresa and welcomes the visitors with cypress arcades. Climbing to the top of the garden, among secular sequoia and tulip trees, among rhododendron and hydrangea bushes, the visitor has a good panoramic view of the Gulf Borromeo, of the Islands Borromeo, of Pallanza and the surrounding mountains.
The rose garden is spectacular, it is one of the most beautiful on Lake Maggiore.
In this landscape garden there are a true waterfall, a wood and animals: in the garden there is also a small zoo where you can find exotic animals, like many birds, wallabies, little goats, lamas, zebras and fallow deer.


Botanical garden Alpinia over Stresa

Garden of Alpinia, entrance This garden is dedicated to the flora of the Alps, and it is one of the most important ones in Italy for the preservation of plants adapted to live in difficult climates. It is therefore situated at 800 m. above the sea level, the boundary between the hill and the mountain.
Here you do not have to look for big plants, but for small jewels, flowers that are showy in Summer, and also for small masterpieces that have to be watched very closely to be appreciated. The high mountain plants have to face several problems and difficulties to survive and many of them are rare.
There is also a wood with the autochtonal plants of the lakes and a pool with water plants.
Beyond the flowerings the garden provides one of the best views in the world of Lake Maggiore, the Gulf Borromeo, the Islands Borromeo, the Alps and some Lombard lakes.



Why a guided tour?

While it is a delight both for the eyes and the senses to walk admiring the blooming, it is also very interesting to find out what lies behind the garden we are admiring: who planned it, lived there, loved it? Claudia Ruschena tourist guide A guided tour allows you to discover some of the secrets of the plants; in fact, practically every plant keeps one or more secrets and after a guided tour you will probably start looking at them in a different way.
For the success of your holiday, trust to the competence, the experience and the professionalism of a guide qualified for the practice of the profession, who has been working with passion and sense of humor for many years. Every guided tour will be organized with care, in order to grant your requests and to come up to your expectations. Thanks to the deep knowledge of the territory and of the right times to visit it, there will always be a special care in comparison with the usual package tours.






The botanical garden of Villa Taranto at Pallanza

Every package tour on Lake Maggiore should include this garden, whose look changes in every season of the year.
In spite of having being created recently, from the thirties, this garden is luxuriant thanks to the competence of its creator, the Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn, who, like many other fellow countrymen, could not resist the charm of Lake Maggiore. To create this wonderful park he had to remodel the ground, to enlarge the property, to look for or buy in person hundreds of seeds and exotic plants and to bring them to Italy. His dream was to plant out as many subtropical plants as possible and to allow them to survive creating a wonderful park and his dream was fulfilled. Visiting this garden is the proof that the dreams, if strongly wished, come true!
In Villa Taranto you can walk among clouds of flowers of the Asiatic magnolias, that burst out with flowers at the same time as also camellias and the flowering cherry-trees with their delicate colors blossom. Or you can walk through magnificent azalea and rhododendron trees and shrubs of every size and color, a show that is unique in Europe, because in Villa Taranto there are rare and wonderful varieties and species, most of which flower when thousands of tulips build a multi-colored sea.
Or you could walk in the dahlia maze (there are 350 of them!), man-size plants, admire the giant water-lilies in the hothouse and the blue and violet water-lilies, together with the flowering of the American magnolias and of the hydrangeas. In Autumn the exotic trees create amazing chromatic effects with all the shades of yellow, orange, red and brown.
A guided tour in Villa Taranto will allow you to appreciate this garden, especially because there are many varieties and species of plants that you seldom find elsewhere in Europe. With the guided tour you can find out little or big secrets about plants and flowers, their use, their behaviour and their origin and you can better appreciate the different gardens that build this unique, big park: the conifer drive, the Japanese maple tree drive, the mausoleum, the terraced gardens, the pergola, the rhododendron and azalea woods and the little valley.
Walking among the wonderful flowers, always different according to each season, you forget everything else and it seems to be in a heavenly oasis, a delight both for the eyes and the senses.


The botanical garden on Island Madre in the Borromeo Gulf

Thanks to the very good position, in the centre of Borromeo Gulf on Lake Maggiore, Island Madre has always been cultivated, at the beginning with useful plants and from the 16th C. on with ornamental plants like jasmines, roses, oleanders and citrus plants imported from Genoa.
The botanical garden with exotic plants that we admire today was created in the 19th century. At the beginning only camellias were grown, in hundreds. In the late 19th century many camellias were replaced with several other subtropical plants and today every season offers different flowerings.
Among the charming plants that have transformed the island into a tropical park, also thanks to the colored birds that run free in the garden, stands out the magnificent Kashmir Cypress with the blue-green color of its hanging foliage. This is the most beautiful tree in Europe.
Thanks to the several varieties of Camellias on Island Madre, many of them created here, one of the best seasons to visit it is early Spring, when you can admire flowers of all the gradations of pink, simple, semi-double and double, big and small flowers, even some camellias that are completely white.
According to the season flower magnolias, azaleas, rhododendrons or hydrangeas.
On the island grow luxuriant bamboos, the majestic bald cypress, the gingko, palms, eucalyptus, banana-trees and citrus plants; every plant has its charm, but no one excels the magnificent Cypress of Kashmir, a tree that attracts your attention for the blue-green color of its hanging foliage.
Among the shrubs appear multi-colored birds, that run free in the garden: golden and silver pheasants and white and blue peacocks. It seems to be in the garden of Eden.


The botanical garden on Island Bella close to Stresa

You can not go on excursion on Lake Maggiore without visiting Island Bella! On Island Bella the guided tour begins with the Manor house of the Borromeo and culminates with the spectacular Italian garden, where nature is subdued to the whims of men, who shape it in geometrical and regular forms.
While the sole plants in an Italian garden are the evergreens, at the beginning of the 19th century both on Island Madre and Bella were imported subtropical plants like camellia trees, camphor laurels, magnolias, cork oaks and huge white and pink azalea shrubs, one of the main attractions on the island in Spring.
In summer and in autumn you can admire the prestigious collection of Coleus. The head-gardener of Island Bella was awarded in 2014 a price for his varieties of Coleus.
There are also the white peacocks, that build a pleasant contrast with the green of the lawns.
Drawing inspiration from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the garden of Island Bella consists of a series of terraced gardens decorated with obelisks, statues, balustrades and grottoes. Characteristic of the Italian garden are the evergreens, like box and yew, trimmed in geometrical form.
On the terraces facing South grow citrus trees with their juicy fruits: oranges, lemons, citrons, grapefruits and their varieties.
Also the birds here are the result of the man’s whim: all the peacocks are white: what a contrast with the green of the lawns!
Climbing on the highest terrace you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Gulf Borromeo and Stresa and admire the perspective of the terraced gardens.



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