Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Gardens at Isola Bella

Travel + Leisure called it "Perhaps the finest example of 17th-century Italian Baroque garden art." 

Outside, the palace at Isola Bella is surrounded by a lush green magnificence  gardens that are sculpted and ornamented with statuary and white peacocks wandering the premises as if they own the place.  

"After visiting the palace you enter the spectacular gardens which are on ten terraces and include an open air theatre which has statues depicting the four elements, the “Giardino del Amore” with geometrically designed hedging, water-lilies and citrus trees the Azalea Garden and the “Piano della Canfora” which is named for the 150-year-old laurel tree growing there. In English style garden, the “Giardino dei Fiori” you will find lotus flowers. At the highest point of the garden you will see a great unicorn which is the symbol of the Borromeo family."  [from]

                 This is flanked on each side by a staircase. 
Didn't get to see this bird flaunt its  plumage.

Each direction you look has something of beauty to see and the statues are complemented by tall cone-shaped evergreens against a backdrop of gorgeous lake waters and mountain peaks in the distance.  In each corner of the terraced place there are hidden gems — a bird aviary, a lovely chair of stone carved to look as if it were made of branches, and a sweet gift shop and small cafe.

We enjoy the rest of our visit — wandering the grounds, admiring all we see.  Marilyn has been waiting for us outside the palace (having seen it many a time before) and before we leave, I walk down the stone embankment to step into the blue-green waters that are cool to my feet after so much walking, walking, walking.

Back in the village of Stresa we stop for delicious gelato, granitas, and a little shopping.  I'm pleased to find a small shop — Dubois — that specializes in toys and games for children but has some lovely inexpensive jewelry. 


I survey the gorgeous vistas all around us on the boat ride back to catch our train — all in all — a wonderful, wonderful day.

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