Things to Do Today – Gardens around the Lake – Part 2

Overlooking the Lake in Belgirate, the garden is a magnificent terrace of roses, magnolia and rhodedenron which creates a colourful backdrop to the zoological garden created by the Marquis Pallavicini in the 1950’s.

Villa Pallavicino - dall'aria

Villa Pallavicino - a view of the House

Villa Pallavicino - A view of the Lake

Broad lawns, shady avenues and open spaces planted with roses, oleanders, magnolias, daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons blend perfectly with the majestic, mature trees of the wooded areas. The zoo with its more than 40 species of animals from all over the world is the major visitor attraction: black swans, rare species of duck, grey crowned cranes, deer, silver pheasants, cervi-capra,zebras, Bennet kangaroos, and peacocks add their life and colour to this natural stage looking out over Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains.

Access: Follow the Lake road from Arona to Stresa,. Villa Pallavicino is just outside Stresa on the left.. Leave your car in the car park on the right.      Email:
Phone +39 0323 31533

Situated in Verbania, on the Castagnola Promontory, this garden is a judicious mixture of architecture and nature.

Villa San Remigio

Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the Villa owes its existence to two lovers determined to create their “dream garden”: the Marquis Silvio della Valle di Casanova, a Neapolitan poet and musician, and his wife, the Irish painter Sophia Browne. The couple were inspired by the great Italian villas of the Renaissance and Baroque periods to create a place where art and natural beauty might coexist in perfect harmony.
Flights of steps, avenues and narrow passages, with sudden glimpses of the splendour of the lake, lead to the garden of the Hours, recalling memories of happy times past, the garden of Joy, full of bright colours, the garden of Sadness, a shadowy representation of melancholy, the garden of Memories, symbolising nostalgia for the past, and the garden of Sighs, where the spirit merges with the surroundings. Finally there is the Hortus Conclusus, next to the little Romanesque church of San Remigio, with its intimate atmosphere of meditation.

The beautiful, famed Alpinia Botanic Garden is located in the pretty hamlet of Alpino between Stresa and Gignese.

Alpinia Gardens - The Alchilea Clavene - Photo Lazzarini

Its exceptional view, which sweeps from the Borromean Gulf to the chain of the Swiss Alps, made Alpino a favoured holiday spot from the mid 19th century for the European aristocracy as well as artists who found here inspiration for their work.
The superb Alpinia Botanic Garden was started in 1934 during the Fascist period, under the name of Duxia, by Igino Ambrosini and Giuseppe Rossi. The garden, at an altitude of 800 metres, is extremely interesting to naturalists due to its huge, varied collection of botanic species from the Alps and the Alpine foothills, as well as from the Caucasus, China and Japan. The most valuable plants in this spectacular botanic garden are specimens of trees and shrubs, some of them rare.

Alpinia Gardens - The Allium Montanum - Photo Lazzarini

The garden has recently been extended to include a wetland area for aquatic plants. There is a spring of oligomineral water near the entrance to the gardens.

Access:  from the A26 exit at Brovello Carpugnino; continue in the direction of Gignese and follow the signs for Alpino-Mottarone. Or follow the Lake road from Arona to Stresa and then turn left for Alpino-Mottarone. Email:

ISOLE di BRISSAGO  – Switzerland
Isola Brissago, Porto Ronco: Just over the border into Switzerland, an island botanical garden begun in 1885 by a Russian baroness takes advantage of the micro-climate provided by lake waters to keep it at above-freezing temperatures year round.

The Brissago Islands - Ascona

Tel. +41 (0)91 791 43 61
Fax +41 (0)91 791 07 63
The Estense Palace Gardens of Varese are among the finest in the north of Italy, and remain one of the main tourist attractions of the city.

Villa Estense - Varese

The park surrounds the palace in an intimate embrace, and is laid out on a strict perspective plan, where leafy covered walks vary and embellish the severity of the design.
A large pond is a feature of the space in front of the palace, along with a number of large flower bedswith carefully tended flowers and shrubs.
The garden is full of variety, in the French style, with landscaping, avenues, paths, and lawns.

Access: From the Lake take A26 Motorway direction of Milan, junction for Varese take motorway for Varese A8 exit Varese

  •  International Camelia Exhibition – Verbania exhibition of 300 varieties of camellias, sale of books on floral arguments, perfumes and cosmetics and tasting of camellia tea. Web:
  •  Citrus Fruit Exhibition – Cannero Riviera


  • “Rhododendron Exhibition” held at Villa Giulia in Verbania .


  •  Tulip Week – Villa Taranto


  • “Cactus Folies” is a show of rare and collectors’ succulents held every July in the beautiful exhibition rooms of the 19th century Villa Giulia in Verbania.
  • Permanent Exhibition of Dahlias. Botanic gardens of Villa Taranto in Verbania from the end of July until the end of October in the Dahlias Labyrinth more of 1500 plants in flower, divided into 300 varieties. A wonderful mass of colours, size and shapes without compare will offer you a unique and moving experience.


  • Garden Book Week – Villa Taranto


  • Winter Camelia Show The camelia, the flower which has become the emblem of Lake Maggiore, is celebrated every December on the occasion of the National Winter Camellia Show. Held in Villa Giulia, the show includes a hundred camellias from the top collections in the Lake Maggiore area, and is the result of collaboration between the Consortium of Typical Flowers of Lake Maggiore and Verbania Town Council.

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