Isola Madre Lake Maggiore
Isola Madre is the place of mystery enveloped in the splendid lush gardens that cover the patch of land. The most remote of the islands of Lake Maggiore, reachable and visited by navigation. Flowers, age-old plants, songbirds and a splendid villa that dominates the landscape.
Historical sources indicate that in the middle of the 9th century the church has a square apse, a cemetery on the island.
It is not excluded that there could also be a small military preparation, in analogy and assonance with the castrum of Sant ‘Angelo located on the Isolino di San Giovanni. Certainly we know that there were olive groves, whose production was perhaps used for sacred uses.
Cultivation of citrus fruits
Beginning in 1501 Lancillotto Borromeo, one of the five sons of Giovanni III and Cleofe Pio of Carpi, introduced the first cultivations of citrus fruits brought from Liguria together with a gardener (“hortolano”) to the Isola Madre to take care of them.
He ordered the construction of a first nucleus of the aristocratic residence, which was subsequently enlarged in the Renaissance in the 1680s by Renato Borromeo. These were the years in which the exponents of a “Hortolani” dynasty, the Della Torre, took over the care of the gardens and resided at Isola Madre until the early 19th century.
Starting around 1823-1825, by decision of the accounts of Giberto V and Vitaliano IX Borromeo Arese, they transformed the fields held in orchards into romantic English gardens, which is still considered among the best examples of this art in Italy.
The Borromeo Palace was built in the 16th century on the remains of the primitive church. The cemetery and its garden in the English Chapel of 1858, unlike that of Isola Bella, does not contain cenotaphs or funeral monuments.
The large and spectacular 8-hectare English garden, designed on a previous citrus grove, productive until the end of the eighteenth century.
Famous is the “scale of the dead”, which in recent decades has been enriched with an important wisteria collection.