The Borromean Islands are a group of three small islands and two islets in the Italian part of Lago Maggiore, located in the western arm of the lake, between Verbania to the north and Stresa to the south. Together totalling just 50acres in area, they are a major local tourist attraction for their picturesque setting.
Their name derives from the Borromeo family, which started acquiring them in the early 16th century and still owns the majority of them today.
Isola Bella, named for Isabella, countess Borromeo, was originally a largely barren rock; after first improvements and buildings, opened by count Carlo III between 1629 and 1652, his son Vitaliano the 6th built an attractive summer palace, bringing in vast quantities of soil in order to build up a system of ten terraces for the garden. The unfinished building displays paintings by Lombard artists and Flemish tapestries.Isola Madre, the largest of the three, is also noted for its gardens, which have been maintained since about 1823 in an English style. Its palace, though uninhabited, is splendidly furnished with 16th- to 19th-century Italian masterpieces and paintings.Isola dei Pescatori or Isola Superiore is now the only inhabited island in the archipelago. It has a fishing village, which in 1971 had a population of 208.Isolino di San Giovanni is located just off Pallanza to the north.The tiny uninhabited rock of Malghera, with an area of only 200 square meters, lies between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori and offers bushy vegetation and a small beach.
Plan your visit to Isole Borromee and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Lake Maggiore road trip tool .
Tours To Isole Borromee
4-Day Italian Lakes Tour from Milan BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $1,097
Duration: 4 days
Aperitif Sunset Cruise on the Borromean Gulf BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $181
Duration: 45 minutes
Isole Borromee Reviews
It is absolutely a must visit if you are close or in the area. Such a rich palace in such good shape,with so much rich objects you cannot find anywhere... more »
My husband and I had no idea what awaited us when we began our tour of the palace and gardens. We were blown away by the opulence and the extraordinary craftmanship of the palace and by the beauty... more »
Good to visit all 3 islands only if you like to explore local culture. These are actually nothing but small towns. From Stressa station, you take exit and by walk go further in the same direction of your train. There you will get ferries to visit all these 3 islands and also a cable car to go to the summit of Mottarone mountain(a must visit). So visiting Borromean Islands is strolling around the 3 small towns. Go there if you want to witness the local culture and how do they manage to live with such a small setup.
Very scenic beauty..... must visit. Superb weather . I visited in April end.
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