Walls of Isola Bella

Isola Bella, a small island on Lago Maggiore, Italy, was once a fishing village before being taken over by count Carlo III Borromeo (c.17th) who built an elaborate palazzo and gardens dedicated to it’s name sake, his wife Isabella D’Adda.

Folklore has it that the ladies of the Borromeo household asked the Count to build a residence on the island so they wouldn’t have to listen to the blood curdling cries of prisoners in the dungeons of his castle on the mainland.

On a second visit to Isola Bella, I was less drawn to the ostentatious Baroque gardens, the richly decorated rooms and grottoes and preferred to wander the shaded, winding and narrow back streets where less celebrated artefacts caught my eye.


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