Lake Maggiore

This lake reminds me very much of Lake Tahoe. It is a resort area with expensive houses and beautiful views. It is at only 750′ elevation so there are many subtropical plantings here.

Our hotel grounds


With over a half million visitors every year this island, in the middle of Lake Maggiore, is a very popular place for the palace and the garden. The palace was completed in 1671.

I walked through the palace very fast not understanding the Italian that the guides were speaking but taking a few photos of the amazing art collection and trying not to get lost in the labyrinthine lines of rooms and tunnels.

The garden is a series of 10 cascading terraces built on a rock. All the plants and soil had to be hauled in. There are 8 gardeners and a foreman on Isola Bella.

Almost every part of the garden has a magnificent view of the lake.

Climbing Roses play a very important part in the garden by covering the walls and pillars.

Annuals and perennials add to the effect of the garden by adding colors to the path edges and pots.

Several white peacocks live in the garden.

Interesting Plants:

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Clivia miniata

Flowering Onion (Allium ‘Globemaster’)

Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa)


This garden is about 32 acres and has one of the world’s greatest collections of temperate plants.

The gardens were first opened in 1952 after planting for 20 years. There are about 32 acres of land, 9000 different plants and 11 full time gardeners.

Dwarf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Kiyohime’)

Acer pictum ‘Usugimo’

The gardens at Villa Taranto have one of the most extensive collections of Maples. I counted over 50 of them on their plant list which contains over 400 pages.

The annual and perennial beds are always filled with color; 30,000 Tulips are planted here each year.

The Rhododendrons were in full bloom and the roses were starting.

Color in pots

Interesting Plants:

Caesalpinia sepiaria

Pterostyrax hispida

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Japanese Iris (Iris ensata)

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)

Potentilla fruticosa

Ground Orchid (Bletilla jacinthina)

Next: Switzerland

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