Isola Bella (beautiful island) is one of the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore and is .2 miles long by .25 miles wide. It is divided between the Palace, its Italian garden and a small fishing village. Until 1632 the island was a rocky crag occupied by a tiny fishing village. That year Carlo III of the influential House of Borromeo began the construction of a palazzo dedicated to his wife, Isabella D’Adda, from whom the island takes its name. The works were interrupted around the middle of the century when the Duchy of Milan was struck by a devastating outbreak of the plague. Construction resumed when the island passed to Carlo’s sons, Cardinal Giberto III and Vitaliano VI; the latter who, with the financial backing of his elder brother, turned the villa into a place of sumptuous parties and theatrical events for the nobility of Europe.
The family still lives in the palace during certain times of the year. The second picture shows part of the family crest which is created in flowers in the private garden (we got to see it through a window). The palace itself is mainly baroque or classical based on what was popular at the time (it took many years to complete). One of the items on display was a guest registry with signatures from Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt. They did not ask us to sign the registry, we are not sure why.