a garden on the lake": this is the image of itself with which Verbania, in its marvellous natural setting on the Borromean Gulf, welcomes visitors. Gardens and parks are a major tourist attraction of the area, an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing holiday with, as backdrop, a landscape of breathtaking beauty and harmony.
In the 19th century Lake Maggiore was discovered by literary and artistic travellers, whose descriptions of the area helped to make it a favourite destination of the European upper classes. The lake, with the
Borromean Islands set into it like jewels, which so fascinated these Úlite tourists, now has a public boat service, and the palaces and gardens of the islands are easily reached from Verbania.
Following the example of the Borromeo family, members of the English aristocracy and the wealthy Lombard bourgeoisie built the profusion of summer residences which were to have a profound impact on the landscape, and still adorn the lake shores today.
Some of these outstanding gardens are open to visitors.
In Verbania, the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens cover an area of 16 hectares and boast around 20,000 species of plants from all over the world. Villa San Remigio located close to Villa Taranto, is surrounded by a park of 8 hectares, a marvellous example of an eclectic garden.
The garden of Villa Giulia, directly on the lake shore, is a public park.
This intense interest in the landscape is reflected not only in the very many parks and gardens of the area, but also in the Museo del Paesaggio (founded in 1909). The art gallery (literally “Landscape Museum”) is an expression of the art and the priceless inheritance in terms of landscape of the Verbania area.
While some parts of the environment have remained in their centuries-old natural state, notably the
Valgrande National Park and the Fondo Toce Nature reserve, the lake shore and the islands have been transformed and enhanced by landscaping art.