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Monday, August 2, 2010

Isola Bella

From Isola Pescatori, it only takes us 10 minutes to go its neighbour, Isola Bella. If one physical condition is good, it is very possible to swim across from one island to another.

BTW, I like the name of Isola Bella, for it sounds pretty.

Isola Bella is a popular tourist attraction. The island is 320 meters long by 400 meters wide and is entirely occupied by the Palazzo Borromeo and its Italianate garden. It was a private property until 1990, when it was bought by the Region of Sicily, being turned into a nature reserve, administrated by the Italian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Until 1632, Isola Bella was a rocky crag occupied by a tiny fishing village, but that year Carlo III from 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.

Palazzo Borromeo, the main thing to see in Isola Bella

What a big Palace. I wonder why Carlo III built it so big for? Won't they feel empty to live in such a big mansion?

At around 3 pm, the ferry had brought us to Isola Bella.

Overlooking Isola Pescatori which is less than 1km away from here.

A lady was working on her aprons. Despite many tourists stopped by to watch this, none of them approached her to check for the price. Or perhaps she was too concentrated that people felt shy to disturb her?

Anyway, I think she is doing this mostly for hobby but not for money.

Same like Isola Pescatori, there are many nice restaurants in Isola Bella.

The 2nd floor is opened for dining, but the 3rd floor is for living, I think.

Another nice restaurant facing the lake side.

Tea break at 3pm is not common?

We swayed from the promenade and walked up this very narrow stairs for a look....

I felt like traveling back to the ancient time because everything here looks very original, literally means old.

I guess most of the houses here were idle. What a waste.

Bumped into a cat who sat there for no purpose. Anyway, who need a purpose to sit there?

Somebody's backyard. But not a sound we could hear from here.

But there are some stalls selling souvenir on the narrow street.

I love those glass ware, the price is reasonable too. If it isn't because they are fragile items, I would love to bring them home.

A quiet open bar located along this secluded street.

The street up there isn't a long one. I think we only used 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other. From here, we walked down to the lake side.

House no 11 is occupied.

Son has a sharp eye that he noticed a bird cage was hanging near to the window.

Another nice restaurant situation at the lakeside.

Back to the main street.

A cool place for the tired tourists to rest their tired legs.

And there is this Cafe Lago along the lakeside to quench the thirst.

From here, we found the way to the Palazzo. Not difficult at all. That's the good point about being small.

That's another side street on the way to the Palazzo.

The open courtyard of the Palazzo that is facing the lake. This is a very interesting place to my eyes. At first, I couldn't figure out why it looks so interesting. Slowly, I think it is because of the symmetric layout of the stones, in a fairy good porpotion.

In Carlo III era, this could be their private pool side.

On the left....

On the right....

Naturally, there isn't any see-saw at the courtyard...but there is this "toy" for kids.

Naturally, this has become their see-saw.

Isabella D'Adda was such a fortunate woman in this world.

That is the backyard, as big as a football field.

While I was busy taking photos, suddenly I saw William sat there in a dangerous position. Scared the hell out of me though the woman next to him seem looking after him. Immediately, I went over to hold him from behind.

Apparently, the 3 of them were feeding the fishes (pretty big one) down there...The woman provided the bread for them.

also, the ducks that co-exist with the big fishes harmonically.

The end of the "football field".

Can see the whole Isola Pescatori from this point...what a view.

Looking back to the side view of the palace.

Part of the palace was built beyond the land, extended to the lake. So cool !

The flowers still blossom beautifully in the front door.

Ok, finished. Let's go.

The opposite site of the island is the Stresa, a famous lakeside town along Lake Maggerio.

By then, husband realized the 2-hr parking period that he had made in Baveno had expired for long. Fearing we would get a summon, he decided to take the water ferry to return to Baveno to extend the parking time. Since the time was getting late, he suggested I should take William to tour the interior of the palazzo and he took Vincent back to Baveno to settle the car.

I agreed. So, I bought an adult ticket, then walked inside the big house quickly. The combined ticket for both the palace and gardens costs €12.

As usual, photos are not allowed inside the huge palace. But that's also depend on whether this rule is strictly executed by the authority. Well, since this palace has no guide at all, so, why cares? Furthermore, the admission ticket is so not cheap.

The palace has many big rooms to walk through....

All of the rooms were furnished with sumptuous paintings, furniture, sculptures, etc.

Looking out from one of the big window...

the foot ball size backyard...

and the splendid Isola Pescatori. Again, I want to say : what a view !!

Husband SMS me to check my whereabout. He said he would be back to the island in another 30 minutes time. Not wanting both of them to wait us for long, I got to walk as quickly as possible.

Like he had seen a ghost somewhere out there...

The garden at the other side of the palace.

Gosh, this palace is so big that I felt lost in it...

A small room with an amazing display of marionettes.

He was probably the first Chinese to land on this island?

Lastly, a long hall with amazing tapestries. At first glance, they look beuatiful, but the scene is actually pretty violence....

Indeed, it's very violence when look things into detail.

After leaving the long hall with tapestries, finally we walk out into the most spectacular sight, the garden.

He is still my favorite kid model.

Looking back at the palace...

Saw this giant tree right inside the garden. How old is it? 400 years?

Some said this Italian garden is the most beautiful garden in Europe. And I agree.

The gardens form an extraordinary, flowered monument laid out over a series of ornate and overlapping terraces, a classic and inimitable example of seventeenth century Italian garden.

The lighting in the garden was not favor for good photographing, especially in the evening time.

We walked up the terrace ....

and find this spacious space up there.

White color mama-peacock and baby-peacock, they look so beautiful.

Too bad I was late to capture the picture when this peacock showing off his feathers.

Husband text me and said he would reach the pier at around 4.45 pm. Just nice, we were about to leave the garden by then.

We headed back down to the dock to join husband and Vincent who arrived 5 minutes later. After resting for a while, we catch the ferry back to Baveno.

Ah yes, the weather was good for the whole day, not even showing a drop of rain fall as forecast reported. It was such a big bonus to us.

On the way back to Baveno, we passed by Isola Pescatori again. Such a pretty. Good bye ladies...I wish you girls a long & prosperous life ever after.


Husband said we had quite a long way to go before we could reach the hotel. If everything goes smooth, he said we should be there in about 1.5 hours time. But things wan't as smooth as we wish since we had missed a few turns. When we finally reached the hotel, it was about 8 pm by then.

Feeling dead tired, we didn't have the energy to find foods for dinner. The easiest way out is to pull out the cup noodle from our baggage and eat it in the hotel room. The boys were all so happy with that super delicious dinner that we served them. Finally they get to eat what they had dreamed to eat for 1 year long (they can only eat cup noodle in long vacation time). And it's funny to see they enjoy the noodle so whole heartedly.

After shower, we all slept like dead pigs....


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