November 21, 2013

0844, 0870 ITALY (Piedmont) - Borromean Islands - part of Lake Maggiore and Lake D'Orta lakelands (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

0844 Borromean Islands - Isola Bella

Posted on 18.10.2013, 21.11.2013
Known for its Mediterranean-like climate and for its beauty, Lago Maggiore (Greater Lake), a glacial lake surrounded by the Lepontine Alps, spans in Italy (Piedmont and Lombardy) and Switzerland (canton of Ticino. The most known and picturesque islands of this lake are Borromean Islands, located in the western arm of the lake, between Verbania to the north and Stresa to the south. Their name derives from the House of Borromeo, which started acquiring them in the early 16th century (Isola Madre) and still owns the majority of them (Isola Madre, Bella, San Giovanni) today.

0870 Borromean Islands - Isola Madre

Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) is situated 400m from the lakeside town of Stresa. Until 1632, it was a rocky crag occupied by a fishing village, but that year Carlo III began the construction of a palazzo dedicated to his wife, Isabella D'Adda, from whom the island takes its name. The works were interrupted because of the plague, but was resumed by the Carlo’s sons, who turned the villa into a place of sumptuous parties for the nobility of Europe. The completion of the gardens was left to his nephew Carlo IV, and was inaugurated in 1671.

The island achieved its highest level of social success during Giberto V Borromeo (1751–1837), but also in nowadays is a popular tourist attraction. The palace is a typical example of Lombard Baroque architecture, the most interesting rooms being those located on the first floor, but its most inventive part can be found underground: six natural grottos decorated with dark-and light-coloured pebbles and shells in designs reflecting nautical themes. The Italian gardens are spread across ten terraces that form a truncated pyramid ornamented with balustrades, hedges, obelisks and statues.

Isola Madre, the largest island of the archipelago, known in the past as Isola di San Vittore and later as Isola Maggiore, had in 9th century a church and a cemetery. In 1501 Lancillotto Borromeo introduced the cultivation of citrus fruit to the island, and began the construction of a family residence, which in the 1580s was extended in the renaissance style by Renato I Borromeo. The palace is surrounded by impressive gardens, the Giardini Botanici dell'Isola Madre. Particularly prized is the scala dei morti, or staircase of the dead, which in recent decades has been embellished with an important collection of Wisterias. The family chapel of 1858 is also noteworthy; by contrast to that of Isola Bella, it contains no tombs or funerary monuments.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
I don't know anything about this stamp, which depict Isola Bella.

On the second postcard
The stamp is part of the series Maestri italiani del novecento (Italian Masters of the 20th Century), issued on October 30, 2009, and comprising 3 stamps:
• Giacomo Manzu - Guantanamera (0.60 EUR)
• Gino Severini - Danza dell'orso (0.65 EUR)
• Federico De Pistoris - Donna e ambiente (0.85 EUR) - it's on this postcard

Isola Bella (Lago Maggiore) - Wikipedia
Borromean Islands - 

Sender 0844, 0870: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Baveno (Piedmont / Italy), on 10.08.2013
Photo 0844, 0870: Marco Beck Peccoz

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