Isola Bella is one of the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in all of Italy, with its northernmost point crossing over into Switzerland. The island of Isola Bella is located in the Borromean Gulf nearest to the town of Stresa. The island is a mere 320 meters long by 400 meters wide, and predominantly occupied by the Palazzo Borromeo and its terrace garden.
Until the early 17th century the island was little more than a small fishing village, but in 1632 the powerful Carlo III of the House of Borromeo began building a palazzo there named for his wife, Isabella D'Adda. Mid-century the construction plans were sidetracked by a terrible outbreak of the plague. Ownership of the island then transferred to Carlo's sons, who worked with architect Carlo Fontana to create not just a simple villa but a palace worthy of entertaining the greatest nobility of Europe. The gardens were not completed until 1671.
During the period of Giberto V Borromeo (1751-1837), Isola Bella would achieve its highest societal importance hosting such guests as Napoleon and his wife Joséphine, and Caroline of Brunswick, the Princess of Wales. Today, the island is maintained as a popular tourist destination, where one can explore the magnificent palazzo and its gardens, as well as shop in small boutiques and dine on tempting Italian and European cuisine.
Isola Bella means beautiful island and this little island in Taormina, Italy fully justifies the name. The island is filled with colors and with every passing season the colors keep changing, and behold, one ravishing landscape after another for the onlookers to enjoy. It is also known as the Pearl of the Ionion Sea. The rocky beach of the small inhabited island attracts sunbathers and hikers every year. It also attracts snorkelers and has a Nike Dive Center where they teach different diving techniques. The pretty island is definitely worth a visit.