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Construction of the "Galleria", a typically 19th-century public building that is now one of the oldest shopping malls in the city, began in 1865 following a series of competitions for the design won by Giuseppe Mengoni. Large plaster eagles support its dome, 47-meter high and made of iron and glass. Note the designs on the interiors and the Neo-Renaissance-style stucco work and graffiti. The floor of the building was completely restored in 1966 in a rare mosaic showing the emblems of Italian cities.
Up until 1630 Isola Bella was nothing more than rock and a strip of land. It was Carlo III Borromeo (1586-1652) who dedicated the island to his wife Isabella and began serious construction. However, successive generations of the Borromeo family completed the amazing palace and ten tier gardens that visitors enjoy today. Exotic trees and plants, orchids, azaleas and rhododendrons, fountains, sculpture, and basins abound, bringing color throughout the year. The palace is adorned with antique period furniture, priceless paintings and statues, not to mention a fascinating history. It can be reached by several ferries on the lake that run from Stresa, Arona, Pallanza and Laveno.
In the early 1930s, Captain Neil McEacharn purchased land on Lake Maggiore that reminded him of his native Scotland. He began work on what is now one of the finest exotic gardens in Europe. The garden was completed in 1940 along with a villa that was to become his home. The garden abounds with rhododendrons, camellia and azaleas, trees from around the planet and a spectacular water garden from which you can see the villa and in the distance, the Alps. Captain McEacharn passed away in his beloved garden in 1964. At that time, the garden was left to the Italian nation so that everyone could enjoy its ever-changing beauty. -Janice Barton
In the early 1500s, Lancillotto Borromeo brought the first fruit trees to the island and began construction on what was to become the family residence. The palace is surrounded by eight hectares of stunning gardens which include exotic plants, citrus trees, a wisteria covered walkway and a flock of peacocks. There is also a large aviary and a lovely family chapel to enjoy. As the family still resides on the island for part of the year, you will find no stalls or hawkers here, just serenity and beauty wherever your gaze may fall. -Janice Barton
Chiesa di San Sepolcro is a beautiful church located near Piazza San Sepolcro and is believed to be first constructed in the 11th Century. However, the present structure of the church was built only in 19th Century. This church boasts of Neo-Romanesque architecture and is made from red bricks. While the church was designed by the famous Italian architects Cesare Nava and Gaetano Moretti, its interiors are adorned with artifacts collected over the centuries. The Baroque interiors boast of artworks from Carlo Bellosio San Carlo and many others.
Along the eastern coast of the lake, after Lecco, is Abbadia Lariana e Mandello on the alluvial plain of the Zerbo River. Abbadia owes its name to a Benedictine Abbey of the Church of San Lorenzo and the convent. Abbadia is now annexed to another neighboring center, Mandello del Lario, which as well as being a holiday resort, is also an important industrial center, especially in the mechanical world, and Moto Guzzi is produced here. The Oratory of San Giorgio is an important landmark which dates from the 14th Century, has one nave and 15th-century frescoes. Legend has it that the church was founded by the work of a crusade on its return from the Holy Land, or by a monk who sought refuge in this place. The San Lorenzo Church is of ancient origin and was renovated in the 17th Century. It's interior frescoes have been preserved, as well as some precious paintings. There are also examples of Art Nouveau in some lovely, local villages, such as Villa Falck, Villa Carcano and Villa Fasoli.