1: arrival in Verbania and check in. Visit to Botanical Gardens in Villa Taranto to admire its glimpses, exotic plant life and big trees, many of which were blew down by whirlwind in 2011. Roberto Ferrari, director of the Foundation Villa Taranto, together with a specialized arborist will analyze present situation and future opportunities. These Gardens were built in 1931 by Neil Mc Eacharn (1184-1964), a captain of Scottish origins and a big fan of botany and Italy, which he had visited in his youth. It took thirty years and over one hundred workers to complete them. With the purchase of some neighboring properties the surface of the gardens was almost doubled. An irrigation plant was built to use lake water that was conveyed to the gardens through an 8-km pipeline; an artificial valley was dug for the plants that needed mild climate and shade; terraced gardens were built for the plants that needed sunlight; over 7 km alleys were set up and an endless number of botanical species were planted. This encouraged local gardeners and floriculturists to grow species, till then unknown. However, the importance of this garden is not only due to its extremely rich botanical heritage but also to the harmonious blend of English and Italian elements. Captain Mc Eacharn donated these gardens to the Italian Government and in 1952 they were opened to the public for the first time. Lunch by the lake. In the afternoon transfer to Ispria to visit Villa Quassa and its 27-meter-high Lombardy poplar tree (Populus nigra “Italica”) with a circumference of over 4 meters. In the XIX century many luxury dwellings with big gardens were built in Ispria and they were used as holiday homes by wealthy families. Among them Villa Castelli, which boasts a romantic park and now hosts the town hall, Villa Ranci Ortigosa de Corti, the big Villa Brivio Sagramoso, Villa del Sasso, Villa Riviera and Villa Quassa, whose park is among the biggest in the area of Lake Maggiore. This park was restructured together with the villa at the end of the XIX century.
Dinner in Verbania (not included in the package).