Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stresa Travel Notes: Villa Taranto - Life after the Tornado!

The Main Avenue
Sunday 26th August last year was definitely the morning after the night before for the gardeners and managers of the Villa Taranto gardens in Pallanza (Verbania). On the Saturday night Verbania had been hit by a freak, small tornado that swept across the Borromean Bay from Stresa Lido. It clipped the top of Isola Bella but the full force was felt by the gardens at Villa Taranto. You can see photos of the effect of the tornado a month on in the local pages of La Stampa.

The head gardener and managers were obviously distraught at the devastation. However, they were also determined, that although the gardens were closed with immediate effect, they would reopen for the 2013 season. And so they have! On the 16th March the gardens opened their gates to the public and they will be open everyday until the 3rd November. Like a lot of Europe we haven't had the driest Spring so we didn't get the chance to visit the gardens until the public holiday last Thursday.

It was a glorious day and, along with many other visitors, we paid our €10 and made our way up the main avenue into the park. We love Villa Taranto and have visited the gardens many, many times before the tornado, so we were a little nervous about how they would look. We were not disappointed! The gardens are still a joy to visit: the tulip beds were bursting with colour, my favourite handkerchief tree (davidia involucrata) has survived unscathed and the acers, camelias, rhododendrons and many other trees, plants and shrubs fill the parkland and lawns.

The Fountains
I think the best way is to let the photos speak for themselves (practical visitor information is at the end of the post!):

Walking through the tulips
Around 80,000 bulbs are planted for tulip week

Admiring the acers

The fleshy petals of a Magnolia flower
Time for an icecream!
My favourite handkerchief tree

The gardeners have left one uprooted tree as a reminder

Lake views from along the garden paths

Practical Visitor Information
The gardens are open everyday from 16th March to 3rd November 2013. They are open all day from 08.30 - 18.30 and entrance costs €10 for adults and €5.50 for children 6-14 years.

There are a bar and restaurant just by the entrance and several picnic tables. Half-way around the gardens there is a small bar selling drinks, snacks and ice-creams.

Dogs are allowed into the gardens but they must be kept on a lead.

There is a ferry stop just opposite the entrance and ample parking if you are there by car. The ferry journey takes approximately 45 minutes and costs €12.40 for a regular return ticket.

Let us know if you visit Villa taranto gardens and what you like best.

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