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Giardino Botanico Alpinia

The best seat in the house at the Giardino Botanico Alpinia
There are four major botanical sites for which Stresa is known. There is Villa Taranto, where a Scottish sea captain cultivated 20 hectares of beautiful English-style gardens. Isola Madre's gardens were designed in the 1600s by Carlo IV, of the Borromeo family. On Isola Bella there is the fantastic landscaping behind the palace. And high above Stresa, looking down over the other three, is the Giardino Botanico Alpinia.

Plants are clearly labeled in beds

As it name implies, this garden specializes in plants which grow in alpine and subalpine climates. It boasts over 1,000 different species of these. It also has a very fine collection of Asian plants, with species indigenous to China and Japan.

























But what it has, most of all, overall, is its location, and its view. Located 800 meters above Stresa, in the mountain valley between Lago Maggiore and the summit of Mottarone, the Alpine Garden is reached by taking the funivia, the Stresa - Mottarone cablecar, from the station at the Carciano boat dock in Stresa.

On the way up

The cablecar has a midstation, where passengers change to the next gondola to continue up the mountain to Mottarone. Or, they can get disembark at this midstation and walk to the entrance to the gardens, 300 meters away.

Here, nature has created a shelf, a natural balcony covering 40,000 square meters. Here, visitors can take in sweeping views of the lake and the mountains. They can stroll along the stone paths which traverse the 4 hectares of gardens. Walk down to the pond. You can even hike back down to Stresa on clearly marked trails. Or, you can just sit on that bench, take in that view...

Three Borromean islands, and Verbania across the gulf

Thanks to the Giardino Alpinia Web site for these photos. There are more, as well as some interesting maps, on the site.
The gardens can also be reached by car from Stresa, by driving up Via Binda towards the A26 motorway; head towards Gignese and then take the road labeled to Mottarone.


Web site (English version): www.giardinoalpinia.it/home_eng.htm
The gardens are open from April through October, from 9.30 to 18.00 each day.

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