Is Villa Taranto Italy’s Prettiest Garden?

Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens Lake Maggiore Italy


Villa Taranto

I’m not really sure why I like gardens so much. I don’t have a green thumb and have really never kept a plant alive for more than a couple of weeks. (Although, as of May 2018 I am quite proud I have a little orange tree that is still going strong on month 2, ha!)

Maybe it’s because there’s not much green in the concrete jungle of New York, but whenever I travel and walk by a garden, I usually stop to explore. On our trip to Northern Italy, we were driving from Milan to Lake Maggiore when we stopped by Villa Taranto to stretch our legs on a quick pit stop. It ended up being such a nice place to visit that I thought I’d share some photos and background in today’s post.

Here’s a look at the gardens of Villa Taranto in Lake Maggiore, Italy.




Verbania, Italy

As I mentioned in my previous post about the different Italian Lakes, Lake Maggiore is known for its pretty gardens. The climate here allows even rare plant species to survive and as a result, travelers can find famous garden villas at both Stresa (Isola Bella) and Verbania (Taranto).

If you visit Villa Taranto in spring (the best time!) almost everything will be in bloom: azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, lemons, magnolias and more. With the shimmering lake in the background, it’s a very charming experience to walk through.

Unfortunately on the day we visited, it down poured but hopefully the photos still give you a good sense of how lush everything is!




Italy’s Prettiest Gardens

We spent about an hour walking through the gardens. There are a series of curved pathways you can follow, which will take you around the different landscapes. You’ll find Japanese maples and little bridges, low mossy valleys, some Versailles-like fountains, a leafy magnolia forest and the crowning glory: terraced flower beds. There are over 16 hectares of park here!

Villa Taranto was created by Scotsman Neil McEacharn, an avid botanist who not only transported rare species to Lake Maggiore but was happy to spread the green wealth. Apparently McEacharn was something of a global figure in the horticulture world and in 1959 alone, shipped nearly 11,500 packets of seeds to over 40 different countries to help other gardens across the world. Talk about a nice guy!




And finally, here is some practical information about visiting Villa Taranto:


Getting Here

Villa Taranto is located in Lake Maggiore, across from the town of Stresa. You can easily drive over on the way from Milan, or if you’re already in the Italian Lakes area, hop on the public ferry. Double check that the ferry you’re taking will stop at Villa Taranto since not all make the stop; it’s two stops past Isola Madre!


Cost and Hours

Visiting the Botanical Gardens cost ~10 euros and is available from mid March to October. The gardens are closed in the off season, from November to mid March.


Are you a garden lover? Let me know in the comments what other places in Italy you recommend!


Visiting Italy – Trip Planning Checklist

There’s so much to see and do in Italy that you can visit again and again and still discover new sights. I recommend concentrating on the big 4 cities (Rome, Venice, Milan & Florence) if it’s your first time and then coming back to explore either Northern Italy or Southern Italy in more depth.

Flight Deals | Flight prices from the US to Italy are highly seasonal. You can set a fare alert here to be notified of discounts. Every fall & winter, I’ve seen great deals to Milan (usually with Emirates).

Getting Around | A convenient way to explore Italy is via train. You can book tickets online before you go to save on fares. Make sure to validate your ticket on the platform.

It also helps to speak a little Italian. Brush up on your Italian language skills with Rosetta Stone. You can take 10% off with promo code CJBT10.

Accommodation | Book hotels in advance to save, or check here for last minute deals. Many hotels in Italy are older so don’t be surprised if even 5 star accommodation feels slightly dated. Opt for a room with a view instead of breakfast, as Italians don’t eat breakfast in the same way Americans do and you’ll probably be disappointed with their offering.

Alternatively, groups or budget travelers can check out Airbnb

Insurance | Lastly, be sure to visit Italy with travel insurance. Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, or your phone gets stolen, travel insurance will help when you need it most. A rail strike occurred during our trip, shutting down transportation for an entire day unexpectedly. Get a quote for your trip here.


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Northern Italy

The Most Beautiful Places in Northern Italy (that are still a secret!)

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Exploring Bologna: Travel Guide

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Cinque Terre

Plan Your Trip: Travel Guide & Which Village to Stay

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Quick Guides: The Best RestaurantsPopular Hiking Trails

Inspiration: Photo Diary of the 5 Villages


The Italian Lakes

Exploring Lake Como: Travel Guide & Where to Stay

Quick Guides to: Varenna, Bellagio & Villa del Babianello

Visiting Lake Maggiore

Quick Guides to: Isola Bella & Villa Taranto

Discovering Hidden Lake Orta


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ireneJune 11, 2018 - 8:32 am

This pictures are breathtaking!

[…] are roughly 6 to 12 euros round trip if you’re just visiting ONE sight (Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Villa Taranto etc). You can buy the ticket online here if you just want to visit Isola […]

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