Villa Taranto, Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore, Italy

The actual Villa Taranto is now used by the
the Prefecture of the new Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola.

The tourists who flock to Lakes Garda and Como are missing the delights on offer in Lake Maggiore. One amazing place we visited was the garden of Villa Taranto. David and I couldn't believe our luck as we wandered through this botanical wonderland. We barely met a soul! This little-visited oasis is a treasure, not to be missed. The villa, and its surrounding land, was originally bought by Captain Neil McEacham, a Scotsman. He designed a typically English garden to remind him of home. When he died, he gifted the gardens to the Italian state, so his work would live on after him.

 David strolls through the beautiful gardens, with only the 
twittering of the birds to disturb the silence

As his garden developed, McEacham began to collect plants from all over the world, resulting in over 20,000 varieties of trees and shrubs. There are over 300 varieties of Dahlias alone!

Winding paths weave through the so-called Dahlia Maze

We looked into a hothouse and saw some enormous leaves. They were huge, more than 2 metres across! They were the leaves of an Amazonian waterlilly, unfortunately, the flowers are noctunal, so we only saw closed ones. It must be a magnificent sight when they are open.

The waterlilies, from the upper reaches of the Amazon, 
more normal waterlilies can be seen in front of them.

Captain Neil McEacham lies in a small chapel, set among the gardens.

There was a large pond of stunning lotus flowers. Some in bud...

...and others blown, but still beautiful

The Fisher, a bronze statue by the Neapolitan artist Vincenzo Gemito,
stands guard over this terraced garden with its waterfalls and brightly coloured plants,set among the most perfect lawns I have ever seen.

The Villa Taranto Gardens, are spectacular in their beauty, and anyone visiting the area should really make an effort to visit them. They are quite unique.

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