Home » Lake Maggiore and the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto

The Scottish Captain Neil McEacharn was an important figure for the birth of the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto on Lake Maggiore, in 1931. The Gardens were chosen by Buzzfeed in 2014, and by TheNeeds in 2017, as the most beautiful gardens in the world. His quote tells us that his greatest passion after seafaring was botany.

“A beautiful garden does not need to be big, but it should be the realization of one’s dream, even though it is only a couple of square metres large and it is situated on a balcony”


Set in the beautiful landscape of Pallanza (Verbania), between Lake Maggiore and the mountains, the gardens are an excellent alternative to a trip on the lake. Located just a few kilometers away, they are easily reachable from Stresa and from the Borromean Islands.

Captain Neil McEacharn purchased the property from the Marquise of Sant’Elia with the intent of transforming it into an English Garden. The location was perfect and reminded him of his beloved and native Scotland. Many thousands of plants were imported from the far corners of the world. The “terraced gardens”, “Winter Garden”, “Marsh garden”, a greenhouse, fountains, and swimming pools were built along with ponds containing water lilies and lotus flowers. Work ended in 1940, and the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto opened to the public in 1952.

Giardini-Botanici-di-Villa-TarantoFrom approximately April to the end of October / beginning of November, you can walk along a well-marked path among about 20,000 different varieties of over 1,000 different plants of particular botanical importance. This blaze of colors immersed in the green of the gardens will give you a sense of serenity and peace with every step.

Close to the entrance you will find a herbarium, a building where precious and delicate “natural paintings” are displayed. Then you can continue on to the “Alley of conifers”, where you can admire the sequence of conifers from all over the world. After passing through splendid corridors framed by fragrant flowers, which change every season, you will arrive at the Fontana dei Putti and the Mausoleum where the Captain is buried.

Giardini-Terrazzati-Giardini-Botanici-di-Villa-TarantoYou have to stop at the Dahlia Labyrinth and the Sierra Victoria, where you will be welcomed by a great variety of tropical and subtropical plants. Here you’ll find the enormous equatorial water lily Victoria Cruziana. Originating from Paraguay and Argentina, its leaves reach two meters in diameter.

If you continue walking you will arrive at the true attraction of the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto: the beautiful Villa built according to the architectural style of Normandy and the terraced gardens. Victoria-Cruziana-Giardini-Botanici-di-Villa-TarantoWaterfalls, small pools and fountains adorn these gardens composed of a series of perfectly maintained flowerbeds. Everything is dominated by the watchful eye of the bronze statue of the Fisherman, who seems to enjoy the breathtaking view and ensure that everything is impeccably maintained.

Whether you are a nature lover, or you just want to spend a quiet day with friends and family in a peaceful haven, the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto are the perfect destination. Truly a sight to behold.

You’ll find more info and be able to purchase tickets on the official website www.villataranto.it/en/

Opening hours 2021:
Open daily*

– May through August: 9 am to 6 pm (last entry)
– September: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (last entry)
– October and November: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (last entry)

– Adults € 11.00
– Children (6 to 14 years) € 5.50

*opening dates and times subject to change depending on Covid restrictions


Copyright photos: (photos 1, 2, 4) Paola Cambielli; (photo 3) villataranto.it