This is the largest of the Borromeo Islands and it is also the most characteristic due to its collected, tranquil, and enchanted atmosphere. Its gardens, where all manner of peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam freely, are full of rare plants and exotic flowers, helping to create the charm of a tropical land. Isola Madre is particularly famous for its azalea, rhododendron, and camellia blossoms but also for the pergolas of ancient wisteria, for the Cashmere Cyprus, which is more than two hundred years old and is the largest example in Europe, and for the espaliers of citrons and lemons, for the collection of hibiscus and the Ginkgo biloba. In 1978, the sixteenth century palace was officially opened to the public. It is particularly interesting because of the reconstruction of period rooms, and the collection of liveries, dolls and porcelain housed there.
The exhibition of "Teatrini delle Marionette" (small puppet theatres) dating from the seventeenth/nineteenth centuries is also truly exceptional. Isola Madre leaves the visitor with a feeling of extreme elegance, thanks to the care and attention paid to the gardens and to the interiors offering a certain quality that sets out to please even the most demanding tourist. The palace is surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden, described by the French writer Gustave Flaubert as an earthly paradise, which hosted and still houses rare and exotic plant species coming from all over the world, including hovering multicolored peacocks, parrots and pheasants.