Tag Archives: Borromeo

Royal Wedding on My Lake

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Even though this wedding took place last July (and I didn’t receive an invitation but we won’t mention that!), I was reminded of the occasion by the post in Donna Moderna yesterday when they announced that the bride, Beatrice Borromeo, may be expecting her first child.

Congratulations to the lovely couple – they will definitely have beautiful children! After all, she is a Vogue model and a distinguished journalist while he follows in his father’s business pursuits and dabbles in car racing. And their families are quite beautiful, too!

But I wanted to reminisce about their gorgeous wedding day, with all the festivities happening on my beautiful Lago Maggiore! I love referring to Lago Maggiore as my lake, but in reality, nothing of it is mine except for my roots and memories! Most of it belongs to the grand Borromeo Family and it’s because of this, that this wedding was so magical and grand.

The bride and groom, Pierre Casiraghi, both descend from some of Europe’s most influential families. Her family is one of the most aristocratic and noble families of Italy and are the owners of the Borromeo Islands right outside of Stresa. My blog post about them is here if you want to know some of their history. He is the grandson of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, and the youngest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

The couple celebrated their civil ceremony in Monte Carlo a week before the religious wedding in Italy. At that ceremony, the bride wore a gorgeous gown by Valentino. But for her ceremonies in Italy, she opted for gowns by Armani.

 

The private religious ceremony and luncheon were celebrated on the tiny private island Isolino di San Giovanni.

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This island (which I never knew even existed) is one of the Borromeo Islands (which include Isola Bella, Isola Superiore dei Pescatori, and Isola Madre) and not open to the public. In fact, I wasn’t even able to find any pictures taken on the island itself.

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From here, the party headed over to the Rocca D’Angera, an old fortress sitting on top of my future summer home, Angera! (It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?)

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This fortress is visible from so many parts of the lake and I’ve seen it countless times. Back in the day, it was a scary place, but now it’s become a doll museum and a venue for some of the most elegant weddings ever! My mom actually attended a wedding here many years ago and she said it was gorgeous!

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Looking at the beautiful wedding pictures, I was transported back to my favorite place in the whole world – MY Lago Maggiore!

 

 

Isola Bella and the Borromeo Family

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The islands of Lago Maggiore, near Stresa, are owned by a very influential family, the Borromeo’s – one of their most famous ancestors was St.  Charles Borromeo, or San Carlo Borromeo as he is known throughout most of the Latin world, and he is the favorite saint of Lago Maggiore.  His giant statue in Arona stands high above and watches over the Lake.  He is buried in Milan’s Duomo and his holy day is celebrated with much fan fare in the Cathedral and beyond.  I find it intriguing that one of the California missions closest to me here in the San Francisco Bay Area is named after him – Mission San Carlo Borromeo in Carmel!  It seems like he has followed my family’s destiny – even though he came long before my family left the beautiful shores of Lago Maggiore and settled in San Francisco!!  But I like to believe that it is the other way around 😉

The Borromeo Family acquired much fame and fortune around the 15th century when Vitaliano I, treasurer to the Duke of Milan, began accumulating much property in Northern Italy.  The Borromeo State was established in the 16th century and the family had complete rule over this area.  Lago Maggiore was right in the middle of their state – a strategic position between the Alps and Lombardy, and a beautiful oasis for their enjoyment.  In the 16th century, the rocky island of only an acre in size, was transformed into a wonderous palace and  garden masterpiece.  For centuries, many aristrocrats of European society visited the island, including the likes of  Napoleon and Josephine!

Today, Isola Bella is open to the public allowing access to parts of the palace and most of the gardens.  The Borromeo Family still resides there (when they are not in Milan tending to their business dealings), and the upper three floors of the Palace are their private quarters.  Amazingly enough, they are not bothered by the thousands of tourists that stroll through their property every day.  Their privacy is very well maintained.  They even have a walled garden that is all their own.  Their families spend much of their summers there, with the younger ones partaking in all the water activities like water skiing and jet boating.  The  senior members of the family, the Principessa Bona Borromeo and her husband, Principe Giberto VIII, do not like being in the public eye.  They prefer to live a quiet life, even though their many relatives are part of the European social scene.  For them, it is enough, to be able to reside in one of the most beautiful locations in all the world – a stunning view always in front of them!!

Join us in visiting this gorgeous island next September on our Italy…Wine, Dine & Unwind Tour.

I Castelli di Cannero

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The town of Cannero is pictured here on a series of notecards I currently have on my website, Tesoro Treasures.

A short distance from the shores of the ritzy and gorgeous Cannero Riviera on Lago Maggiore are the ruins of an old and delapidated medieval castle of which I would have loved to have taken some pictures of had they not been covered in scaffolding.  The castles are being restored, but this restoration is the subject of much controversy.  Evidently, the restorations are not being done in accordance with the strict historical guidelines of preservation.  The historical societies have raised alarm because the buildings are being restored just for the sake of restoration, without paying any heed to restoring them to preserve the architecture.  There are fears that the castles are being ruined and will be lost forever.  Therefore, the restorations have come to halt until a resolution can be reached.  Meanwhile, the cranes and the scaffolds sit on the island and ruin any picture taking possibility.  Fortunately, there is the internet which allows us to find beautiful pictures sans construction equipment!

Courtesy of distrettolaghi.it

The Cannero Riviera is a romantic destination with lights twinkling on the lake and a gorgeous promenade made just for strolling.  But Cannero hasn’t always been such an idyllic place.  The castles hide a dark past, and I’m sure living in Cannero during the 14th century was anything similar to romantic.  These were times of turf wars, and allegiances were preserved with force.  The castles, also known as the “Malpaga Castles”,  were places of torture and crime.  They were the base of the wicked Mazzarditi Family who were known for horrible raids on those that didn’t vow allegiance to them.  After the Mazzarditi’s came the Visconti’s, only to lose control to Milan’s powerful Sforza’s family. Finally, in the 16th century, the Borromeo Family (of Isola Bella fame) took over control of the castles and erected the Vitaliana Fortress on the site to protect the area from invasion by the Swiss.  Cannero did not gain its romantic reputation until the 18th century when it became a popular holiday destination for British royalty and other dignitaries.  Winston Churchill and Garibaldi were also known to have spent time here.

Places such as the Castles of Cannero always fascinate me – what now seems so idyllic and peaceful have violent histories with stories that intrigue and captivate the imagination. They are  living history museums of which I never cease to tire of.

Isola Bella and the Borromeo Family

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The islands of Lago Maggiore, near Stresa, are owned by a very influential family, the Borromeo’s – one of their most famous ancestors was St.  Charles Borromeo, or San Carlo Borromeo as he is known throughout most of the Latin world, and he is the favorite saint of Lago Maggiore.  His giant statue in Arona stands high above and watches over the Lake.  He is buried in Milan’s Duomo and his holy day is celebrated with much fan fare in the Cathedral and beyond.  I find it intriguing that one of the California missions closest to me here in the San Francisco Bay Area is named after him – Mission San Carlo Borromeo in Carmel!  It seems like he has followed my family’s destiny – even though he came long before my family left the beautiful shores of Lago Maggiore and settled in San Francisco!!  But I like to believe that it is the other way around 😉

The Borromeo Family acquired much fame and fortune around the 15th century when Vitaliano I, treasurer to the Duke of Milan, began accumulating much property in Northern Italy.  The Borromeo State was established in the 16th century and the family had complete rule over this area.  Lago Maggiore was right in the middle of their state – a strategic position between the Alps and Lombardy, and a beautiful oasis for their enjoyment.  In the 16th century, the rocky island of only an acre in size, was transformed into a wonderous palace and  garden masterpiece.  For centuries, many aristrocrats of European society visited the island, including the likes of  Napoleon and Josephine!

Today, Isola Bella is open to the public allowing access to parts of the palace and most of the gardens.  The Borromeo Family still resides there (when they are not in Milan tending to their business dealings), and the upper three floors of the Palace are their private quarters.  Amazingly enough, they are not bothered by the thousands of tourists that stroll through their property every day.  Their privacy is very well maintained.  They even have a walled garden that is all their own.  Their families spend much of their summers there, with the younger ones partaking in all the water activities like water skiing and jet boating.  The  senior members of the family, the Principessa Bona Borromeo and her husband, Principe Giberto VIII, do not like being in the public eye.  They prefer to live a quiet life, even though their many relatives are part of the European social scene.  For them, it is enough, to be able to reside in one of the most beautiful locations in all the world – a stunning view always in front of them!!