Discovering the “Queen of the lake”

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Camellias originated in Japan, but this decorative flower has found its ideal climate and terrain on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Planted for the first time on Isola Madre in 1828, camellias gradually spread all over the lake area, with the spectacular results we see everywhere today in large and small gardens.

The vast range of varieties of camellia can be seen throughout the Lake Maggiore area. Known as the Queen of the Lake, this flower has become almost a symbol of the area, and each year is the star performer in various seasonal flower shows and guided visits to gardens.

Every historic villa on the lake has its mature specimens of camellia, planted in the 19th century, when the flower was at the peak of its success. After a period of decline, the camellia underwent a revival in the later 20th century, when a number of local growers began to show a new interest in its cultivation.

The Villa Taranto Botanic Gardens in Verbania alone possess over 400 specimens of camellia. A giant camellia flourishes in the grounds of Villa San Remigio, on the Castagnola Hill in Pallanza.

Villa Anelli in Oggebbio offers flower lovers a splendidly varied collection of winter and spring camellias, including some varieties produced exclusively in the Villa’s gardens. And don’t forget a visit to the wonderful camellia garden on Isola Madre, where the first camellia in the area was planted.