Villa Pallavicino became a private residence in 1855, when the area was purchased by Ruggero Bonghi, statesman and man of letters.
There followed the transfer of ownership to the Duke of Vallombrosa and in 1862 the purchase by the noble Genoese Pallavicino family, who enlarged the estate, built roads for vehicles, decorated the park with statues, transforming it from a simple dwelling into the splendid nineteenth-century neoclassical-style villa that still stands on the hill today. But it was Marquise Luisa who completed the work, in 1952, welcoming animals here from every corner of the world to build an exceptional zoo.
In 1956 the Pallavicinos decided to transform their marvellous garden into a wildlife museum that was open to the public.
Since 2017 the Parco Pallavicino has been part of the circuit of the Terre Borromeo.
- What to see
- On the Stresa lakefront in the direction of Belgirate, the 18 hectares of park extend where the botanical soul and the fauna live in harmony.
- What to see
- The fauna
- The Flower Garden
- The flora
What to see
On the Stresa lakefront in the direction of Belgirate, the 18 hectares of park extend where the botanical soul and the fauna live in harmony.
The management of the Borromeo family began in 2017, the year in which a series of interventions for the recovery and improvement of the environments dedicated to animals as well as the tree-lined avenues were launched.
Over 50 species of mammals and birds are housed here, and over time some wild specimens saved by the forest ranger have found a home in the park and which would not survive if released back into the wild.
Gli specialisti della flora lavorano per valorizzare il ricco patrimonio botanico che le condizioni climatiche uniche del Lago Maggiore regalano. Il Giardino dei fiori è un esempio dell’estro e dell’impegno che i giardinieri mettono quotidianamente nella cura del verde.
What to see
The Parco Pallavicino is famous above all for the over 50 species living here. Many of the animals were already here when the management of the park was taken over by the Borromeos in 2017, such as the zebras, kangaroos, coatis, sarus cranes and flamingos.
Some were added later – the Orobica goats, “Bellavista” mule, alpacas, donkeys, ferrets and Polverara chickens – and others were recovered by veterinarian Uberto Calligarich, who, as well as being responsible for the fauna of the Parco Pallavicino, is also the representative of the Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola for the safeguarding of wild animals. Now famous, also thanks to the television programmes attracted by this park, is Fanta the fox, abandoned on the day of its birth by its mother, perhaps after being disturbed by a hunter.
Pallavicino in fact welcomes animals that could no longer survive in their natural habitat, either because they were born in captivity or because abandonment or an incident has caused them permanent traumas.
Then there is the space devised to enable visitors to experience unique direct contact with animals: the Farm.
Here Tibetan and Saltasasso goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and fallow deer roam free and are happy to be petted by visitors, particularly children. The administrators were keen to create this area to make a genuine, playful but also educational meeting possible, with respect and trust between humans and animals.
Come and discover the inhabitants of the Parco Pallavicino!
A herbivore mammal of the Camelidae family, the alpaca is native to South America. Unlike the other camelids, it is bred not as a beast of burden but for its particularly sought-after wool. A female alpaca produces around 2.5 kg of wool a year, while a male alpaca can produce as much as 4 kg. In recent years, the alpaca has become quite widespread in Europe, being an animal that adapts very well to different types of climate.
Smaller than the llama, it is also distinguished from the latter by the shape and position of its ears. The origins of the alpaca date back 4000 years; it seems to have been the first domestic animal to have existed in the world.
Its docile nature makes it an animal well suited to mountain trekking, pet therapy and it is increasingly widely used as a pet.
What to see
The Flower Garden
It is unmissable, with its rose garden with a thousand colours and flower beds with ever new blooming specimens throughout the summer.
The Giardino dei fiori (Flower Garden) is a colourful corner that has undergone numerous interventions over the decades, and that continually changes and is transformed thanks to the work of the team of gardeners.
The layout of the garden you see today is from the 1950s, although the original design of the parterre of flowerbeds, fountains and greenhouses dates back to the late 19th century.
The rose garden, which blossoms in all its beauty in the month of May and offers visitors a range of colours and perfumes, is from the mid-20th century. The arcades of jasmine and wisteria that weave around the garden are typical of the garden architecture of the 1950s.
In April tulips and violets are the protagonists of the garden, making way in May for the roses to burst into bloom. From June to September, hibiscus, begonias, taros with green and red leaves, brugmansias, sages, dahlias, cleomes and zinnias are just some of the flowers that take turns in blooming, inviting visitors to return again and again to admire them all.
What to see
The great wonder of this park is its trees: centuries-old chestnuts and giant liriodendrons – among the oldest in Italy -, red beeches, maples, larches, ginkgo bilobas, redwoods and magnolias. Along the sides of the avenues, camellias, hydrangeas and rhododendrons colour the panoramas of the park.
But the botanical star of the Parco Pallavicino is the great Lebanon cedar, which dominates Lago Maggiore from the natural amphitheatre opposite the private villa that is not accessible to the public.
Native of the mountains of Western China, it grows in zones with a cool, damp and temperate climate.
From the Nyssaceae family, the Davidia is characterised by a brownish orange trunk and ovoidal crown; its leaves are alternate and heart-shaped and have dentate edges. The flowers, which appear between May and June, are not clearly visible and are clustered in small inflorescences; they are enveloped by two large creamy white bracts. The fruit is globular, measuring 4-5 cm, first green then purple when ripe. It can reach heights of 20 metres.
The only species of its kind, it was only discovered and introduced into Europe in the early 20th century. It is used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
Known as the “handkerchief tree” on account of its characteristic large bracts that envelop the flowers.
Caffetteria Il Roseto
A break among the peacocks
An unforgettable day
The opening of the 2023 season is scheduled from 16 March to 5 November 2023.
Parco Pallavicino is open:
From 16th March to 30th September 2023
Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 05:30 p.m., last entrance. The park closes at 06:30 p.m.
From 1st October to 29th October 2023
Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m., last entry. The park closes at 06:00 p.m.
From 30th October to 5th November 2023
Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 04:30 p.m., last entry. The park closes at 05:30 p.m.
The opening and closing time of museums and gardens are subject to changes for extraordinary events.
|Adults Single||Youngs Single||Adults Group||Youngs Group||Baby|
|Parco Pallavicino||€ 13||€ 9||€ 11||€ 7||€ 4|
|Parco Pallavicino + Isola Bella||€ 27||€ 16||€ 24||€ 14||–|
|Parco Pallavicino + Isola Bella + Isola Madre||€ 35||€ 21||€ 33||€ 19||–|
|Download the pdf table with all prices|
How to get there
From the Autostrada dei Laghi motorway in the direction of Gravellona Toce, Carpugnino exit, following the signs for Stresa.
A free car park is available in the proximity of the entrance to the Park. Due to the limited number of spaces available, we recommend that you use the free shuttle service departing every day from Piazza Marconi in Stresa.
Ferrovia dello Stato railway, Milan-Sempione line, Stresa stop. Stresa station is located 800m on foot from the Parco Pallavicino.
With Ferrovie Nord railway, Milan-Laveno line, Laveno stop.
VB Arona Milan line: departure from Milan Lampugnano, stop B5.
Or Verbania–Stresa–Malpensa, which requires advance booking.
For info: www.safduemila.com.
Distance from the principal airports: Turin Caselle 140 km – Milan Malpensa 50 km – Milan Linate 110 km – Bergamo Orio Al Serio 130 km.