La Darbia blog

SPRING AT VILLA TARANTO

Mon, 10 April 2017
SPRING AT VILLA TARANTO
The Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens are one of the most beautiful and renowned attractions in our area: they are simply charming. Everybody should put aside a couple of hours to visit the famous gardens surrounding Villa Taranto, overlooking Lake Maggiore laid out along the sides of the Castagnol..

The Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens are one of the most beautiful and renowned attractions in our area: they are simply charming.

Everybody should put aside a couple of hours to visit the famous gardens surrounding Villa Taranto, overlooking Lake Maggiore laid out along the sides of the Castagnola promontory, between Intra and Pallanza. These terraced gardens present an incredible display of colour, particularly in Spring, with thousands of flower beds in bloom as well as tropical greenhouses and herbariums.

They date back to 1931, when Scottish captain Neil Mc Eacharn decided to purchase the property and transform it into a magnificent, English-style garden. It took a number of years of patient work to arrange this wonderful 16 hectare stretch of ground, which the captain decided to name after one of his ancestors, who bore the title Duke of Taranto conferred by Napoleon.
This rarest of botanical collections consists of thousands of plants imported from all over the world. One of the most admired specimens is the large nymph “Victoria cruziana”, cultivated in the tropical greenhouses but there are also majestic sequoias, elegant tree ferns, the so-called “dove tree” (davidia involucrata) and the maple in its unmistakable coral red shade.

The “Week of the Tulip” is traditionally held at Villa Taranto in the month of April, an event originally inaugurated in 1956 by Captain Mc Eacharn. The park springs to life with its thousands of bulbs and soaring tulips throughout this period. A sort of winding walk, known as the Tulip Maze, unfolds within the grounds, where more than twenty thousand bulbs, belonging to tens of different varieties, are planted. Along this route you may observe the ostentatious, white with a dark red border "Carnival de Nice", an endearing “Micky Mouse”, yellowish in colour with red patches, and the precious black tulip,"Queen of night", besides the world's largest tulip, known as the ” Giant Orange Sunset”.

Furthermore, inside the park you will behold an abundance of magnolias, rhododendrons, narcissus flowers, violets and a splendid, blue carpet of blooming muscari (grape hyacinths). Walking along the paths, one is immersed in a sea of thousands of colours and scents…of stunning beauty. The opportunity to absorb the graceful and harmonious atmosphere of Villa Taranto is an experience which restores the senses to a state of peace!
This explains why, on returning to La Darbia after spending an afternoon there, Audrey Hepburn's words come to mind: «to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow».

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