Borromean Islands, a group of four small islands in the gulf of Tosa, an arm of Lago Maggiore, in northern Italy. The group takes its name from the Borromeo family, in whose possession it has been for more than 600 years. The separate islands are called Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Isola dei Piscatori, and Isolino. They were little more than barren rocks prior to 1671, when Yitaliano, Count Borromeo, caused soil to be transported from the shores of the lake, terraces to be made, and all the trees and flowers to be planted which would grow in that climate. Isola Bella was most richly adorned, being formed of ten successive terraces covered with beautiful trees and flowers, interspersed with statues and other works of art. At the west end is an elegant palace. Isola Mad re, which is the largest, being 3 m. in circumference, consists of seven terraces, and has also a palace. Isola dei Piscatori contains a little village peopled with fishermen.
Isola Bella, Borromean Islands.