Susan Worner Tours

Cannero – Autumn Gardens of Lake Maggiore

28 September – 03 October 2015

Image Description

Concentrating on the wealth of beautiful gardens around Lake Maggiore, this tour offers a balance between interesting botanic gardens and those of classic Renaissance and later Italian style. We visit the gardens of Isole di Brissago in Switzerland with its interesting collection of plants. The shelter of high Alps to the north, the sharply varied seasonal temperatures and the humidity of the lakes provide excellent growing conditions. In late September the scent of Osmathus fragans is delightful.

Our base is the very comfortable Hotel Cannero with its lovely garden on the quiet Maggiore lakeside, run by Signora Gallinotto and her family. The restaurant overlooks the lake and mountains beyond and specialises in north Italian cuisine. Cannero, a delightful, typically Italian village, is a perfect base. We use the lake ferries when possible to arrive at the gardens.




Flight to Milan Malpensa airport. Transfer to the hotel with time to relax or discover the village. Aperitivo and short talk on the week’s programme before dinner together in the hotel restaurant (each evening).


Morning visit of private garden in Cannero followed by a guided walk around Cannero. At lunchtime we proceed to the Villa Taranto where light refreshments are available. Purchased in 1930, the 44 acres of parkland and garden were created by Captain Neil McEacharn, assisted by Henry Cocker who trained at Kew. The collection of mature trees and plants is impressive: the autumn display of their dahlia collection is stunning.


A full day’s visit to the Borromean islands. Isola Bella is an architectural wonder; we will discover the dramatic well-planted Baroque gardens, starting in the Courtyard of Diana, continuing to the parterres, and finally the superb water theatre. We island hop to the island of Isola Madre for lunchtime and then visit the superb garden. Essentially a botanic garden with its own microclimate; citrus trees, mimosa and carob thrive, and white peacocks can be seen amongst hibiscus, canna, oleander and brugmansia. The views from the island across the lake to the snow-capped Alps are spectacular. Return to the lakeside town of Pallanza by ferry.


Ferry across the lake to Luino; continue to Villa Cicogna-Mozzoni at Bisuschio in Italy. The U-shaped villa has frescoes with floral motifs, garlands and vines reflecting the garden and countryside beyond. The Renaissance garden dates back to 1560 and is like an extension to the villa with box parterres, statues and fountains, while beyond is the celebrated water staircase. We enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing through the rural Valculvia valley to visit the gardens of the early eighteenth-century Villa della Porta Bozzolo, now belonging to FAI, the Italian National Trust. Return by boat to Cannero.


Morning visit to a recently restored lakeside garden in Cannero. Late morning we travel by minibus to Switzerland and by ferry to the well-known Swiss botanic island gardens of Isole di Brissago. Lunchtime on the island. The retired head gardener will take us to discover the superb collection of plants from around the world. Return to Cannero by ferry and minibus. Early evening we enjoy an aperitif on a local boat while discovering the history of the Castelli di Cannero.


After breakfast departure to Milan Malpensa airport for the return flights.

Map of Italy

Tour Costs

Air Flight, Hotel and Itinerary costs £1885pp
Accommodation based on 2 people sharing
Dinner on 5 evenings
Supplement – single use of double room £380

Activity Level:

On/off lake ferries, mostly level garden paths and flights of steps.

Additional Information:

Can be combined with a few days in Venice or our Sicily Gardens tour.