October 02, 2021

Brissago Islands in Tessin (CH) - Botanical Garden

By Tomas Rodak
Brissago Islands in Tessin (CH) - Botanical Garden

The Brissago Islands form the botanical garden of the Canton of Ticino. The smaller island (or Isola di Sant'Apollinare) is covered by spontaneous vegetation, mainly of Insubrese origin, which is left in its natural state. On the Isola Grande (or Isola di San Pancrazio), which has been open to the public since 1950, mainly plants of subtropical origin from the northern and southern hemispheres have been planted. In 1885, Baroness Antoinette Saint-Léger chose the islands as her residence and frequently invited painters, sculptors, musicians and writers. The large island became an exotic garden.

In 1927, the new owner Max Emden, a businessman from Hamburg, had the present island palace, harbour and Roman bath built and expanded the care of exotic plants. The Botanical Garden offers a fascinating insight into the subtropical plant world.

Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese hemp palms, numerous camellias, Japanese bananas, bamboo and ginkgo transport the visitor to the Far East. The group of plants from South Africa surprises with protea, gazania, watsonia, agapanthus and lion's tail. Central America offers a completely different view with magnolia, the American amber tree, agave, bald cypress (on the islands for 30 years with its roots sticking out of the water), yucca, gold poppy, Guaranite sage, beschorneria, opuntia. From Australia come the huge eucalyptus trees (among the oldest at the southern foot of the Alps), broom heather, acacias. Shrub veronica, club lily and string tree take the visitor to New Zealand.

The Mediterranean is represented by sage, rosemary, holm oak, cork oak, Canary Island date palm, broad-leaved holm oak, strawberry tree heather and pine.

The Brissago Islands are part of the Gardens of Switzerland trade, which brings together the most beautiful gardens.

Closed during winter: open from April to November.