3367 – An Unfinished Palace

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3367 – An Unfinished Palace
Jan 072016

Just as Austria, Portugal is a small country, but while Austria was much bigger before the Great War, Portugal was always of its current size.

What Portugal had and Austria direly lacked (at least if we disregard the short episode of the reign of Charles V), that were colonies. Colonies were the wealth of Portugal, colonies were what it clung to, almost to a bitter end, and that wealth is the reason for the unusual number of oversized imperial buildings in and around Lisbon.

Not everything was finished though, at least not always in time (as we already saw in Santa Engrácia), and in some cases a half-finished building is what we see today. One example for that is the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda. I didn’t go in, I just went through its courtyard on my way to Belém.

Jul 032014

Some places are beyond real. Isola Bella is one of them. This is one of the three Borromean Islands between Verbania and Stresa.

Basically the island is not much more than a palace and a garden, but what a palace this is, and the extravagance of the garden puts it high on the list of attractions you must have seen.

We were lucky. Weather was fair, the sky was blue and only graced by a few scattered clouds.

The Image of the Day is one of the few that I made inside the palace, immediately before I was told that photography is forbidden. Well, sometimes it helps to ask whether a photo permit is available for some extra money, but in this case it was not. It’s a little petty-minded given the steep price they asked at the entrance, but then, it’s private property, unfortunately they can do as they want.

Well, the inside was not overly interesting anyway. Lots of people and most parts of the rooms not accessible, the furniture mindlessly arranged in a way that makes no sense at all, much of it covered under cheap looking plastic foil. I mean, yes, it’s probably effective to prevent children from climbing into 400 year old beds, but even if the purpose is preservation, I have the feeling they could have done it in a more tasteful way.

Anyway, the most interesting part of the island is the park. There you have exotic plants, lemon trees with lemons bigger than you ever thought a lemon could be, fountains, white peacocks, rich sculptures in a lavish paradise garden, and everywhere you see the word from the Borromeo family’s coat of arms: Humilitas. Go figure 🙂

By the way, the last image shows the Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees. This is where Hemingway stayed and, well, we didn’t 😀

The Song of the Day is “Viaggi e Miraggi” by Francesco De Gregori.