Isola Bella, a baroque beauty, is a small island near Taormina, Sicily, southern Italy. Also known as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea, it is located within a small bay on the Ionian Sea; it was a private property until 1990, when it was bought by the Region of Sicily and turned into a nature reserve and administrated by the Italian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature. The island has a small and rather rocky beach which is a popular destination for sunbathers.
King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies gifted the island to the nearby town of Taormina in 1806. The island was then bought from the town by a Ms. Trevelyan, who built a small house facing the sea and imported exotic plants, which thrived in the Mediterranean climate. Subsequent owners kept up the island, until the owner went bankrupt and auctioned it off in 1990. The island had been noted by conservationists as early as 1983, and it was quickly obtained by the region and designated a protected natural site. (Adapted, Luigi Strano)