Passeggiate Lago d'Orta

Five ways to discover Lake Orta

Passeggiate Lago d'Orta

Five ways to discover Lake Orta

Here are all the best itineraries on Lake Orta. Discover the natural and picturesque wonders of the area.

Lake Orta offers a wealth of natural and spectacular sights. Enjoy the beautiful scenery along one of the splendid walks and hiking trails dotting the area. So, let’s see which are the best trails and itineraries to discover the magic of Lake Orta.

From Orta San Giulio to Corconio

The first one starts from Orta San Giulio, in particular from Piazza Motta. Passing along Via Fava, walk on the shores of the lake on one side and gardens and parks on the other. At Villa Crespi you’ll come to Crociera and, after about 200 meters uphill, near the Santa Caterina hotel, take the narrow lane on the right, the Strada della Prisciola. This climbs up towards the sports field in Legro. After passing the railway underpass, turn right and continue until the end of the village. From here, you’ll head into the middle of the woods. When the paved road turns left and goes up towards Vacciago, go straight ahead on a slightly downhill dirt road; this is in fact the breathtaking panoramic trail offering a splendid view of Lake Orta, Monte Rosa and the Torre di Buccione. After about 90 minutes you’ll end up in Corconio. This route can be done either on foot or via mountain bike.

Girolago Anello Azzurro, connecting Orta with Pella

One of the most famous trails around Lake Orta is the Girolago Anello Azzurro, a series of trails linking some of the most beautiful villages in the area. Orta-Pella is one of such trails; it is about 14 kilometers long and connects the Sacro Monte in Orta with the small village of Pella. Starting from Sacro Monte, walk down along the regional road no. 229 towards Legro. Continue straight on after the station of Orta-Miasino along the Strada della Prisciola until you come to a dirt road heading towards the Santo Stefano church in Corconio. As you climb towards the cemetery in Corconio you’ll come across a provincial road; head downwards as far as the bridge over the railway and turn right. Just after the farmhouse, take the road that climbs up to the left.

After the Fonte Bersanella (fountain), you’ll end up on Via Artogno. Here, turn right at the stop sign and at the following one in Via Mario Motta, turn right again and continue until reaching Lido di Buccione. The small harbor on the Golfo di Buccione runs down along Via Fransisca, a dirt road. Skirting the lake, admire the natural surroundings. After about 2 kilometers, you’ll reach Cascina Fara on the right and on the left there’s a path towards the Chiesa della Madonna di Luzzara.

Going on, you’ll come to Pascolo, a small neighbourhood of San Maurizio d’Opaglio and, even further ahead, to Punta Casario. Walk along Villa Guadagnini and enjoy the view of Villa Castelnuovo. Continue on towards Lagna until you reach the provincial road no. 48. From here, turn right towards the village of Pella and, after passing Roncallo al Lago, you’ll finally reach the historic center of Pella.

Monte Cerano, the scenic trail

At 1,702 meters high, Monte Cerano provides a stunning panoramic vista of Lake Orta from where you can also marvel at Lake Maggiore, Valstrona and the Alps. From Omegna climb towards Valstrona to Germagno. At the start of the village, turn right and go on to the small church of Alpe Quaggione. From here, follow along on the asphalted road which finishes on the slopes of Monte Zuccaro. Then turn right following a well-marked path; you’ll first pass through a grove of beech trees and then continue along the ridge until you reach a junction. On the right you can go on as far as Alpe Pianello, while on the left you can continue to Morello and in the middle to Monte Cerano.

Borca-Crabbia-Agrano-Borca trail, immersed in nature

Park your car in Borca, near the church, then take the well-marked footpath just after the church and walk through a charming grove of chestnut and oak trees. Continue to the right, along a level road above the railway. After passing a few streams, you’ll reach the first homes in Crabbia. Before the church turn left; after a short paved stretch, the path leads again into the woods and ends in a pine forest. Follow the road to the cemetery of Agrano and, after passing it, take the provincial road down to the left. After a small bridge, take the path back into the woods on the left, go down for another 10 minutes and you’ll end up back on the initial path. This trail is about 7 kilometers long and takes about 3½ hours.

Alpe Quaggione, for experienced hikers

This demanding trail runs from Omegna to Alpe Quaggione, so be sure to be physically prepared. Once past the village of Crusinallo, turn towards Casale Corte Cerro. Follow for Gattugno, pass San Fermo and its sanctuary and follow on towards Montebuglio. After the village, the road climbs and there’s no time to rest. Just pass Alpe Rovelli, the crossing with Alpe Rusa and continue towards Alpe Quaggione on the right. The trail slopes considerably and even the most prepared athletes may find it tough. After more than 22 kilometers of hiking trails and 3 hours of walking, you’ll reach Alpe Quaggione. Keep going uphill on the left towards Fontanelle, where you’ll find an incredible view of Lake Orta.

Foto di Ethan Sees da Pexels


Miasino

Miasino, a village between nobility and history.

Miasino and its rich history

Miasino is a town which partially oversees Lake Orta. Rich in history and more, Miasino is an unusual destination, but a very interesting one.

Discrete and elegant, the village emerges from the eastern coast of Lake Orta. Is a small village. The town counts less than 1,000 inhabitants. The heart of the city center is inside of a green false-plain which the mountains surround. We are talking about Miasino, a unique destination for those who visit Lake Orta. Miasino is a focal point for those who want to enjoy nature. 

One of its two districts, Carcegna, oversees the lake. The other one, Pisogno, sits on the slopes of Mount Formica. 

Its history

Despite its compact size and its closeness to more notorious places, like Orta San Giulio and Ameno, Miasino has very ancient origins. During the Middle Ages, Miasino was part of the great episcopal feudal property of the Riviera di San Giulio. 

Indeed, was a rich town during 1600 and 1700, and it was thanks to the presence of middle class and noble families. For this reason, the territory is full of residential houses. 

Moreover, vaunts ancient historical findings, which date back to the Iron Age. Moreover, archeologists found Etruscan heirloom, mostly pottery and earthenware in Campello

In other words, Miasino vaunts a double soul: a historic one and a noble one. And you should discover both. 

What to see

Among the main attractions, we find Church of San Rocco. Architect Francesco Maria Richino realized the project for the rebuilding of this church. The facade of the Church was finished in 1933, when Architect Carlo Nigra took over the project and decided to respect the original drawings. Inside the Church, one finds seventeen hundred marble altar, and important paintings and frescoes. One also finds precious Baroque and late-baroque work of art, which local artists realized. Miasino and its inhabitants have to thank several people who migrated to Milan and Tuscany for the Church’s interiors and its beauty. 

As a result, the Church was proclaimed a national monument. 

Another must-see is Villa Nigra. The mansion vaunts origins from 1500, but it was widened during the 17th and 18th century. Villa Nigra is one of the aristocratic villas, which is today a property of Miasino’s Municipality.

Finally, the Parish and Church of Pisogno, a district of Miasino, Chiesa di San Gottardo, vaunts a spectacular Baroque facade.

Photo by Marcotrovo on Flickr


Gozzano

Gozzano, the town where San Giuliano lies

Gozzano

Gozzano, on the traces of Saint Giuliano

Gozzano is a town by the southern coast of Lake Orta. Gozzano is rich in historical sites, which dates back to Romanesque times. 

Gozzano is a municipality that counts about 5,500 inhabitants. It sits close to the southernmost coast of Lake Orta. The toponym is curious: Gozzano originates from the Latin “Gaudianum”, which one can literally translate as “place of pleasure.” From the same root,  we find the surnames “Godi” and “Godio,” which are very popular in the whole area.  

Gozzano sits on some plain, which the hills of Valsesia and Stream Agogna surround. These landmarks also delimit the borders of the municipality.

Gozzano: the town’s history

We got to know who Saint Giulio was, and why Orta San Giulio – probably the most important center on Lake Orta- took his name. 

Gozzano’s history intertwines with that of Saint Giulio, as well. More precisely, the history of Gozzano relates to that of Saint Giulio’s brothers, Giuliano, who built the 90th house for Marian devotion together with his brother Giulio. This house was the Church of San Lorenzo, where the inhabitants of Gozzano buried Giuliano before the translation to the Basilica of San Giuliano

During the Middle Ages, Gozzano was divided into two city centers: the Villa (north-west) and the Vicus (south-east). The market square, which later became Piazza San Giuliano, divided these two districts. Between the Tenth and Eleventh century, the hill where Basilica di San Giuliano sits became a fort and then a castle. We find it mentioned for the first time in 1015.

What to see in Gozzano

As we understood, Gozzano is rich in important historical and spiritual sites. First, we find the Church of San Lorenzo, which is south to the urban settlement. San Giulio and San Giuliano founded the Church, according to tradition. 

Recent archeological findings confirmed the hagiographical narrative: indeed, archeologists discovered the foundation of an early Christian Church. They think the Church was built between the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth century. The church sits on what was a very revered burial site, which archeologist identified with that of Saint Giuliano. 

From the eight century, the Church of San Lorenzo started a long period of decline, which reached its climax in the transferring of the relics of Saint Giuliano from there to a newly-founded Church, which was inside the city center. 

In 1141, Novara’s bishop entrusted this latter Church to a group of laics, so that they could restore it. However, at that time citizens  had already lost memory about San Giuliano. Therefore, they dedicated the Church to Saint Lorenzo, the martyr. 

The current Basilica of San Giuliano dates back to the first decades of the 18th century. On the interior, we find two big canvas where scenes of the life of San Giuliano are present. 

A must-see in Gozzano is the Church of Madonna Del Boggio, outside the city center. If you are in Gozzano, you should also visit the Church of Santa Maria di Luzzara, with its frescos that date back to the 15th and the 16th century, the Church of San Biagio and the Church of Purificazione di Maria Vergine, in Alzate and Bugnate.

Photo by frank28883 on Flickr


Omegna

Omegna, a town between culture and nature

Omegna

Omegna, a little gem on Lake Orta 

Omegna is a town sitting on the northernmost end of Lake Orta, surrounded by mountains and crossed by river Nigoglia.

Omegna is an Italian town with more than 15 thousand inhabitants in the area of Verbano Cusio Ossola. This settlement sits on the northernmost end of Lake Orta, a body of water of glacial origin. People consider Lake Orta as the smallest but most typical lake in Northern Italy. Surrounded by mountains, the lake waters reflect the borders of Omegna. Then, water flows into the river Nigoglia, which later rejoins stream Strona, and finally reaching Lake Major. 

Omegna, must-see cultural places 

In Omegna, you find several cultural and religious venues that are worth visiting. Among these, the Parish of San Gaudenzio in Crusinallo, the most populated district of Omegna. Following 

In Omegna,  you can find several cultural and religious venues that are worth visiting. Among these, the Parish Church of San Gaudenzio is a must-see: you find it in Crusinallo, the most populous neighborhood in Omegna. In accordance with an ancient legend, the Church is considered as part of the 100 churches that Greek Missionary Saint Giulio founded. The original structure dates back to the eleventh century, as testified by the foundations of the first church and the basement of the bell tower. This church is built according to the principles of the Romanesque architectural style, even though the building was later widened and presents, as a consequence, some style modifications. 

On a hill, right next to the church, we find the San Rocco Youth Ministry, also known as “Chiesa del Castello” (Castle Church). This latter rises on the ruins of an ancient medieval tower, which Counts of Crusinallo, part of “Da Castello” family, built. 

Another impressive architectural work is the ancient bridge of Omegna. For a long period of time, the bridge was considered a Roman artifact. In reality, the structure is an ancient bridge dating back to the Sforza Visconti period, and was built only after 1490. Originally, two round-headed arches composed the bridge, but we hypothesize that a big mass fell down from the mountain in 1920 and burnt down the first arch.  

Built around the eleventh century, the Porta la Valle, today called Porta Romana, is an historical structure of great value for Omegna. This structure represents what remains of the five gates which appeared on the city walls during the Middle Ages. 

Then, the area of Omegna vaunts a great industrial past: the eighteenth century industrial settlement Ferriera (Ironworks) and Fabbricone Angeli-Frua (Angeli-Frua Manufacturing), which was a textile manufacturing company born in 1896, testify this. This latter was the result of the union between cotton mills and printing houses: of both settlements, people can still witness some architectural remains in Omegna, included the Angeli-Frua mill town

The most suggestive promenade

As per what concerns nature and its beauties, Omegna offers several hiking trails and promenades to admire spectacular landscapes. One of these is the Anello di Quarna (Quarna Ring): an accessible itinerary that starts in Cireggio and goes back. Following the directions that lead people to the mule-track, going towards the Santuario della Madonna del Fontegno (Church of the Holy Mary of Fontegno),and is possible to admire the Belvedere di Quarna Sopra  (The Viewpoint of Quarna Sopra), the artificial lake of Vorio, the small lakes of Nonio and the woods of maple and chestnut tree. 

Bagnella-Nonio is another track that nature lovers can take while in Omegna. After walking up to Oira, the path continues and heads towards Nonio, where you can visit both the historical center and the Laghetti (little ponds). By crossing Brolo, then, you will return to the point where one started, Bagnella, where it is possible to stop for a picnic at La Boschina, a park area with the equipment and shades you need. 

Another natural trail is the one connecting Omegna to Mottarone. The track starts with a wood and a viewpoint. Then, hikers can find Stream Manera and the Alpe della Barba (Alp of the Beard). Nature lovers can enter the birch tree, dubbed “Pian della Nave”(Plain of the Ship), and then move to reach the imposing granite rock of Omo. On the slopes of Mottarone, tourists can find Alp Mastrolino, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view on Omegna and Lake Orta. 


Pettenasco

Pettenasco, a Corner of the Middle Ages on Lake Orta

Pettenasco

Pettenasco: History and Activities of this village on Lake Orta 

A Piedmontese Village on Lake d’Orta, whose History is Important and Where Is Possible to Practice Several Different Activities.

Pettenasco is a village in the area of Novara, in Piedmont, overlooking Lake Orta. Precisely, this village is located in-between Orta San Giulio and Omegna. Despite being a small municipality, Pettenasco vaunts significant historical roots and activities that are suitable for any tourist. North to the Medieval Village, then, you find Punta Crabbia, one of the most famous promontories in the area. There, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Lake from Omegna to Orta. 

History

With its 1376 inhabitants, Pettenasco history dates back to the Ancient Romans. This latter could dominate this territory in the past, as some graves present in the area testify. The hypothesis of the Roman presence finds its justification in the legend of Saint Giulio’s life, which tells the story of prefect Audentius, who lived in this area around the 4th century A.D.

The Middle Ages is the historical era that has impacted the history of Pettenasco the most. It is still possible to find several dwellings of that time, presenting stone portals engraved with several decorations. Among these dwellings, the mansion which is best-preserved is the Casa Medioevale (Medieval House), at Piazza Unità d’Italia.  The cultural association Pro Loco Pettenasco Nostra manages Casa Medievale. The organization offers exhibitions, concerts, and kermesse reunions in the court and rooms of Casa Medioevale.

What to See and Do? 

Besides the remains of Saint Audentius Church and the Parish of Saint Audentius and Catherine, windmills are worth visiting when in Pettenasco. These latter represent the agricultural nature that the town had in the past, as they were used to grind flour. 

Later, windmills turned into hydraulic plumbings used by woodturners to manufacture crafts to sell: this activity lasted until the end of the fifties. Today, these woodturners and, in particular, the one on the Roggia Molinara welcomes the Museum on the Art of Woodturning, where one can admire the tools of the trade.  

Concerning the activities that Pettenasco offers for tourists, they can choose among several beaches on the lake. If you want to relax in nature by the Passeggiata del Lungolago (Lakeside promenade), the best beaches are: 

  • Approdo beach;
  • Dolphin’s beach;
  • Riva Pisola beach;

Sports lovers can engage in various hiking trails and, in particular, those of Mount Barro and the Anello Azzurro (Blue Ring). Pettenasco and its surroundings host the Lake Orta Wine Festival, which is the most important wine festival in the district.  The event promotes local wines and their tasting, and it usually takes place during the second week of September.

Photo by mauromilani19 on Flickr


Isola Bella Lago Maggiore

Borromean Islands, a tour amidst nature and art

Exploring Lake Maggiore around the Borromean Islands

Isola Bella Lago Maggiore

Isola Madre, Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, the three islands forming the Borromean Islands, a charming archipelago located on Lake Maggiore

The Borromean Islands are a wonderful archipelago located in the area of the Borromean Gulf, one of the most famous and well-known areas of Lake Maggiore. The islands are precisely located on the Piedmontese shore of the lake, which also includes the towns of Stresa, Baveno and Verbania. Thousands of tourists visit Isola Madre, Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, the three famous Borromean Islands, every year.

The Borromean Islands archipelago attracts so many visitors thanks not only to the characteristic natural beauty and setting, but also to how easy it is to explore its 3 signature islands. In fact, these “pearls” are located in front of Stresa, and can be reached with the Navigazione Laghi ferryboats, which make about 40 daily trips with departures every 30 minutes.

Visit the Borromean Islands and discover the Isola Madre

The largest of the Borromean Islands is that of Isola Madre with its charming and intimate atmosphere. This natural paradise features the Borromeo family’s eighteenth-century palace, which preserves both the family’s precious porcelain as well as an extraordinary display of marionettes. This structure, considered one of the best examples of topiary art in the world, is surrounded by a magnificent garden, with rare plants and exotic flowers, in addition to a varied fauna of white peacocks, parrots and wild gilded pheasants.

Nature is the true Ruler of Isola Madre; in fact, it is particularly known for the flowering of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. Visitors to the island will be delighted by the ancient pergolas of wisteria, cedar and lemon espaliers and a collection of hibiscus. Tourists are also surprised to learn that the largest of the Borromean Islands is home to Europe’s largest cypress tree, a 200-year-old specimen from Kashmir.

Visit Isola Bella, the Borromean Islands’ natural jewel

Isola Bella is the sister of Isola Madre whose name comes from Isabella d’Adda, the wife of Charles III Borromeo, and is known for its Palazzo Borromeo. Visitors are captivated by this artistic and architectural gem with its halls and rooms, stone and shell-covered caves and garden, which houses a variety of exotic plants. Of particular interest are the 10 overlapping terraces in the garden, which is a classic example of a 17th century “Italian garden“.

The Palazzo Borromeo also has great historical importance, including guests such as Napoleon Bonaparte, with a room dedicated to him, and Mussolini, who transformed the building into a representative seat for a 1935 international conference.

The characteristic Isola dei Pescatori

And finally, the Isola dei Pescatori, the only Borromean Islands which does not belong to the Borromeo family is inhabited all year round. Also known as the Isola Superiore, it gets its name from the fishing practices carried out by its inhabitants. Most of the multi-story houses on the island have long balconies, essential for drying fish. During the summer, in particular around mid-August, numerous visitors flock to this picturesque spot not only to buy local handicrafts in the island’s characteristic market, but also and above all to witness the procession of illuminated fishing boats carrying the statue of the Assumption around the island.

photo credits: interbeat from Flickr.com – license


Ameno - Lago d'Orta

Ameno, the village of artists and nature

Ameno, a culture and nature tour of the “town of artists”

Is a village on Lake Orta known for its numerous palaces and stately villas as well as for its incredible natural beauty.

Also known as the “town of artists“, Ameno, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Orta amidst the hills, has very ancient origins. The area has been a tourist destination since the 18th century; nearly 500,000 tourists visit each year. Numerous aristocratic villas were built here at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. They can now be visited during the annual “Cortili e Giardini Aperti” event when their gardens are opened to the public and you can enjoy these historic estates. What other cultural, artistic and natural sites are worth visiting during a weekend in Ameno?

Ameno, a cultural excursion among churches and villas

On a religious note, the Chiesa Parrocchiale di Santa Maria Assunta (the parish church) in Ameno is an example of medieval architecture, with its three naves, flanked by a late-Romanesque bell tower built with granite stones. The church seems to date back to the second half of the 14th century. The Convento di Monte Mesma is another cultural landmark you just have to stop and see while visiting Ameno. Its particularly picturesque position makes it possible to admire a magnificent view of the entire Po Valley, including Milan and Novara. The Franciscan convent, which is 576 meters high, was built in 1619 from the remains of a castle which was the stage of hostile clashes between Novara and the local diocese. The convent has two baroque cloisters, which lead to a gabled church with interesting paintings inside. The convent can also be reached by traveling along two mule tracks which leave just outside the neighborhoods of Bolzano and Lortallo.

Palazzo dei Conti Tornelli, Palazzo del Marchese Solaroli, Villa del Conte Agazzini, Casa Cotta, Villa Obicini, Palazzo Vegezzi, Casa Pestalozza and Villa Reiser are just some of the historic villas and palaces characterizing Ameno. This Renaissance trousseau is crowned by the Casa Calderara, home of the painter Antonio Calderara. It is an example of bourgeois architecture, distinguished by a triple arcaded portico of granite columns and which was built at the end of the 16th century. Currently this building is a foundation housing and protecting 327 works of art, all collected by Calderara and of which 271 belong to 133 European, American, Japanese and Chinese artists.

Villa Monte Oro is an illustrious Liberty-style example located at the beginning of Ameno. Designed by Carlo Nigra in 1926, this complex includes multiple two or three storey buildings. The vast park covering the entire hill on which stands the villa at the top is both unique and spectacular; in fact, inside you can find an incredible variety of rare conifers, azaleas, rhododendrons and secular beeches.

Discovering Ameno’s protected natural heritage

As far as Nature is concerned, in Ameno, Monte Mesma is one of its most important sights. In fact, in addition to being able to hike along the two mule tracks mentioned above to reach the Franciscan Convento, you should know that this area is also a Nature Reserve. The slopes of the mountain are rich in vegetation. In particular, you’ll find woods full of chestnut and oak trees. The entire area is also home to a remarkable archaeological site, with artifacts of Celtic origin and materials from the Gallic and Roman-Imperial periods.

In front of Palazzo Tornielli, also in Ameno, there is a Neo-Gothic park. Originally this green area was connected to the building by an underground passage, and opened to the public in 1920. During renovations from 2007 to 2011, the original beauty and splendor of this place was brought to light – trees centuries-old, flowerbeds with native species, a traditional pavilion with floral décor, an old ice-house and a tower are just a few of the elements characterizing the charm and uniqueness of Ameno’s Neo-Gothic Park.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash


Mottarone Lago d'Orta

Monte Mottarone, the mountain overlooking the lakes

Monte Mottarone is located between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta. Visitors know it for its breathtakingly beautiful natural surroundings.

Mottarone Lago d'Orta

Monte Mottarone is an imposing peak at 1491 meters above sea level separating Lake Maggiore from Lake Orta. Located between the provinces of Verbania and Novara, this rocky complex is renowned not only for its 5 km long skiing resort with 17 ski and snowboard runs, as well as for the stunning panorama you can relish at the summit.

Monte Mottarone, the spectacular beauty of nature

Nature enthusiasts looking for spectacular panoramas can’t miss out on Monte Mottarone. From the top you can enjoy a 360° view of the Ligurian Apennines, Maritime Alps, Monte Rosa and Monviso, as well as the Swiss Alps. And that’s not all … from Monte Mottarone you can also marvel at the Po Valley and the natural splendor of the “Seven Lakes” (Orta, Maggiore, Mergozzo, Biandronno, Varese, Monate and Comabbio).

In 1911 a rack train was built and became an historic means of transport to reach Monte Mottarone from Stresa. Subsequently, this charming little train was closed down and the current Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone cable car was built in its place. In just 20 minutes, you can go from a lakeside to mountainside setting. Historically, Mottarone is also famous because it was here, on 18 January 1935, that the “Coppa del Duce” was held, an international skiing competition representing Italy’s first giant slalom event.

Monte Mottarone, the ultimate place for sports enthusiasts

Those who love trekking will find Monte Mottarone an ideal location for long and relaxing walks immersed in nature. There are numerous historical and scenic trails that run along this rocky peak. You can hike through secular pine, fir, beech, larch and chestnut forests.

One of the most beautiful is the trail connecting the village of Alpino with the top of Mottarone; in fact, it has an altitude difference of more than 680 meters and lasts about 1.5 hours. Despite the fatigue, visitors are surprised and satisfied by the beautiful natural surroundings and by the spectacular panorama awaiting them at the top of the mountain.

Mottarone is also a very interesting geological site, thanks to the various quarries, primarily made up of white and pink granites, defining its territory. In winter, Monte Mottarone is very popular with skiers and snowboarders. The Mottarone ski resort is home to several kilometers of runs, as well as a fully equipped restaurant area and equipment rental point.

photo credits: Lapatia from Flickr.com – license


Pella lago d'orta

Pella, a picturesque village on Lake Orta

Pella, the history and architectural treasures of this village in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Province

Pella, a small but charming village overlooking Lake Orta, is rich in history with artistic and architectural charm.

Pella lago d'Orta

Pella is a charming village on the western shore of Lake Orta. It is one of the oldest towns in Cusio territory and rich in history. Pella, in fact, has an important historical legacy, during which it was ruled by both the Episcopates and the Savoy family. So, what are Pella’s historical roots? And what’s there to see in this peculiar little Italian village?

Pella, exploring the village’s historical heritage

Starting in the 10th century, the village of Pella was part of diocesan jurisdiction. A fundamental event to remember in the history of this charming village is the resistance to the invasion of Cesare Maggio, the Captain of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, in 1529. In this occasion, the defense system that was present since the Middle Ages proved to be more efficient, and today the only visible remains are that of a tower.

The House of Savoy later acquired Pella in 1767. During this period the village shared with other areas in the same territory, the economic growth provided by the specialized artisan skills involving canvases made from hemp as well as the manufacturing of taps and fittings. One of the most significant historical contributions to Pella was that of the stonemasons who work with granite. These individuals have been honored by the Monumento agli Scalpellini (Stone Mason Monument), found in Alzo along with a 3-kilometer trail leading to the Santuario della Madonna del Sasso. This is where the Museo dello Scalpellino is located. Here, visitors get the chance of learning about these difficult and dangerous work carried out by the stone masons thanks to the display of tools, artifacts and documents.

What’s there to see in Pella?

In the small village of Pella, along what was once the route of the stonemasons, was found the Masso coppellato (a stone with carved cup and ring marks), a discovery dating back to the Iron Age of great archaeological importance. The historical and cultural tradition of Pella is also symbolized by the tettoia-lavatoio or covered wash-house, used by the women of Pella to wash their laundry when it wasn’t possible to reach the lake because of rain and storms, but also for storing water coming from the Pellino creek.

On a religious note, the Chiesa Parrocchiale, dedicated to Sant’Albino Vescovo, is also worthy of a visit during a tour of Pella. Built in 1591, as evidenced by the granite lintel above the entrance door, this building has undergone several renovations, such as the expansion of the nave, the addition of the portico at the entrance and the creation of a mosaic floor in the presbytery and choir. The renowned stonemasons also took part in the construction of the new bell tower in 1936 and built with granite boulders from the Alzo quarry.

A few steps from the Chiesa Parrocchiale di Sant’Albino is the Ponte sul Pellino. It is an age-old humpbacked structure, or rather a bridge crossing the river with an arch as wide as possible, typical of Medieval traditions. At that time, this architectural masterpiece was the only link between the ancient San Rocco cemetery and the village; funeral processions would pass over it after ceremonies were held in the Chiesa Parrocchiale.

Another Chiesa or church worth visiting in Pella is the Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Giovanni Battista situated in the splendid Piazza di Alzo. Built starting in 1589, the edifice has a single nave and four side chapels. The most distinguishing characteristic of this church is its woodworking, which has undergone numerous expansions and renovations over time.

 

photo credits: Lapatia, ender7.wiggin from Flickr.com – license


Lago di Mergozzo

Mergozzo Lake | Between the cleanest waters in Italy

Lago di Mergozzo

Lake Mergozzo, the blue mirror of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola

Is one of the cleanest basin in Italy, offering a wide range of activities for athletes as well as families. 

Is one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the whole Italian Peninsula and sits in Verbano Cusio Ossola (Piedmont). This basin is very close to the Gulf of Borromeo and takes its name from Mergozzo, the village welcoming it. What are the main characteristics of Lake Mergozzo, and what are the activities offered for tourists? 

History and geographical characteristics

Once, Lake Mergozzo constituted the most Western part of Lake Major, namely the Sinus Mergotianus.  The continuous floods of river Toce contributed to the emersion of a stretch of land, which divided Lake Major into two basins. Lake Mergozzo was born. The lake is still connected to Lake Major thanks to a channel long 2.7 km. 

One of the main characteristics of Lake is that its waters are one of the clearest in Italy thanks to the lack of industrial manufacturers on its shores; the ban on the use of motorboats; and a drainage system not discharging in the basin. 

With regards to the structural characteristics of Lake, the basin is 2.5 km long, and a bit more than 1 km wide. 

Lake waters reach a depth of 74 meters,  for a total volume of water which is almost 90 million  meters cubic meter. Lake Mergozzo merges with various other watercourses, among which:

  • Rascina Stream;
  • Valle dei Noci Stream;
  • Toce River.

What to do by Lake Mergozzo? 

National and international tourists love Lake Mergozzo thanks to its waters. The basin suits those who love water sports, as kayaking; windsurf; and recreational fishing. For those favoring other activities, they find in Lake Mergozzo a place where to relax far from hot temperatures. Along the rivers of Lake, you find several beaches, where you can dive in the crystal-clear waters of the lake. 

Among the several beaches here by Lake, the ones worth sharing are: 

  • Free sandy beach La Quieta, located on the road leading to Verbania;
  • Free sandy free beach  Continental, in Verbania;
  • Grass beach Piccolo Lago, in Verbania;
  • Free grass beach Lido Pilastri, in Mergozzo;
  • Free grass beach il Portaiolo – La Rustica, still in Mergozzo.

Its beaches are ideal for families: they find bars, picnic areas, toilets, and entertainment areas. In case you wish to go for a pleasant walk, you find a trail running from the west side of Lake Mergozzo. We are talking about the Blue trail, a historical-environmental trail branching out along the Western side of Mount Montorfano. This track will leads tourists from the inhabited center of Mergozzo to the village of Montorfano, following a ring route that goes through the woods. 

Photo by sabino1979 on Flickr