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


Borgomanero

Borgomanero and its historic and cultural identity

Borgomanero

Borgomanero: history and what to see in the most important city of the district of Novara.

The second largest and most important city in the district of Novara, Borgomanero offers tourists an important historical past, besides its several attractions.

Borgomanero is well-known as it is the second and most important city of the area of Novara, after Novara itself. The prime position where this evocative urban center sits is truly favorable. Indeed, Borgomanero is in the northernmost area of the Novarese plain, ending in the high ground of Santa Caterina (Saint Catherine), San Michele (Saint Michael), and Maggiate on the Northern side, and Vergano Colombaro and Cureggio on the Eastern side. The historical and geographical characteristics of Borgomanero make it a city with a strong cultural identity, open to innovation and technology. 

Borgomanero: Geography and History

In the past, Borgomanero was the crossroad between the streets that led to Riviera d’Orta, and Sempione and Turin and Lake Major. 

This was the reason why people decided to build Borgomanero: it was a reference point for the Piedmontese trade. From the urbanistic and geographical level, Borgomanero preserves the model of Crux Viarum that people used to build the city during the Middle Ages. 

The most ancient testimony related to Borgomanero’s existence dates back to one of the twenty-three manors of the court of Barazzola. The name of the city has, however, different origins: the first official denomination is related to the Church of San Leonardo. The Church was a landmark for the pilgrims on the Via Francisca. 

The episcopate of Novara later decided to transform Borgo S.Leonardo into a military stronghold, which also became a support for the Catholic Church’s expansion toward the North. Eventually, this settlement was named after the Chief Magistrate of Novara, Giorgio Maniero

The building of a new town meant that the ancient village of San Leonardo, whose Church is still present and was external to the walls of the previous village. 

What are the most important monuments and attractions in Borgomanero? 

From a cultural point of view, Borgomanero offers a series of activities, characteristic monuments that are worth visiting. Showing that the city preserve its humble agricultural origins, one of the most important attractions of the city is the “Grape Festival,a popular folk festival where floats parade and music artists perform. 

In 1936, Podestà Gianni Colombo set up this event, which aimed to celebrate the grape-harvest. Originally, the festival took place during the 3rd week of September. Today, the festival is part of a longer event, which includes the “Donkey Race” and that takes the name of “Settembre Borgomanerese.” This  initiative animates the territory for four weeks, gaining prestige on the national level. 

But tourist know Borgomanero also because of Biblioteca Pubblica, a public library that the Cultural Institution of Achille Marazza Foundation manages. 

Here, a special section “History of Piedmont and Lombardy,” where one finds the almost complete collection of the book that authors published on the theme since 1500.  

Concerning the monuments that are worth seeing, we find the Statua della Madonna (Virgin Mary Statue), which Gabriele I D’Este ordered. Besides, we find the Collegiata of San Bartolomeo, the Chiesetta di San Leonardo (Church of San Leonardo), the Palazzo d’Este, and the Castello di Vergano (Castle of Vergano).

Photo by suzevonk on Flickr


Domodossola

Domodossola, A City Surrounded By Breathtaking Villages And Landscapes

Domodossola

Domodossola, A City Surrounded By Breathtaking Villages And Landscapes

Seven Alpine Valleys Surrounds Domodossola, A City In Piedmont That Has Been A Borderland And Intersection Among Different Cultures And Trades Since Ancient Times.

Seven alpine valleys surround Domodossola, a city in Piedmont that has been a borderland among different cultures and trades since ancient times. 

 

Domodossola is a city in Piedmont which is part of the district of Verbano- Cusio-Ossola. The city counts more than 18,000 inhabitants and represents the authentic heart of Ossola Valley.

 

Its prime location allows visitors to admire breathtaking alpine landscapes and valleys. Domodossola sits on the plain of River Toce, in-between the neighborhood of Caddo di Crevoladossola and the Sacred Mount Calvary. Its altitude ranges from 238 m to 2,635 meters above sea level. 

 

The History of Domodossola

 

In light of the findings in Val d’Ossola, we can claim that prehistoric men inhabited the area of Domodossola. Throughout its history, the city had different names like Oscella, Domus Oxela, Oscela, Oxila, and Burgus Domiossula. 

 

During the first half of the 19th century, with the opening of Traforo Del Sempione, Domodossola became one of the most important European traffic hubs. 

 

During World War II, the city became the capital of a Partisan Republic, which proclaimed itself independent from the dictatorship. The population sacrificed itself while resisting the Nazi-German and Fascist troops. For this reason, Domodossola received a Golden Medal for Distinguished Military Conduct. 

 

What to see in Domodossola 

 

Domodossola is a famous destination, attracting Italian and foreigners. Tourists love its beautiful landscapes and wonderful historic buildings, which you find both in Domodossola and in Val d’Ossola, also part of the district. 

 

The famous Saturday city market has ancient roots. Still, the whole city is rich in big and small shops.

 

Domodossola offers the perfect mix of history, shopping, and high-quality restaurants. 

 

The municipality importantly restored the City Center during the first half of the 2000s. These works gave birth to the “Village of Culture”, which the ancient city walls surround. The restored medieval city renewed the appearance of the city center completely and highlighted the distinctive features of its architecture.

 

A must-see is the Sacred Mount Calvary, which stands very close to the city center. In 2003, UNESCO nominated Sacred Mount Calvary a World Heritage Site. In 1656, two Capuchin friars chose the Colle Mattarella, which rises above Domodossola, and decided to host the Sacred Mount Calvary there. As a result, they built 12 chapels that guested wonderful statues and frescos. At the peak of the hill, we find the Santuario Della Santa Croce, which presents an octagonal shape. 

 

The market square is another city icon, the real heart of Domodossola, which showcase the characteristic medieval arcades, dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century. 

 

From here, you will embark on a trip around Domodossola’s surroundings, starting right in the districts of Domodossola. 

 

Domodossola and the beautiful villages around it

 

Just a few kilometers away from Domodossola, one can admire several villages that history and beauty have permeated. Among these, we cannot but cite the Borgo di Canova, which an accurate work of restoration got back to its former glory. Besides, we find Crevoladossola, with the Romanic Church of Saint Peter and Paul; Vagna, with the beautiful Church dedicated to Saint Brizio and the “Festa du bambin”, a special Summer Christmas. We also find Lusentino, one of Domodossola’s hamlets that sits at the highest altitude. There, you find Winter ski runs and hiking tracks for the good season. Anzuno is also a must-see, which can be reached through a trail in chestnut woods. Vallesone, a historic village, testifies the presence of a rural economy, bringing tourists back in time. Last but not least, Trontano offers to visitors a trip in the right place, thanks to one of the most beloved festivals in the whole Val d’Ossola area: the Mushroom Festival.

Photo by tommychheng on Flickr


Verbania - lago Maggiore

Verbania: Piedmont’s pearl that is rich in gardens and mansions

Verbania - lago Maggiore

Verbania, the city called “garden by the Lake.”

Discover Verbania and its surrounding areas. Lake Orta and Lake Major’s proximity and its mild Climate make of Verbania one of the most beautiful places in Piedmont.

In 1939, when Intra and Pallanza merged, Verbania was born. Is the biggest city center on Lake Major and the administrative center of the district of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. 

Thanks to the spectacular gardens and mansions, is also known as “the Garden on the Lake.” 

Different villages compose Verbania. These villages are present both lakeside and hillside and offer hiking opportunities for all tastes. Verbania spreads from the lake to the hinterland, from Parco Nazionale Val Grande to Mount Rosa and the Ossola Valley. 

Thanks to its privileged geographic position and its climate, Verbania is a famous and beloved destination for tourists coming from all over the world. 

The History and Geography of a “Young City”

Benito Mussolini decided on the foundation of the city of Verbania, that was born on April 4th, 1939. 

The name Verbania is a calque of the Latin Lago Verbanus, namely the ancient name of Lake Major.

Today, with more than 30,500 inhabitants, is the most populous center of the whole Lake Major area. 

Is a triangle-shaped territory that stretches up to the middle of the Lake. The high end of the city reaches 693 meters with the peak of Mount Rosso. 

Indeed, Verbania extends on a large surface, which translates into the city occupying a long stretch of the Piedmont shore of Lake Major. 

What to see

Noble and historical families built several mansions over the years, which still attract the attention of Italian and foreign tourists. 

Among these, the eighteen-hundred Villa Taranto is a must-see. Scottish Mr. McEacharn was the last owner of the villa, which he decided to donate, together with its beautiful gardens, to the municipality. Villa Taranto hosts several different species of European and exotic plants, which makes this Villa one of the favorite attractions of Verbania.  

Another mansion to check is certainly Villa San Remigio, which you can find next to the anonymous Parish, built during the twelfth century. Spectacular and invaluable frescos decorate the Villa. 

The historical center hosts Palazzo Dugnani, an amazing example of baroque architecture, which guests the Museum of Verbania and Landscape. Besides, another venue to check is the San Vittore Basilica, which sits in the same area where a fourteen-hundred Christian church was present. After the proclamation of San Vittore as the patron of Verbania in 1992, the church became the main church of the city. 

The Wonderful Surrounding Landscapes

On the outskirts of Verbania, several venues and buildings are present and worth visiting. We cannot but cite the Borromean Islands and all the tiny towns around Lake Major, just like Stresa, where the ferries directed to the Island leave. 

If you look at the Borromean Gulf, you can spot the Isola Madre, which, even though it is part of Stresa is closer to Verbania, the Isola Bella, and the Isola Dei Pescatori. Right ahead of the promontory of Castagnola you can find the little island of San Giovanni, which is just a few kilometers away from the coast and another property of Borromeo. 

Events

Verbania hosts several recurring events, which nature lovers particularly like. The city dedicates some weeks to tulips, orchids, azalea, and camellia. These events are possible thanks to the mild climate of the area and usually end with the Corso Fiorito, a parade float that takes place during the first Sunday of September. 

In the summer, tourists can enjoy concerts, races, outdoor film festivals, and sports competitions. These events meet the expectations of children and adults and make of Verbania one of the favorite destinations in Piedmont and beyond.

Photo by Oissaly on Flickr


Arona - Lago Maggiore

Arona, one of the most beautiful and welcoming towns in Italy

Arona - Lago Maggiore

Arona, One Of The Most Beautiful Towns In Italy

Arona Is One Of The Most Famous Tourist Destinations In The Lake Major Area, Which Became Part Of The Italian Touring Club Circuit, After Being Awarded Their Orange Flag.

A Piedmontese town of about 14,000 inhabitants, Arona is under Novara jurisdiction and is the main port of Lake Major. In Arona and its surroundings, we find the Parco Naturale Dei Lagoni, which is in the district of Mercurago. The park became part of UNESCO heritage in 2011.

Thanks to the rich and diversified cultural offer, the beauty of landscapes surrounding it, and the care for visitors, Arona is the ideal place for those who want to dive through beauty and relax. 

The Ancient Origins Of Arona & the San Carlone

The city is named after its Celtic roots, from “art” (Mount) and “on”(water), meaning “mount by the water”. 

Arona vaunts a very ancient history: some archeological findings testify the existence of a stilt village, which was inhabited since prehistoric times. Later, Arona became part of the feudal properties of the Borromeo Family: San Carlo Borromeo was born here in the first half of the 16th century. 

Bishop of Milan, a statue in copper and bronze representing San Carlo sits right outside the city center. One can admire the monument from any point in the Lake Major area, above all from the shores of Angera and Ronco, in the region of Lombardy. 

Sancarlone or Arona’s San Carlone is the most iconic attraction of the city. You cannot but visit this colossus, which is 35 meters high. 

Cardinal Federico Borromeo ordered the statue construction in 1697, after San Carlo’s death in 1584, to honor his cousin’s canonization. This statue inspired the construction of one of the most famous statues in the world: the Statue of Liberty of New York. 

A tourist can also visit the inside of San Carlone. Visitors can reach different points of the statue body and face through two stairs, which maximum six people can climb per time. From San Carlo’s eyes and ears, you can admire a wonderful view of Lake Major and its landscape. 

What To See In Arona

Arona sits on the shores of the Piedmont side of Lake Major. Stream Ververa crosses the town and flows into Lake Major. Hilly terrains and woods occupy a great majority of the area. 

Other than Sancarlone and Parco Naturale Dei Lagoni, visitors should check out the town center and Rocca di Arona. Rocca di Arona is a fortress that the Longobards built around the 11th-century with a big park – open to the public- and a great view of the mountains and lake surrounding it. 

In the low end of the town, tourists find the Palazzo di Giustizia, which dates back to the 15th century, and Villa Ponti, a mansion where the municipality organizes different art exhibitions and conferences. 

Arona Is One Of The Most Beautiful Italian Town

In 2018, Arona received the Orange Flag, a prize awarded to municipalities that, besides offering a relevant historical, cultural, and environmental experience to tourists, also offer high-quality hospitality services. 

The Italian  Touring Club has been selecting, certifying and promoting exceptional towns  since 1998, awarding them with the orange flag, a quality label for tourists, especially from the touristic and environmental point of view. 

In this way, Arona joins Orta San Giulio, adding two orange flags to the area of Novara, granting touristic and environmental quality. The number of flags that the Touring Club awarded to Piedmont reached a total of 31. Piedmont is now the second most orange region after Tuscany. 

Among the reasons why Arona received this award, we know that the diverse historical and cultural offer, the landscape and the prestige of the area (Lake Major), and the presence of pedestrian zones in the city center were key factors. Indeed, these latter improve the tourist’s experience. 

Photo by Albert Ndoci on Unsplash