Lake's District Guide Lake's District Guide
Arona (Foto Distretto Turistico dei Laghi) Lower Verbano
On the coast road to the south, after the Borromeo gulf, you reach Lesa, which stands on an inlet of River Erno and the town centre spreads over the hill slope.
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Along the lakeside, the remarkable Palazzo Stampa, in neo-classical style, where Alessandro Manzoni stayed and where nowadays a collection of relics of the philosopher Antonio Rosmini, Manzoni's friend, has its seat.

The visit to the small Romanesque St. Sebastian's Church, dating back to the 12th century, is particulalrly interesting. Along the state road of Simplon, you reach Meina, a favoured firstclass resort for people coming from Lombardy and Novara since the ninteenth century. This is testified by villas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries spread all over the town territory: Villa Favorita, a mixture of neo-classical and liberty styles; Villa Faraggiana, the most interesting, in neo-classical style and plunged into a luxuriant garden-park; the neo-palladian Villa Eden; Palace Savoiroux (17th century); Palace Bedone, Villa Bonomi and Villa Faraone.

It is interesting to visit the hamlets in the hills of Vergante Ghevio and Silvera: the first one dominated by the Church of Our Lady of Assumption with its ROmanesque seven-floor bell tower  (about 30 metres), the second one is constituted by a small heart of picturesque stone-houses around St. Rocco's Church dating back to the seventeenth century. The largest town on the south coast of Lake Maggiore is Arona. This is an important tourist and business centre and here St. Charles Borromeo was born. A 35-metres statue, made in hand-made slabs was dedicated to him.

This monument was terminated in 1698, at the beginning it had to be part of a "Sacred Mount" which had to testify to the greatness of the bishop and of which only three chapels remain.

In Arona there are various important historic-artistic monuments: St. Martyrs Graziano and Felino's Church, St. Mary's from Loreto Church which stands in the oldest square of the town Piazza del Popolo, where there is also the Broletto and traces of the antique harbour. In the town centre there is Villa Ponti. where Napoleon I sojourned at the end of the campaign in Egypt. Nowadays the villa is used for exhibitions of artists of international fame such as Manzù, Guttuso and De Chirico and for classical-music concerts.

On the hill there are the rests of the so-called Viscontea Rock scenery of epic disputes between the Viscontis and Torrianis, St. Charles' birth family; it is today a charming stage over the lake. In the neighbourhood there is the small hamlet Dagnente, with many smart villas. The journalist and deputy Felice Cavallotti and the sculptor Paolo Troubetskoy were buried here. Towards the south, along the coast road, you reach Dormelletto with the special natural park of Cane fields of Dormelletto, it is the only specimen on the west shore of Lake Maggiore, together with the Natural Park of Fondotoce, with typical lake vegetation.

In a perfects state of preservation, in the park, Villa Tesio, a beautiful landscape of agricultural complex, which has been the last location of those who created the historical breed the thoroughbred horses "Dormello Olgiata", to whom the famous Ribot belonged.

The last town on the Piedmont shore of the lake is Castelletto Ticino, destination of young tourism, thanks to many camping sites directly on the lakeshore. The town is located on the borders of the Natural Park of the Tessin, which spreads into the Piedmont territory for over 6,000 hectares.


Texts and images granted kindly from Distretto Turistico dei Laghi Scrl - corso Italia 18

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