Lake's District Guide Lake's District Guide
Carmine - Cannobio (Foto Distretto Turistico dei Laghi) Ossola Plain
When you reach the plain you find Ornovasso, a village founded at the end of the thirteenth century by the Walser settlers coming from Vallese.
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In the historical centre, of great artistic value, there is the Oratory of Madonna del Bosco where you can admire medieval frescoes. Along the road which leads to the Sanctuary of Madonna del Boden, which keeps more than 2000 votive offerings, you find the Baroque church of Madonna della Guardia, with a medieval signal-tower (XII century). One kilometre North from Ornovasso there is a square, the starting point of a foot route which makes possible visiting a part of the Cadorna line, a complex of military fortifications realized during the First World War. Going on northwards, on a little small loom of the Toce river, there is Anzola d'Ossola, an ancient domination of the Viscontis; the village contains three principal monuments: the Romanesque St Tommaso's church, re-arranged in the seventeenth century, the seventeenth century St Rocco's oratory and the Sanctuary of Madonna del Carmine, placed in a dominant position as to the village.

Making excursions close to nature is even possible: for example you can reach, through a mule-track, Piazza Grande alp, 1000 metres high, the theatre of the famous cherry feast in June. The village Pieve Vergonte is known for its religious traditions, followed still today by the local people; the Veneration of St. Orsa, the protectress of waters and the patroness of Ossola, is the most important one. From the village Promosello Chiovenda, which keeps a traditional peasant-mountain culture, you can make excursions in the uncontaminated nature of Valgrande and even in the natural Bosco Tenso oasis, founded in 1990 with the support of WWF. In Vogogna, the ancient capital of lower Ossola you can feel the atmosphere of an ancient medieval village, it is characterized by the Pretorio Palace (1348), situated in the village square, and once the place of public meetings and seat of Justice administration, and by the grand Viscount Castle with a round tower, in a dominant position as to the rest of the built-up area.

The castle was built for defensive aims by the Bishop of Novara, Giovanni Visconti, and is used today as a cultural and museum centre.

Further witnesses of the ancient period are the well kept Celtic mask, a stone representation, the god of woods, and a Roman epigraph on a rocky spur, one kilometre North Vogogna. Climbing up to the North you find Villadosola: its Romanesque St. Bartolomeo's parish church (IX century) is one of the most meaningful mouments in Ossola. The nerve centre of the plain is Domodossola, the civil and religious capital of the Ossola valleys and the convergent point of intrnational roads which connect the town with Vallese and with Canton Ticino in the Swiss territory. Thanks to the opening of the Napoleonic Sempione road in 1805, and later of the Sempione tunnel (1906) the people of Domodossola have risen from one thousand to the present 20.000. In the centre of the town there are the international station railway and the starting station of “Vigezzina”, the railway which leads to Locarno in Switzerland, through the Vigezzo Valley. The market square has been the heart of the town for more than a century high-class buildings (XV-XVII century), decorated with elegant loggias and balconies rise on its fifteenth century arcades.

From the market square there leads off Briona street, the ancient merchants' street, today the classical walk for tourists and inhabitants. Still from the market square, going along Paletta street you run across the Renaissance Silva Palace, a national monument. In the Autumn of 1944 the Town Palace was the seat of the provisional Ossola Republic government. In the surroundings of the town, on Mattarella hill there stands the Baroque complex of Sacro Monte Calvario, built since 1656 by the Capuchins with the collaboration of all Ossola community. In the surroundings of Domossola, climbing up to the northwards, it is placed Trontano village, known for the extraction of beola, which covers the roofs and of serizzo, and as well as for the production of Prunet, the typical local wine suitable with various kinds of cold meats, salami and cheese. A pride of the village are the religious buildings; Santa Maria's parish church, one of the most ancient and valuable Romanesque building in Ossola, stands out among all the others. Even in Masera there is still alive the traditional production of wine in ancient presses, celebrated every year with the feast of grapes. The visitors are received by St. Abbondio's church (XI century), in pure Romanesque style.

Montecretese, another of the adjacent villages of Domodossola, is known for its eighteenth century church tower, the highest in Ossola (67 metres). Montecretese offers the lovers of history and art 13 oratories placed within the hamlets. In Roldo a little pagan temple belonging to the V-VI centuries B.C has recently been discovered.


Texts and images are published with courtesy of

Lake Tourist District Scrl - corso Italia 18


Stresa (VB)


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