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If you love authentic beauty, made of simple things, nature and invention, this area will surprise you!
Also known as the "sweet land between the two rivers," the province of Novara stretches between the Sesia and Ticino rivers.
Visiting it, you can choose to travel through the plain with its rice fields, rows of poplars, irrigation ditches and canals; or the hills with their vineyards; or the hills overlooking Lakes Maggiore and Orta. Everywhere you will discover architectural gems: castles, fortresses, noble palaces, parish churches, abbeys and country oratories. There are also numerous protected areas and natural parks.
Here you will find useful hints for discovering the beauties of this area, as well as my suggestions for booking your guided tour: together we can visit the city of Novara, the rice fields of the lower Novara area, the hills of the middle Novara area - where excellent DOC and DOCG wines are produced - Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta.
The itineraries I suggest you:
The dome of the Basilica of San Gaudenzio is a symbol of Novara. A visit to the historical city centre must include this sensational monument, work of the genius of Alessandro Antonelli, one of
the most illustrious architects and engineers of the 19th century.
The dome, 121 metres high, can also be visited inside. Accompanying it is the spectacular bell tower, about a century older than it, designed by Benedetto Alfieri, royal architect at the Savoy court. It is rumoured that an affair is going on between the two monuments, despite the obvious age difference!
Surrounded by rice and maize fields, the Benedictine Abbey of Saints Nazario and Celso lies on the western edge of the province of Novara. So close to the province of Vercelli that even some
residents of the small municipality that hosts it are confused...
The former monastery complex is one of the most interesting in Piedmont, both for its skilful architecture and for the quality of the frescoes decorating the cloister porticos. The imposing Romanesque bell tower, wisely preserved from demolition during the 13th century, also leaves one astounded.
In Arona, on Lake Maggiore, don't miss a visit to the colossal Statue of Saint Charles. The monument, part of a Sacro Monte that was
never completed, measures about 35 metres and hear hear hear... it can be visited inside, just like the Statue of Liberty in New York! A visit inside allows you to reach an immense height from
which to observe the surrounding panorama, but also to discover the complex structure of this 17th-century masterpiece. In Arona it is also worth visiting the scenic Rocca Borromeo Park and the
town centre, rich in numerous historical buildings and monuments.
Orta San Giulio, among the most romantic and beautiful villages in Italy. The photo above shows only a small portion of the square overlooking the lake: small shops, restaurants, wide spaces and then narrow, winding streets that descend to the lake and ascend to the mountain. Just above the historic centre is the monumental complex of Sacro Monte dedicated to St Francis of Assisi: the 20 chapels, entirely decorated with frescoes and statues, retrace his life and work. But let us return to our village to discover that just 400 metres from the shore is the Island of San Giulio, one of the most picturesque of the lake islands, on whose short surface are the austere Benedictine abbey and the Romanesque basilica of San Giulio. Shall we go?
The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso di Boleto is especially known for its spectacular panoramic location. The building sits on a cliff, the sasso in fact, at a height of about 650 metres,
overlooking the Lake Orta.
The Sanctuary can be reached by car or by choo choo traind, but also on foot... starting from the Pella lakeside, passing through some small hill villages before reaching the site.
Inside, the building features remarkable 18th-century frescoes by the Valsesian painter Lorenzo Peracino di Cellio, as well as the beautiful miraculous statuette of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Known as one of Europe's most beautiful gardens, the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens in Verbania on Lake Maggiore are owed to Scottish Captain Neil Boyd Watson McEacharn, a lover of Italy and an
expert in gardening and botany.
The garden, which has been open to the public since 1952, is located on the north-west side of the Castagnola promontory, occupying an area of 16 hectares. The path starts from the Viale delle Conifere (Conifer Avenue), then reaches the Fontana dei Putti (Fountain of Puttos), continuing on to admire the Labyrinth of Dahlias, then the Serra Victoria and the Vertical Garden. Finally, one of the most striking places is the Mausoleum. Among the novelties at Villa Taranto is the relaxation area called Petalo Pavillon.