Domodossola and its surroundings

Domodossola, now as in the past, is the heart of a border country, a crossroads for trade and cultural exchanges, the most authentic centre of the Ossola area, a place full of interesting attractions, at the centre of the seven Ossola valleys.

Not to be missed is a visit to its splendid old Medieval-style town centre, to be enjoyed at a slow pace focussing on the historical buildings and on the cosy little porticoed squares. Visitors will be fascinated by the Borgo della Cultura, the result of invaluable restoration work: still partially surrounded by a town wall, this part of the town is a veritable architectural and artistic gem. Also not to be missed is the historical, centuries-old Saturday market even though, in reality, the whole town is an authentic open-air shopping centre.
Domodossola thus offers the perfect blend of culture, shopping and quality food and wine, to be tasted in the many restaurants in the town. Yet Domodossola is also the ideal starting point for discovering its picturesque hamlets and the small towns overlooking the Ossola Valley plain.

The first stop when exploring the area surrounding Domodossola cannot but be the Sacro Monte Calvario, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And from there onwards it will be a constant journey of discovery, starting precisely from Domodossola’s hamlets and towns.

Vagna, with the splendid Church dedicated to San Brizio (St. Brice) and its Festa dul bambin (Children’s Day), a special “Summer Christmas” full of atmosphere; Lusentino, Domodossola’s highest altitude resort, with ski slopes during the winter and hiking trails in the summer; the little hamlets of Mocogna and Cisore (with its church perched on the mountainside), on the boundary with Crevoladossola; then Monteossolano, with its perfectly preserved ancient wine press; Calice (not to be missed are the Church of San Quirico and, just a little higher up, the Torre di Mattarella); Quartero and Crosiggia, both towns that evoke the past with their wash-houses, little churches, mule tracks still excellently preserved and their stone houses, steadfast survivors of a highly-prized traditional architecture.
Lastly, Anzuno, reachable along a pleasant path through chestnut woods, part of the enchanting “Via dei torchi e dei mulini” (Road of presses and mills), and Vallesone, a town full of history and traces of a rural economy that will take you back in time.

If this itinerary through the little towns and hamlets in itself already seems very varied, you will only need to travel on just a few kilometres from the main town in Ossola Valley to discover other fascinating stories.
That of Crevoladossola, with its Romanesque Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, exceptionally full of artistic treasures; the town of Canova, brought back to its former glory by painstaking restoration work; the Roman Pontemaglio Bridge. Or that of Masera, located at the entry to Vigezzo Valley, with its Church of Sant’Abbondio, the Park of Villa Caselli and its highest and sunniest hamlets.
Montecrestese, in addition to its ancient bell tower, the tallest one in Ossola Valley, contains some exceptional traces of the past, like the Tempietto Lepontino in Roldo and the megalithic remains of Castelluccio and Croppola. Then there are countless hamlets with little groups of houses built in stone.
Trontano offers visitors a rural trail amongst the watermills along the Rio Graglia, a journey back through time – and mystery – with the Torre di Creggio and a chance to discover local cuisine, thanks to one of the best-loved food festivals in the Ossola Valley, dedicated to mushrooms.
Villadossola, lastly, on the border with the Lower Ossola, combines history, religious faith and modernity, thanks to the presence of the Church of San Bartolomeo and of the modern La Fabbrica Arts Centre and Theatre.

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