Lower Ossola

The Ossola Valley has always been the land that connects the heart of Europe with the romantic region of the Italian lakes: whether you have just crossed the risky mountain passes or said goodbye to the shores of Lake Maggiore, full of flowers, gardens and splendid Liberty style houses, the view will amaze you, changing suddenly and literally opening up before your eyes: welcome to the Lower Ossola!

The Lower Ossola is the route of the River Toce, which originates in the Formazza Valley, from the famous Toce Waterfall and, collecting the various tributaries of the other Ossola valleys, just a few kilometres further south, plunges into the waters of Lake Maggiore.
From the lake area, the first place encountered in the Ossola area is one of its gateways, Mergozzo, a splendid little town awarded the Touring Club Italiano Orange Flag, overlooking the picturesque lake named after it.
A visit to the town is not to be missed, including the Archaeological Museum and a walk along the lakeside, but it is easy to go as far as Montorfano too and it will be worth the trouble: at Montorfano, the name of which derives from its isolated shape as compared to other promontories, there is a true gem, the Romanesque church of San Giovanni Battista, inside which is an early Christian baptistery dating from the 5th century AD.

This part of Lower Ossola also has a number quarries: here the marble used to build (and now maintain) the Duomo di Milano and other famous national monuments is still quarried today.
And that is not all: between Mergozzo and Domodossola there are numerous historic relics, like the remains of the ancient Roman road and of the lookout towers protecting the territory. It is a system of defence and communication that has been passed down as the memory of the past when the Ossola Valley was a land of connection and conquest.
Travelling north, after Mergozzo, you reach Ornavasso (one of the cradles of the Walser civilisation, famed for the Santuario del Boden), Anzola, Premosello Chiovenda (with its WWF Bosco Tenso Nature Reserve) and then Pieve Vergonte, Piedimulera (where the Torre Ferrerio is splendid), gateway to the Anzasca Valley, Beura, but above all the gem of Lower Ossola, the village of Vogogna, it too awarded the Touring Club Italiano Orange Flag.

Vogogna, recognised as one of the Borghi più belli d’Italia (Most beautiful little towns in Italy), for centuries was the chief town of Bassa Ossola and even today the structure of its old centre seems to speak of its centuries old events. Strolling through the porticoed narrow streets and tiny squares of Vogogna will be like allowing yourself to be transported in an exciting journey back in time: not to be missed is the old Palazzo Pretorio, inside which there is a Celtic mask representing a divinity, and the Visconteo Castle, the real symbol of Vogogna and the most popular tourist attraction in the whole Val d’Ossola.

History, nature and genuine food combine in a range of proposals that make this territory a perfect introduction to welcome you to the splendid mountains of Ossola.

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