Excursions to Novara, to the Abbey San Nazzaro Sesia surrounded by rice-fields,
to Ossola Valley with Santa Maria Maggiore and Re, wine and typical products
Guided tours to Novara, San Nazzaro Sesia and Ossola Valley: what to see
A cruise by private boat is the only possibility to see the hidden villas and
secret gardens on Lake Maggiore. Starting the tour in the town of Novara, with
its pleasant heart and the dome planned by the famous Italian architect
Alessandro Antonelli, we reach the charming abbey San Nazzaro Sesia, surrounded
by rice-fields, one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the Valley of the
river Po. You should not miss a visit to the Oratory Santissima Trinità of Momo
and to the castle of Ghemme, at the mouth of the valley of the river Sesia. An
excursion to Macugnaga offers you a wonderful view of Mount Rosa. In the
picturesque Vigezzo Valley you can visit Santa Maria Maggiore and its heart made
of local stone, whose church was frescoed by local painters and the Basilica of
Re. Vigezzo Valley is situated in Ossola Valley and it connects Domodossola with
Switzerland. You can enjoy the opportunity to taste the typical products: the
Paniscia, the salami della Duja, the red wines of wine town Ghemme.
Of ancient origin, it lies in a strategically favorable location. Novara has a
compact town center and you can easily visit it on foot. There are so many
historical and artistic sights in this town of the Valley of the Po, that every
step you take, you can see buildings built in different styles.
Agricultural and trade center, it has an elegant and refined look, it is a town
of art and culture, situated not too far from Milan and from the lakes Maggiore
Walking in the streets of the town you can visit the two main churches, enter
the courtyard of the ancient town-hall and the cloister of the parsonage, admire
the façades of mansions and houses, decorated with terracotta tiles or stucco or
remain charmed by the elegance and grandeur of the highest brick building in the
world, the famous dome planned by the not less famous Italian architect
Alessandro Antonelli, who was born in the Province of Novara. It is a
masterpiece of the Italian engineering.
rare example of fortified abbey is very charming, surrounded by rice-fields and
situated by a fort on River Sesia, building the border between the Province of
Novara and the Province of Vercelli.
Rebuilt on several occasions given the strategic importance of the place, it
preserves buildings of the 11th and of the 15th C., among which remnants of a
building that has not been identified with certainty yet and a wonderful façade
decorated with terracotta tiles, a real masterpiece.
Inside the church are frescoes of the 15th C., while in the cloister remain
parts of a fresco dedicated to St. Benedict of Norcia’s life, who was considered
the father of the western monasticism. It is one of the most complete cycles
about his life, also if it was damaged when the abbey was converted into a
visit of Novara and of the abbey S. Nazzaro Sesia in Spring offers you the
opportunity to admire one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the Valley of
the river Po, when the rice-fields are flooded and build a "Checkered sea", a
paradise for birds like little egrets, herons and ibises.
On a clear day you can see the chain of the Alps with Mount Rosa standing out
among the other mountains and all is mirrored in the calm water of the "camere
di risaia" (rice-fields).
A guided tour allows you to learn about the history of rice, to know the route
it took to reach Italy, as well as curiosities about this plant, which is vital
for one third of the world population. It would be interesting to visit a
rice-mill, both to see the working stages and to buy the different varieties of
Why not taking advantage of being among the rice-fields to taste a "risotto",
the famous paniscia, the typical dish of Novara, or to taste the black rice, the
rice meant for the emperor?
is situated along an ancient pilgrim road and it was commissioned by the
Benedictine monks of Cluny in the 12th century. The inside was completely
decorated by an important cycle of frescoes painted around 1520 by local
painters. It is a sensational iconographic Bible narrating the events of Jesus’
life culminating with a dramatic Last Judgment. There are about eighty panels
where the gestures and the poses of the represented personages had to help the
inhabitants, most of which illiterate, to better understand the sacred history.
Not to be missed!
winding road takes you to the foot of the second highest mountain in the Alps,
Mount Rosa, one of the most spectacular and beautiful mountains in the world.
Macugnaga is today a renowned summer and winter holiday resort. In the past it
was colonized by a Walser folk, of German origin, coming from beyond the Alps.
In spite of the difficulties they met to live above 1000 m. above sea level, the
Walser managed it and the best way to understand this culture is to visit the
Walser House Museum, a museum accommodated in a real Walser house with exhibits
that show you the peculiarities of their life.
A walk in the village allows us to see the old church with the nearby secular
lime-tree. At the foot of this tree the seniors met to take decisions.
Lake Maggiore, you can climb either by bus or by train to Vigezzo Valley, that
suddenly gives way to an idyllic upland surrounded by fir-trees and larches.
The main resort of the valley is Santa Maria Maggiore, where you can visit the
church painted with frescoes by local painters and the chimney-sweepers’ Museum,
to learn about the history of hundreds of children and boys who had to leave
their valley every autumn to go to the towns and work as chimney-sweeper. Other
inhabitants worked as painter decorating churches and chapels with frescoes in
Vigezzo and in the surrounding valleys. Another Museum you can visit is the Fine
Just before the border with Switzerland is the imposing basilica of Re in
neo-Byzantine style, made of local grey stone. Inside multi-colored glass
windows make charming light effects. There is also a collection of several
The valley is pleasant and cool, picturesque, that’s why it was nicknamed
"Valley of the painters".
this excursion you travel through different landscapes, from Lake Maggiore
through Ossola and Vigezzo Valley. Leaving Italy you reach Switzerland. You come
to Locarno, situated at the head of Lake Maggiore. From Locarno you go back to
Italy and to Stresa by liner.
You can visit Santa Maria Maggiore, the chief-town of Vigezzo Valley, with the
church, the chimney-sweeper Museum and the Fine Arts School. You can also visit
Re, with the Basilica Madonna del SAngue.
Before leaving you can visit Domodossola, the chief-town of Ossola Valley, with
the market square surrounded by arcades, the little lanes leading to the ancient
districts with old houses, the ancient walls and the parish church.
this excursions you travel in the hilly region, situated between the Valley of
the River Po and the lakes.
Ghemme is situated at the mouth of Sesia Valley, the valley leading to the foot
of Mount Rosa, in the wine district of the Province of Novara. It is a nice
example of a castle built by the inhabitants of the town to defend themselves
from the raids of the enemies.
Some ancient houses house today renowned wine shops where you can taste the
local wines, for which it is used the species of wine "Nebbiolo", also used for
the famous Piedmontese wines. This species of wine is difficult to grow but here
it found its ideal conditions.
guided tour and an excursion can be the opportunity to taste the local products.
Even if they are not very famous (but everybody knows Gorgonzola cheese!), they
are very tasty.
The landscape around Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta is very different, as the area
stretches from the Valley of the River Po to Mount Rosa: therefore there are
different typical products, all of them of quality.
The visit to Novara and the excursion to the Benedictine abbey San Nazzaro Sesia
or to the Oratory of Momo, are the opportunity to taste the Paniscia, a rich
"risotto" made of Carnaroli rice, the "king of rice", vegetables, salami and red
wine. Delicious are the salami de la Duja, preserved in fat. Famous is
Gorgonzola cheese. Sweet are the biscottini of Novara.
Travelling northwards you find the hills, situated between the plane and the
lakes: it is the territory of the vineyards where they grow the species of wine
Nebbiolo, the most important species of wine in Italy, difficult to grow, whose
wine is difficult to control in the cave. It is used to produce the famous
Piedmontese DOCG and DOC wines that are fit for a long aging. They are perfect
coupled with the several salami and cheese produced in this area. In Ghemme, the
wine town, you can walk in the lanes of the ancient castle.
Further north you find Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore. In Orta you can visit Orta
San Giulio, the Sacro Monte and reach by boat the Island San Giulio for a guided
tour to the basilica. From Stresa you leave by boat for the excursion to the
Islands Borromeo, Island Bella, Fishermen Island and Island Madre.
Only in the commune of Stresa, you do not find them elsewhere in Italy, pastry
cooks are allowed to bake the Margheritine, crumbly tea-cakes dedicated to the
first queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy.
Typical of Orta is the liver mortadella. The fresh water fish have a delicate
taste and some of them are really tasty, like the fish soused in vinegar, the
lake whitefish, the specialty of Fishermen Island together with the perch and
the delicious bleaks, which are served fried. Honey is produced on the slopes of
Mottarone, the mountain that separate Lake Maggiore from Lake Orta, where there
are also the mushrooms.
At the head of Lake Maggiore and of Lake Orta begin the valleys of Ossola, where
the cooking changes completely: that is the region of gnocchi after the Ossola
valley fashion, made of chestnut flour, of the polenta, the torrent trout, the
violini, tasty hams made of goat or chamois meat, of cheese, among which toma
and Bettelmatt, of the brown bread and the Prunent, the typical species of wine
of Ossola Valley.
Why a guided tour?
For the success of your holiday, trust to the competence, the experience and the
professionalism of a guide qualified for the practice of the profession, who has
been working with passion and sense of humor for many years.
guided tour will be organized with care, in order to grant your requests and to
come up to your expectations. Thanks to the deep knowledge of the territory and
of the right times to visit it, there will always be a special care in
comparison with the usual package tour: a boat tour around an island before
visiting it, a hidden and charming street in a village, a curiosity about an
exotic plant, the choose of a route rather than another one, in order to get the
most from each excursion. As they are not package tours, every excursion will be
different and it will be tailor-made for you. You just can relax and enjoy your