Discovering nature: unusual trekking with a taste of adventure
Easily reachable from Milan and Turin, the province of Novara has always been the favorite terrain of attentive and curious tourists. A vast territory that includes mountainous areas close to splendid glacial lakes to the north – the Orta and Maggiore lakes – alternating with rolling hills adorned with rows of vines in the south; where churches, oratories and farmhouses seem suddenly to appear, rather like mirages, in unexpected corners, under the watchful eye of Monte Rosa.
Water is the great constant of the area: the water of rivers, lakes, canals and flooded rice fields, offering a myriad of unusual views. Whether you are looking for a romantic sunset on the lake, sunrise over the imposing Monte Rosa, out for a simple family excursion or something more adventurous, the area, thanks to its dense network of trails, will ensure that you enjoy every moment.
Discover the fairytale lakes
“Orta seems painted on a silk backdrop”, said Piero Chiara, while Lord Byron, fascinated by Lake Maggiore, used to say that “Mountains, waves and skies are not perhaps part of me, like I of them?”
The lakes of northern Italy are fascinating not only for the strong contrasts between the water and the mountains, but also for the varying shades of light and colour, during the course of the day. The best way to capture the infinite tonalities of these delightful places is on foot and there are various paths that connect the whole region, passing through many unusual corners. The following are just a selection.
From Pettenasco a trail leads to the marvelous Pescone waterfall and to Monte Barro, with a spectacular view of Orta. The loop around the Orta peninsula is enchanting: a sequence of reeds emerging from the water, jutting piers and gently swaying boats. A climb up to the Sacro Monte of Orta, also reachable by a path from Bolzano Novarese, will lead to the discovery of a magnificent jewel of art and faith.
A Room with a view
From Omegna it is possible to reach the Alpe Mastrolino for magnificent views, or go as far as Mottarone, a terrace over-looking seven lakes: at a height of 1492 mt, the 360 ° view over the plain and the lakes is breathtaking, as it comprises a impressive number of lakes: Maggiore, Orta, Mergozzo, Varese, Comabbio, Monate and Biandronno. A record.
On the eastern shore of Lake Orta, from the ancient village of Ameno, there are paths that make up the Quadrifoglio di Ameno: studied by a well-known Italian walker the four loops epitomize calm, harmony, inner awakening and equilibrium. Magnificent dream-like corners are revealed in all their beauty, with splendid nature reserves, ancient monuments and historic abbeys to frame a delightful experience.
Between the two lakes, Coiromonte is the starting point for Monte dei Falò (1080m) a magnificent panoramic point known as the “the three small mountains” due to its three points.
Also from Nebbiuno or from nearby Fosseno it is possible to reach Sass dal Pizz (763m) and Monte Cornaggia(921m): in addition to the scenic views, along the path you will come across numerous stones with cruciform engravings and prehistoric cup-marks, most likely religious symbols.
BETWEEN TWO LAKES
Coiromonte is the starting point for the Monte dei Falò (1080m) a fabulous panoramic point known as “the three small mountains” because of its three points.
A province to discover on foot
For an all-round experience, a path has been created that winds along the entire provincial territory, crossing hills and mountains, moraine ridges and plains, as well as the regional parks of the Ticino, Monte Fenera, Lagoni di Mercurago and the Baragge.
The Novara Path, some 200 kms long, is divided into 19 stages of minimal difficulty and offers a wide range of possibilities: from those who love the reflection of Monte Rosa in the rice fields to those who want to stop and enjoy the food and wine, those who, instead, want to stack up kilometers over more tortuous terrain, those who love art and history and are fascinated by medieval churches, those who love birdwatching or those who want to enter prehistoric caves. A truly fascinating journey.
THE NOVARA TRAIL
The Novara Path, some 200 kms long, is divided into 19 stages of minimal difficulty, a fascinating route for everyone.
In the footsteps of the pioneers
Lovers of literature will appreciate the itineraries in the plain from the stories by Sebastiano Vassalli, a great interpreter of the Italian twentieth century, who set some of his stories – The Chimera, Marco and Mattio, Land of Waters, dedicated to Novara – in the Novara plain.
Ligurian by birth, but Piedmontese by adoption, his stories take us back in time. It is possible to explore Novara, but also put oneself in the shoes of ancient explorers And so we find ourselves on the trail of the gold diggers on the banks of the Ticino.
Like all rivers of Alpine origin, it is possible to find gold in the riverbed and “The last real gold-seekers”, as Vassalli called them, were bent on looking for treasure. These are images that are now difficult for us to understand, but are full of charm. Use your imagination to follow in their footsteps.
GOLD IN THE TICINO RIVER
Pliny the Elder already talked about the Romans using more than 5,000 slaves to extract gold from the rivers of Lower Gaul, today’s Piedmont and western Lombardy.
Monte Fenera, a revelation
Another trek takes you to the Monte Fenera Park. Start out from Ghemme, touching Romagnano, Cavallirio, Boca, with the imposing Antonellian sanctuary – then proceed onto nearby Maggiora, home of motocross and where Casa Antonelli stands.
From there continue to Grignasco and then return to Ghemme and via secondary roads to Prato Sesia. In the Park, established in 1987, archaeological finds from the prehistoric era have been uncovered. Just over 30 km in a corner of the province that is full of history and charm.
THE MONTE FENERA PARK
A protected natural area of 3378 hectares located on the hills of the lower Valsesia, around Mount Fenera. It extends over the municipalities of Boca, Borgomanero, Cavallirio, Grignasco, Prato Sesia, Valduggia