Municipality in the province of Novara, located a few kilometers away from Orta San Giulio, on a hill overlooking the shores of Lake Orta, in the middle of the countryside. It is enhanced by the presence of two nature reserves: the Hill of Terra di Buccione and the Natural Reserve of Mount Mesma. Furthermore, the particular location between hills and lake, offers a very mild climate and since the XVIII century, it has been an ideal destination, for tourists, who have chosen to spend their holidays in total relax. The town features numerous chalets built besides the lake shore, dating from the XVIII-XIX century, and offers the opportunity for walks in direct contact with nature and with the local fauna.
The town has ancient origins: the discovery of important recent findings evidence the presence of a settlement in the area since the Middle Bronze Age. Also the presence of Gauls and Romans is sufficiently demonstrated. The first documented reports date back to the V century and refer to the castle on the island of San Giulio, which the bishop of Novara had built to protect the area from marauding barbarians. In the VI century the Lombards took over the domain from the bishops and ruled in the area until the Franks, honored with the title of Count, returned the territories, in the X century, to the Church. Subsequently the town was at the centre, for a long period, of struggles and clashes for the domination of the territory that ended in the XIII century with the consolidation of power of Bishops on the Riviera, divided into two areas which include several municipalities, such as Ameno. The local administration acquired its independence and its own statute and maintained some autonomy until the XIX century.
Not to miss:
- the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, built in the XIV century where once stood a pre-existing church, of which some documents report traces since the XIII century. It features a single nave plan with two side aisles and is flanked by a Bell tower of the early XVI century, in late Romanesque style, built in granite and characterized by a series of single-light and mullioned windows;
- the XVII century Franciscan monastery of Monte Mesma, built on the ruins of a Roman fort and a castle of the XIII century. It is located in a privileged position and offers a superb panorama of the plains of Lombardy. Inside are preserved Baroque decorations and valuable paintings and it presents two cloisters. From the monastery depart two paths, marked by a series of chapels that represent the Stations of the Cross;
- the XVII century Oratory of the Crucifix, part of a complex that features also three chapels. It features a single nave plan and preserves inside a precious wooden altar and a valuable painting of the artist Morazzone;
- the Shrine of Our Lady of Bocciola, situated in a panoramic position and built on the ruins of a pre-existing church of the XVI century. Started in the late XVIII century, it was completed only in the next century. It presents neo-Classical structure and inside it features a monumental altar of white marble and frescoes of Comerio, dating from the XIX century;
- the Oratory of St. Anne in Vacciaghetto, which presents Baroque elements and features inside a porch with a circular shape and a decorated balustrade;
- the "Antonio Calderara" Collection of Modern Art in the district of Vacciago. The exhibition features more than 50 works of the painter, that lived here in the XX century, and about 270 works of his personal collection by Italian and foreign artists;
- the Town Hall;
- Villa Monte Gold of the Accounts Tornielli with its botanical garden of over 240,000 square meters.