The name derives from the presence of the homonymous sanctuary erected in the first half of the XVIII century.
In the province of Verbania, located on Lake Orta, dominated by the mountains Avigno and Briasco, the municipal territories, distributed between 500 and 800 meters above sea level, not far from the boundaries with the province of Vercelli and Novara, are composed of four districts, one of which, Piana dei Monti, at just 10 kilometers from the main provincial city. Each center, crossed by narrow streets and small squares, dotted with wells and public washing area, features different characteristics and peculiar traditions. Departure point for beautiful and interesting trekking itineraries, such as the literary one between Lake Orta and Mottarone, that combined with quotes and phrases from famous authors, leads between the most beautiful locations of the lake, form where it is possible to admire the island of San Giulio and the surrounding woods .
The existence of several settlements in the area was already documented in the year 1000 thousand, when they were part of the territories under the rule of the Bishop of Novara.
The municipality was created in 1928 by the union of Boleto and Artò, with their respective districts, but not without protests and grievances by the inhabitants of Artò, that losing their administrative privileges, were more penalized than those of Boleto. During the partisan resistance the entire region was the scene of struggles and clashes that were carried out with pride and determination.
The vital role of the local women, both during last centuries and in the Second World War, opened to the appointment of the first woman consul in 1776, who originally came from Madonna del Sasso.
Not to miss:
- the Sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso, which dates back to the XVIII century and is situated on a granite rock outcrop at about 400 meters above sea level, overlooking the lake, in a particularly evocative atmosphere. From the courtyard in front, with the accomplice of a clear sky, it is possible to admire the entire outline of the Swiss Alps and the Ligurian Apennines. The façade, preceded by a prominent porch and balcony, features a series of pilasters surmounted by a pediment and is flanked by a stone Bell tower. Within the structure features a single nave plan and preserves a cycle of frescoes of the artist Lorenzo Peracino, which date back to 1771, a panel depicted in 1541 by Fermo Stella and a series of precious marbles. In the XIX century, the rock on which the church is built, became a granite mining area. The extracting activity continued for about 100 years, until it was finally stopped, due to the fact that the structure could collapse for the weakening of the rock;
- the XIII century Church of Santa Maria Maddalena in the village of Centonara village, which has submitted several changes over the centuries. The entrance is preceded by a portico of the XVI century and three frescoes embellish the exterior. The building features a single nave plan and is flanked by a Bell tower. Inside it preserves an early XVIII century crucifix, and behind the altar, a XVI century painting of the artist Fermo Stella;
- the Parish Church of San Bernardino in the district of Artò, the original structure dates back to 1480 and was later enlarged. It features a portico built in the early XII century and is flanked by a Bell tower that dates back to 1898. The building presents a single nave plan and in the chancel are preserved beautiful murals depicting scenes of life in the sanctuary of San Bernardino, one of which depicted in 1663 represents the Baptism of Jesus and a baptismal font of 1590;
- the XVI century Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta in the village of Piana dei Monti, which presents a superb XVII century façade and portico. In the tympanum of the portal is visible a fine sculpture of the Madonna and Child of the XVI century. The adjacent Bell tower dates from the XVII century and is part of the refurbishments that led to enlargement of the chancel, in which was built, in the next century, the Chapel of the Crucifixion. Here are featured paintings by an unknown author of the XIX century, a vestry and a new chapel. The XVII century wooden altar, located at the centre, is decorated with a wooden altarpiece representing San Carlo, a painting of 1634 dedicated to Our Lady and an XVIII century wooden altarpiece. The stone baptismal font is of ancient origins and worth of note is the pipe organ, renovated in 1796;
- the Church of St. James in the village of Artò;
- the Museum of the local stonemasons