The Piedmont region
Benvenuti – and much pleasure in exploring this beautiful region!
The charming region of Piedmont, home to the foothills of the Alps, lies south of Valais. The northern part of the region is shaped by babbling brooks, pristine nature, impressive valleys, but also the lively goings-on in the provincial capital, Domodossola. A little further south lies Lago Maggiore with the cities of Verbania and Stresa, where the Italian dolce vita is lived. Another insider’s tip is the picturesque Lago d’Orta. And let us not forget the journey through the Centovalli, home to over 100 valleys. A train journey that lingers in the memory.
Culture in Domodossola
Explore this impressive provincial capital
You can learn a lot about the city’s exciting history by walking through the historic centre of Domodossola. There are still remnants of the medieval defensive walls built to withstand the Swiss. The alleys are home to splendid patrician houses. The Piazza del Mercato impresses with its medieval and Renaissance buildings, surrounded by beautiful arcades.
Tip: Visit the city’s famous market on Saturday mornings, and combine this with a trip to the Palazzo Silva or San Francesco museums in the afternoon. The Piazza del Mercato and surrounding streets are filled with over 170 market stalls. Here you will find wonderfully fresh and high-quality local specialities.
Exploring the Centovalli
Travelling from Domodossola to Locarno with the Centovalli railwayThe Centovalli railway is part of the shortest connection between Valais and Ticino, and takes just under two hours to reach Locarno from Domodossola. Along the almost 60-kilometre-long narrow-gauge line, you can marvel at the region’s fascinating natural and cultural heritage, including 83 bridges and viaducts. The line traverses the Locarnese National Park, which is currently under construction.
Tip: Combine your trip through the Centovalli with a visit to Domodossola’s Saturday market.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Sacro Monte Calvario
Pilgrim path leading to Mattarella HillThis easy walk (40 minutes) leads from Domodossola train station along the pilgrim path through a nature conservation area and up the Mattarella Hill. The conservation area offers pristine nature, unique flora and fauna, as well as various ruins of castles and early Christian sites. 15 chapels line the pilgrim path, which has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Within the chapels, you can admire the life-sized depictions of Christ and his followers, as well as paintings by numerous renowned artists. The viewing platform in the park of the holy hill provides views out onto the entire Alpine chain surrounding Domodossola.
Tip: Combine your visit to the Sacro Monte Calvario with a free visit to Domodossola’s museums.
Italianità in Stresa (Isola Bella)
Isola Bella – the region’s main attractionStresa is a famous Italian spa town located in beautiful countryside, with numerous architectural gems and a mild climate. Luxurious villas and opulent hotels in the art nouveau style line the shores of the lake, which tempt visitors to enjoy a relaxing stroll.
Offshore from Stresa lies the Isola Bella, an island famous for its Italian gardens. These consist of 10 descending terraces designed to look like a truncated pyramid. Various statues, obelisks and fountains adorn the gardens, in which flourish a variety of flowers and plants from around the world. On the lawns surrounding the gardens you can admire the white peacocks that stroll around freely.
Behind the impressive Baroque palace and gardens lies part of the village with restaurants and typical shops.