Three protected areas where local nature characteristics are considered a real world heritage. With deep respect for animals and plants protection and care.
On Lake Maggiore
GROVE OF REEDS IN FONDOTOCE (Verbania)
A 360 hectare wide reserve on the Plain of Toce, the most important river in Ossola region.
Among many and many reeds there are essential environmental conditions for lake fish reproducing and bird nesting and wintering.
Some beautiful beaches on the lake.
Walk and bike itineraries.
Info: Tel. +39 0322 240239.
GROVE OF REEDS IN DORMELLETTO
A 4 Km long lake environment (157 hectares) between Arona and Castelletto Ticino, between water and land, which has perfectly kept its typical lake and nature characteristics for decades.
Info and group reservations: Tel. +39 0322 240239 / +39 320 4373967.
On the hills of Lake Maggiore
LAGONI NATURE PARK IN MERCURAGO (Mercurago-Arona, Dormelletto, Oleggio Castello, Comignago)
A natural park with three big lakes (the “Lagoni”) of glacial origin and various wood types where you can walk, run and ride horse or bike (thematic itineraries correlated by map).
It is an important archaeological area too, with prehistoric and roman findings now preciously kept in Arona and Novara museums.
There the mushroom type „Crepidotus roseoornatus“, the only one in the world, was also found!
Areas for horse farming.
Migratory birds normally have rest there thanks to the special environment constituted by ponds and peat bogs.
Opening time: everyday. Reservation for groups necessary. Didactic services for school groups possible too.
Info: Tel. +39 0322 240239 / +39 320 4373967; www.parchilagomaggiore.it.
The largest Wilderness Area of the Alps (about 15.000 hectares) enclosed between Lake Maggiore and Ossola Valleys became a national park in 1992.
The European Wilderness Association declared Val Grande as the only area in Europe that completely maintains original environmental properties.
In Val Grande let’s find high mountains, alpine lakes and smaller valleys but also challenging paths and shelters used for housing or stabling in the past and now as accomodation to hikers. Nowadays villagers and pastures leave their place to wild nature (several are the plant and tree types there) and animals (i.e. chamoises, roes, deers, foxes and eagles).
Hiking or trekking are possible only with mountain guides. Visits best in spring, summer and beginning of autumn. Panoramic destinations are Faiè and Zeda mounts or, less difficult, the Piancavallone mountain dew. Starting points: Premosello Chiovenda in Ossola Valley or San Bernardino Verbano (Rovegro), Intragna, Buttogno and Cicogna on the hills above Lake Maggiore.
The Park is rich in past testimonies (for example in Verbano valleys: the ancient mountain pasture on Alpe Ompio up from Bieno, village of San Bernardino Verbano and the mule tracks near Aurano) and works of art (for example in Verbano valleys: the Romanesque bell tower in Bieno, the Madonna di Re Oratory from the 17th century in Oca, village of Cossogno, the Roman bridge towards Rovegro and the parish church with seven altars in Intragna).
The Park is rich in culture too with several museums.
Vigezzo Valley (Ossola Region)
In Malesco there is the Archaeological Stone Museum (in Pretorio Palace; open everyday from June to September, 10-12 and 15.30-18.30/Fridays and Saturdays also 20.30-22.30; during the year open on request – Tel. +39 0324/92444 for reservation; entry ticket: € 2,00/Kids till 5 years old: free).
Verbano valleys (Verbano Region)
In Cossogno water, nature element belonging to men’s essential goods, is well described in the "Acquamondo" Water Museum by means of aquariums, models and panels as well as of didactic laboratories (Info: Tel. +39 0324/87540).
In Intragna there is finally the Museum of Night Animals.
“Piazze Natalizie” 6th edition, the traditional and at the same time innovated Christmas Market of the Province Verbano-Cusio-Ossola capital town on Lake Maggiore, comes back on December 4th to 8th from 9.30 to 19!
In Verbania-Intra historical centre 40 gastronomic stands as well as 50 craft ones will brighten up the two days celebration together with music, gospel concerts – like the “White Spirits’” performance on December 4th at 15.30 at Piazza Ranzoni - and shows along the roads and at the main squares.
Funny laboratories and group plays for children will be organised by professional animators in the “Kid Village” too.
Finally, the most important new entry 2010: the "Twin Towns Market" with typical products from France, Spain and Alto Adige.
13th edition of the traditional Christmas Market with 100 stands by typical red pitched roofs in the medieval centre of Domodossola.
The event is being realised by the Pro loco Association of Ossola Valley capital town on December 10th to 12th... waiting for the Christmas Day.
Hand-made and gastronomic products but also entertainment for families, hot chocolate cups and mulled wine glasses are being offered among the porticoes, along the narrow roads and at the ancient squares of the renewed town “Cultural Centre”.
Info: Tel. +39 0324 248265.
A Christmas market with 150 exhibitors and their hand-made as well as gastronomic products in the historical centre - Piazza Risorgimento, Via Roma, Via Cavalli, Via Rossetti Valentini and Via Rosmini – and Santa, the chain saw artists and the „Stress Bar“ (in partnership with the Province VCO) in Piazzetta Gennari.
All this on December 4th and 5th, from 10 to 18, in Santa Maria Maggiore, nice village in Vigezzo Valley, the “Painters’” one.
In December it colours with thousands of lights, wooden stoves along main roads and typical decorations on houses and shops open for the occasion.
Everything surrounded by a wonderful scenery of snowed mountains…
There will also be plenty of roast chestnuts and mulled wine served by locals and volunteers.
Happy music will finally brighten up the two celebration days!