Lago Maggiore

In Italia by adminLeave a Comment

Our front yard

Years ago I visited in Locarno on top of Lago Maggiore but nothing more. Now it was time to discover something more. Five days in Leggiuno. Really cozy home for us. This house used to be a castle, and that can be seen inside the building. Vaulted ceiling made of red bricks. Fenced backyard yard, safe place for car parking. Narrow street in front of the house but very light traffic. Tiny little front yard with a small coffee table and a couple of chairs next to the door. Good to stay, so to say.
One thing needs to be mentioned. It´s the importance of sorting waste. Also here the owner told carefully how it must be done. Though it´s not something new to us. We noticed this in each place during our staying in Italy.

Upper photo in front of our home, and this is the backyard, or inner yard actually
Structures of old castle are visible
Sorting the waste is very important in Italy

Lago Maggiore
is not the largest lake in Italy even the name looks like. But with the depth of 372m, it is the second deepest after Como lake (410m). And it is the longest lake in Italy, 64 km. Around twenty percent of Lago Maggiore is in Switzerland but the biggest part in Italy. There are three very interesting islands to visit. Isola Bella, Isole Borromee and Isola Madre. This time we didn’t visit any of the islands but more in villages around.

In Leggiuno there is not so much to see. First evening little bit walking around and visiting local pizzeria Al Bistrot. That was a positive surprise, local pizza was extremely tasty though we were the only clients there when going in. A silent evening to watch around local buildings and small alleys. Some beautiful decorations and old stone paths. We were more or less only ones to walk around. No people nor cars. But some bamboos were growing there. One interesting thing was a small fresh water automat in center of Leggiuno. Insert some few coins and you can fill in your own bottle with fresh water.

Small local church and our home street

Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso
There is one remarkable place close by. A Roman Catholic monastery at the bank of Lake Maggiore. The monastery is somehow magical and serene place. The Hermitage was founded in the 12th century by the merchant Alberto Besozzi of Arolo. There are three parts of the buildings, the southern convent, the small convent, and the church. The hermitage was founded by the wealthy merchant, Alberto Besozzi in 1170. Whilst he was out in his boat one evening he was caught up in a storm and his boat capsized. “He prayed to St Catherine to be saved and that if his prayers were answered he would give all his money to the poor and retire to live as a hermit. His prayers were answered and so he went to live in a cave as a hermit”
In 1195 the plague struck the local population and he was asked for help. In return he asked the local people to build a votive chapel to St Catherine.
In 1205 Alberto Besozzi died and he was buried near the St Catherine Chapel.
In 1270 some noblemen from Ispra built the new St Mary Chapel after their town was miraculously freed from the wolves which were killing their livestock.
People began to come to the complex to live as hermits and it is first documented as a hermitage in 1301 and as they chose a spiritual path in life, the hermitage gained canonical status in 1334.
In 1914 the Italian government made the hermitage into a national monument and then in 1970 it passed into the hands of the Varese Province authorities. Due to the problems of potential landslides and collapse major restoration works were undertaken before opening the complex to the public in 1986.

Santa Caterina del Sasso
Walking route down to Santa Caterina del Sasso

There are two alternative ways to go down to the monastery. Whether walking or using the elevator. We chose walking. It takes some time to walk down, and especially to walk up when it rains 🙂 – at least feels so.

Next we will look around some cities close here as well as some outdoor activities…

Leave a Comment