AN «ORPHAN» MOUNTAIN AND AN ANCIENT ELM

Mo, 19 September 2016
AN «ORPHAN» MOUNTAIN AND AN ANCIENT ELM
When the fine weather arrives I love going for walks, easy excursions along which you can take the time to admire the scenery and breathe in the fresh air. It is my pleasure to outline an easy route, or more, for our friends and enthusiasts at La Darbia. Despite a dull start to today's weather, I ..
When the fine weather arrives I love going for walks, easy excursions along which you can take the time to admire the scenery and breathe in the fresh air. It is my pleasure to outline an easy route, or more, for our friends and enthusiasts at La Darbia.
Despite a dull start to today's weather, I nonetheless decided to set out for Montorfano, which rises up in isolation, close to the mouth of the river Toce, between Lake Maggiore and Lake Mergozzo. It isn't a difficult trail to follow as you proceed along the paved road as far as the tiny village built around the charming, old Romanesque church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. This is a small, gracious building and may easily be visited as it is open every morning.
It takes no more than ten minutes to reach the scenic viewpoint, known as “Belvedere”, from where you can see the Borromee islands opposite Stresa as well as Pallanza and surroundings.



The meandering course of the Toce, which rises eighty kilometres higher up, can be seen from above as it «the lord of Val d’Ossola» flows into Lake Maggiore.
On the slopes of Montorfano the remains of the Cadorna Line, a complex of military fortifications built during the First World War may still be visited. This is also the region where you find the white granite quarries and the so-called “picasass”, genuinely talented artists in stone workmanship, who have written the history of these places with their sweat and toil.



I continue onwards and start the descent which is equally easy to do: you take the “sentiero Azzurro” and, after a walk through the woods, you end up in the square in Mergozzo by the lakeside right in front of the famous old elm, a completely hollow plant, which has dominated the centre of the village since the 1600s. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful, the lake is perfectly calm, the odd fisherman is coming back to the shore beacuse it is time for lunch.
So, me too, I decide to stop at one of the cafés with their tables set out in the shade of a portico and I treat myself to an aperitif. There are also pizzerias, icecream parlours and excellent little restaurants. Before carrying on with my walk, I reckon it is worth buying the famous “fugascina”, a sweet focaccia typical of Mergozzo, which used to be prepared for the feast of Saint’Elisabeth.
Meanwhile, a pale sun begins to shine somewhat faintly so I can enjoy the sight of that little lake and savour its tranquillity before going back to my beloved Darbia.

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