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Monastery of Saint Catherine and Castle of Angers

Monastery of St. Catherine and the castle of Angers - unexplored treasures of Lake Maggiore
Eremo di Santa Caterina, Rocca di Angera, Varese, Lombardia

The eastern side of Lake Maggiore, which already belongs to the Lombardy region, is also full of natural and cultural sights. Some of them are real gems of the cultural heritage of northern Italy, but they are often not listed in tourist itineraries. Vivid examples of this are the monastery of St. Catherine and the slightly more famous fortress of Rocca di Angera.

 

The monastery of St. Catherine del Sasso is built on a steep cliff right above the lake itself. Its bell tower seems to soar above the blue expanse of water. The monastery was founded in the 12th century by a local rich merchant, who, having crashed the ship   and found salvation here, between the rocks, established the first chapel dedicated to St. Catherine of Egypt. Despite its small size and inaccessibility for its seven centuries of existence, the monastery had an eventful history, passing from one religious order to another. We will get to the monastery on a tourist boat  and you will be able to take amazing photos of the renaissance porticos and colonnades. I will tell you about the legends associated with this place, about the unique church formed from three chapels, about the frescoes of the 14th century. We will walk through the garden, enjoy the beautiful views, meditate on the benches in a peaceful and picturesque environment.

 

After a picnic or lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our journey and take a boat to Rocca di Angera. This is another gem in the possessions of the aristocratic Borromeo family. The beginning of the construction of a fortress on a high cliff, which had important military-strategic and economic importance since the time of the Roman Empire and the Longobards, dates back to the 12th century.  It consists of five parts built in different periods. We will climb the oldest and highest tower, which offers a breathtaking view of the mountains and Lake Maggiore lying below. Let's take a look at the famous frescoes of the 13th century, take a walk through the medieval garden and the apothecary's garden. We will also visit a unique exhibition of dolls of the 18th-20th centuries. The collection of more than a thousand rare dolls and toys from all over the world is one of the largest and most important in Europe.

 

At the end of our walk, we will go down to the town of Angera, enjoy delicious Italian ice cream, walk along the embankment   and admire the medieval fortress of Rocca di Angera from the bottom up.

EXCURSION COST:
140 euro
 per group from1 to 3 people
 
180 euro
for a group of 4 to 8 people
DURATION:
4 hours from the meeting in Arona/Stresa
(+1 hour train ride
from Milan)
BEST SEASON TO VISIT:
 
April - October
MEANS OF TRANSPORT:
 
on foot,
on a boat
 
Difficulty of the ROUTE:
 
about 6 km,
elevation change while walking
- 100 m.
POSSIBLE WITH CHILDREN?
 
Difficult accessibility for children in wheelchairs
 
MEETING POINT:
railway station in Stresa/Arona
or by arrangement
 
ADDITIONAL EXPENSES:
a ticket for a boat, a castle and a monastery, including
number for the guide,
optional picnic, 
personal expenses
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