b) ITINERARY 2 - PATH OF SAINT CHARLES - From the western shore of Lake Orta to the Valsesia valley (Orta San Giulio – Varallo)
Excursions and trekking
Path Length km
Difference in mt.
Note: To view the attached GPS map, install Google Earth (on both phones and computers) or an application that can manage maps and GPS tracks.
The itinerary retraces a portion of the so-called "Peregrinatio", the historic pilgrimage that connects the two Sacred Mountains of Orta and Varallo along the ancient roads connecting Cusio and Valsesia.
Specifically, this itinerary begins in lakeside village of Pella (from Orta San Giulio there are available boats to reach Pella). The path climbs the slope of Lake Cusio north of Monte Avigno, crosses through Arola and Colma di Civiasco, and then descends down the other along the hillside towards the Valsesia area to Varallo Sesia. Its Sacro Monte is the point of arrival.
This itinerary, together with the section that connects Arona with Varallo along the pathways of the "Journey of San Carlo", was repeatedly traversed by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo to supervise the work on the "New Jerusalem" complex in the main city in the Valsesia area.
The path begins in the village of Pella, where we can admire the Parish Church, a typical example of local art in stone. After crossing the stone bridge over the Pellino Brook, the itinerary continues on the mule track towards Monte San Giulio, to the road between Alzo and Omegna.
From here, we take the paved road towards Omegna first and then the path, alternating with the mule path, that leads to Arola on the "way of the chapels": the path winds along a comfortable mule path in the shade of beech and chestnut trees and connects several small votive chapels with lovely frescoes.
The road goes towards Colma, and we cross bridges, footbridges, and small streams to approach the valley's main river without ever crossing it. From here, the path climbs quickly up the other side of the hill, and crosses a stone bridge.
The journey continues along the mule path that climbs up to the mountain pastures of Barchetta, to end up on the provincial road of Colma, and continue on to the historic mountain pass, the most popular passage between the basin of Varallo and Lago d'Orta.
From Passo della Colma, we take the paved road on the Valsesia side for just over a kilometre and then turn left. From here, we reach a straight flat section of road that begins to descend with hairpin curves until it reaches the path that enters the dense forest of beech and chestnut trees.
At the steepest point of the descent, there is a plaque that indicates the stone where Carlo Borromeo rested, according to tradition, during his journeys to and from the Varallo Sacro Monte complex.
The path continues down to the bottom of the valley, crosses the stream a couple of times over foot bridges, and reaches the Oratorio dell'Addolorata (Oratory of Our Lady of Sorrows) in Civiasco, which dates back to the sixteenth century, an ancient rest stop for pilgrims, as demonstrated by the buildings next to church.
From here, along the path under the chestnut trees, we descend to the houses of Cilimo, a hamlet of Varallo located in the lower part of the Pascone stream valley.
The journey proceeds northwards, to the Madonna di Loreto Church and, taking the path that climbs to the Madonna del Cuore Church, we will get to the Sacro Monte of Varallo Sesia.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Chiesa di San Defendente
Chiesa di San Filiberto
Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Giovanni Battista
Chiesa Parrocchiale di Sant'Albino
Oratorio di San Giulio
Oratorio di Nostra Signora Addolorata (Frassineto)
Oratorio S.S. Maria dei Sette Dolori
Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Gottardo
Oratorio di San Carlo
Oratorio di San Pietro
Oratorio di San Rocco
Museo Civico "E. Durio"
Chiesa Collegiata di S. Gaudenzio
Chiesa di S. Maria delle Grazie
Chiesa di S. Marco
Palazzo dei Musei
LEGS: the entire distance is recommended in 1 leg, (20 km)
DIFFERENCE IN ELEVATION: lowest altitude of the itinerary, 250 m a.s.l.; highest, 950 m a.s.l. See the map.
DURATION: from 3 to 6 hours
TYPE OF PATH: Excursion - MAINLY DIRT ROADS
FOR MORE DETAILS
ATL Valsesia Vercelli – Azienda Turistica Locale
13019 Varallo (VC) – C.so Roma n. 38
tel. 0163 564404 fax 0163 53091