Places to visit in the mountains

Domodossola is the capital of the Ossola mountain region and it is situated within the Toce river plain, at the convergence point of the seven surrounding valleys. It has the character of a frontier town, and is an important railway junction between Italy and Switzerland.

Its historic center still transmits the elegance of the medieval and Renaissance periods with its Market Square, an irregularly-shaped square surrounded by elegant bourgeois buildings graced with loggias and balconies. Of great historical interest is Via Briona, where the 14th century Briona Tower stands. Another 14th century building is the Renaissance Palazzo Silva, now a museum displaying Etruscan and Roman finds, and fragments of Egyptian mummies.

The patron saints of Domodossola, Gervasio and Protasio, are celebrated on June 19 with a solemn Mass in the Collegiate, followed by a procession along the downtown streets. The “Giugno Domese” is one of the most highly awaited event that liven up the city center with music, entertainment and solidarity initiatives.

But the major attraction of Domodossola is the Sacro Monte del Calvario, built in 1657 by Capuchin monks, and designated UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. This Sacred Calvary Mount is the northernmost of the Sacred Mounts, both because of its geographical position and also for the cultural influence of nearby Switzerland. The devotional path winds from the town centre of Domodossola to the hill of Mattarella. In 1657 the Sanctuary of the Crucifix was built, it was the culminating point of the devotional path. Inside it, there are two chapels: Jesus Dies on the Cross and the Deposition. The other chapels were built in the following years in isolated positions, along the paved road that climbs from the city. Today the complex counts fifteen chapels.

The nearest ski and snowboarding runs in the Domodossola area are to the south-west, at Domobianca on the slopes of Monte Moncucco.