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THE AREA

To be lived and discovered

If you long for an elegant and peaceful hotel for your holiday, an ideal location for tours to Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, the Hotel Cortese is the right choice for you: the quality of its hospitality marries itself perfectly with its strategic position in the small town where it lies, the perfect base to enjoy the charm and appeal of the surrounding area, allowing you to move around easily.

SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES AND ATTRACTIONS

Armeno
The distinctive, ancient town of Armeno (525 metres above sea level) lies peacefully on a sunny plateau, sheltered by the surrounding hills,...Continue which for centuries have been the undisturbed habitat for thriving beech, larch and chestnut woods. The heart of the village is the square, connected to a stately 12th century Romanesque church, which can be reached via a beautiful tree-lined avenue. A stroll through the streets of the centre allows tourists to see the simple and serene side of a modern town, deep-rooted in the past and surrounded by peaceful countryside, where it is still possible to find ringing flocks of cows and sheep. A visit to the neighbourhood, with its wealth of rural tradition that the villagers’ passion has preserved for years, is highly recommended. Municipal borders follow the slopes of Mount Mottarone to the top (1492 metres above sea level), 3 km from Lake Orta and 16 km from Lake Maggiore: from the top you can enjoy a unique, breath taking view of the landscape that sweeps over the Alps (Monte Rosa), the Alpine foothills and seven wonderful lakes. Close
Lakes and Islands
Close to the hotel, you will catch a glimpse of the magical apparition that is Lake Orta, which has been fairly defined as “God’s watercolour” ...Continuebecause of the emotions that its romantic atmosphere provokes. Orta, the most important town in the area, is only 5 km from the hotel. It is a medieval settlement where the well-preserved stones of the city-centre seem to prepare for the majesty of the main square, where a 16th century mansion, attractive bars and shops can’t prevent the eye from falling on the picturesque island of San Giulio. In just a few minutes by boat you can reach the peace of a Benedictine convent and the inner magnificence of the patron saint’s Basilica-Museum. Moving in the opposite direction through a pristine and secluded green valley, you will arrive in the wonderful city of Stresa, the “pearl” of Lake Maggiore, in only 20 minutes. Here the atmosphere is princely and sumptuous, and gorgeous villas with impressive gardens line the lakeside, which overlooks the renowned Borromeo Gulf, a little archipelago where three incomparable treasures rise out of the water - the three Borromean islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori.
But if Stresa is its undoubted queen, Lake Maggiore is big enough to amaze you with the charm of many other places scattered along a panoramic road that skirts its slopes up to the Swiss border and beyond. A visit to Lake Mergozzo, a striking natural basin encircled by green woods mirrored in crystal clear waters, lies only 25 minutes from the hotel and is also highly recommended. Close
Mountains and valleys
From the hotel you can admire the charming Alpine range that dominates Lake Orta as well as the highest summits of Monte Rosa...Continue (4637 metres above sea level). Mountain lovers will not only be able to enjoy the view, but will also be in a position to reach the peaks that characterise the region known as Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VCO) because of their proximity. An 18-minute car ride will allow you to appreciate the fantastic landscape of Mount Mottarone (1492 metres above sea level), an unmissable stopping place. We recommend that you use the Sempione road, a communication route built by Napoleon to reach the heart of the Central Alps and which is now a modern highway. By approaching Lake Maggiore this way, you can reach the Swiss border through the Ossola district, a real treasure of mountains, Alpine tarns and valleys that pass by, one after the other, in a charming crescendo of importance and splendour. In less than 30 km, the typical lake scenery made up of olive and lemon trees becomes Alpine as you get closer to Monte Rosa, the second-highest mountain in Europe. The Veglia-Devero Alp, the Strona Valleys, Bognanco, Vigezzo, Antrona, Antigorio, Divedro and Formazza… all these wonderful valleys are a part of nature, history and the Alpine culture. A simple car trip can be enough to discover the typical Walser villages, military fortifications from different historical periods, open goldmines, works of art kept in monumental churches and unique landscapes such as the Toce Falls (the biggest and most beautiful waterfall in Europe) and Uriezzo Caves (deep caves in the ground formed by glacial erosion). Close
Villas and gardens
The villas that lie in the area, each with its own style, have not only kept their architectural allure ...Continuefor many years, but also represent a real “green system” of wonderful gardens full of rare flowers and impressive age-old trees. Some of these villas are open to the public, which will allow you to enjoy their treasures and discover their history. The most important ones are undoubtedly the princely gardens and mansions in Stresa: from Villa Ducale, where the famous priest and philosopher Antonio Rosmini lived, often in the company of his friend Alessandro Manzoni, to Villa Pallavicino that is nowadays an extraordinary botanical and zoological garden where tourists can take a walk among greenhouses, flowers, age-old trees, statues and many kinds of animal. An idyllic world can also be found on Isola Bella and Isola Madre, where the Borromeo family mansions will enchant you with their indescribable richness of art, history and culture, while the gardens will fascinate you with their harmony of colours and scents, often accompanied by water features and statues. Some other unmissable places to see are Villa Taranto and Villa St. Remigio in Verbania: the former is one of the most important botanic gardens in the world with its 16 hectares dedicated to plants and flowers from all over the world, while the latter represents a magical, natural and architectural evocation of moods and feelings, such as “Letizia’s Garden” which is dedicated to happiness. We also recommend Alpinia Garden, a glamorous nature reserve dedicated to Alpine flora and whose beauty is made more spectacular by a breath taking view of the Borromeo Gulf, which lies just 18 km from the hotel. Close
Parks and nature reserves
The presence of many protected areas, each with its own features and charm, confirms the importance of this natural landscape. ...ContinueWithin a stone’s throw of the hotel, you can find the “Monte Mesma” Reserve and the “Sacro Monte Orta” Reserve, two places where the peace of nature complements the search for faith. Furthermore, on the south side of Lake Maggiore you can stop at the “Lagoni di Mercurago” Park, a wide green lung with historical and archaeological trails named after the wide ponds and calm marshes that formed many centuries ago. Climbing up the west coast of the lake, two protected areas of reeds are the natural habitat for many animal species, not only aquatic ones. For lovers of untouched nature, a trip to the Val Grande National Park – the biggest wilderness area in Europe - is a must. Alternatively, the Veglia-Devero Alp is the best place for Alpine nature lovers because of the beauty of this basin of grass, conifer woods and typical mountain refuges. The well-equipped and modern fauna parks, “La Torbiera” and “Safari”, are particularly suitable for family trips with children. Close
Museums and monuments
The area’s widespread availability of museums can satisfy all tastes as well as the desire for culture....Continue If you are interested in ethnographical collections, precious evidence of local civilisations over the centuries, there are a significant number of museums dedicated to this subject. These range from typical rural civilisations to mountainous civilisations, such as the characteristic Museum Houses dedicated to the traditional Walser culture. In these places, through the carefuò reconstruction of a homelike environment, you can relive the atmosphere of an ancient world that is still alive. Those who wish to experience the visual arts can visit the “Calderara Contemporary Art Collection” (a prestigious collection of 327 works of contemporary painting and sculpture which lies only 2.5 km from the hotel), several exhibitions of sacred art and the historical apartments of the Borromeo family mansions where you can admire paintings, frescos, furniture and tapestries, but also valuable exhibitions of weapons, archaeological finds or period dolls and puppet theatres. Other museums you can visit include: the Earth Science Museum, the Hat and the Parasol Museums, the permanent archaeology exhibition, the Guya goldmine, the natural exhibition of Alpe Selviana, the museum of Arts and Industries, the Tap Museum, the Musical Wind Instrument museum, the Doll Museum, the Chimneysweep Museum, the Partisan museum and the Cultural Centre dedicated to Rosmini.
As for monuments, we strongly recommend the huge statue of San Carlo, one of the biggest in the world standing at 23.4 metres in height. You will enter through a staircase that leads up to the enormous bronze head where there is a charming view of Lake Maggiore.
On top of all this there are also ancient castles and forts that belonged to local lords, ruined or renewed timeless spots, military fortifications such as medieval control towers scattered throughout the region, the “Cadorna Line” built during the Second World War in order to protect the area against Nazi attacks... Close
Holy Places
Ancient convents and monasteries with their different ways of living, dedicated to a devotion to spiritual research, ...Continuemonumental churches where you can find the grandeur and beauty of man’s work dedicated to God, a chain of so-called ‘Sacred Mounts’ which you can visit via a trail of artistic chapels dedicated to the life and works of Jesus or the saints... even religious trails offer a wide choice in the region.
A wonderful 13th century Romanesque church stands a stone’s throw from the hotel, whilst a short drive away you can visit Mount Mesma and its 17th century Franciscan monastery, as well as the Sacro Monte of Orta (which is a UNESCO world heritage site), its 20 chapels and 376 statues dedicated to Saint Francis. A quick crossing by motorboat takes you to the striking island of San Giulio, where the Benedictine abbey “Mater Ecclesiae” and a basilica dedicated to the saint stand out due to their magnificent art and history. From coast to coast, two shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary stand upon a panoramic terrace and on a striking spur on the mountainside. Artistic masterpieces and historical architecture are scattered in a myriad of churches all over the area, often sites of real miraculous events and cult destinations for pilgrimages. The sacred mounts of Ghiffa, Domodossola and Varallo are recommended to those who like giving themselves up completely to nature in order to discover the grandeur of faith. Close
Food and wine
Typical cheeses and inland delicatessen products, freshwater fish, rice from the plains of Novara and wines from the local hills ...Continue are the basic food and wine products of this region. In Armeno you can see a typical dairy where fresh cow's milk, first-class cheeses and organic yogurts are produced daily. A great opportunity to taste these delicacies could be a visit to the numerous caves of “Città del Vino” such as Romagnano Sesia or Gattinara, only half an hour from the hotel. In Ghemme you can visit the evocative premises of a medieval fort before going along to a local, modern distillery where you can find out about the fascinating production process for grappa and liquor. Travelling to the south of the regular hilly rows of vines means running into a wide, charming plane scattered with countless sheets of water: these are the Novara paddy-fields that have been cultivated for years in order to produce the famous rice prepared with cheese and typical Mottarone mushrooms, one of the most popular specialities at the Cortese restaurant, the location for numerous food and wine events during the winter season. Close
Shopping
There are many shopping opportunities in this area: from the quiet cobbled streets of the town centre to huge modern shopping centres. ...Continue Artisan workshops are also scattered through the area. It is possible to buy any kind of inimitable products such as silk shirts, leather jackets, jewels, glass or wooden knick-knacks, pieces of pottery, gifts and extravagant souvenirs, not forgetting the countless ice-cream parlours and patisseries selling typical cakes. Not to be underestimated are the low-cost outlets of important local brands such as Alessi, Piazza and Lagostina for household items, where our guests can take advantage of a special discount. Thanks to the nearby motorway, you can easily reach the enormous Vicolungo Outlet in only 40 minutes - a shopping village with more than 150 shops where you find famous clothing brands, accessories, household items, cosmetics and wellbeing items.Close

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PEOPLE SAY

"Excellent restaurant and perfect to visit Orta and Maggiore"

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The Belgians Brussels - 18-08-2013

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Through landscape and reality
THIS MAGICAL
corner
of Italy
NEWSLETTER
Via Due Riviere - 28011 Armeno Tel. +39 0322/999081 | Fax +39 0322/999067 | E-mail: info@cortesehotel.it | Privacy Policy - P.Iva 01873330037 | Photo credits
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PHOTO CREDITS

Isola San Giulio dans le lac d'Orta
- Photo of Jean-Christophe Benoist