• Religious Tourism
    • Active & Green

Via Francisca

The magnificence of the mountains gives way to superb panoramas where unspoiled nature will envelope you in an unforgettable experience

Via Francisca del Lucomagno covers important stages and monastic settlements that were fundamental for European medieval history. The route is replete with historic and religious relics and, in ancient times, allowed pilgrims and emperors to reach Rome, starting from Lake Constance.

From the Customs Offices in Lavena Ponte Tresa, the departure point, we continue along the tracks of the old tramway that, in the middle of the twentieth century, used to connect Varese with Ponte Tresa and now offers several kilometres of cycle track.

Along the route, a number of old stations in the Liberty style can be seen.  At Cadegliano Viconago, a few moments’ relaxation can be enjoyed in the Parco dell’Argentera amidst
streams, waterfalls and mills. The route continues to the old forge, the Maglio, and Lake Ghirla, a picturesque oasis of nature, and on to Badia di Ganna, which stands on the site
where, according to tradition, in around 1047, the young deacon Gemolo was killed and buried.

Goffredo da Bussero, a Milan historian, writes that the institution was founded by three canons from Milan cathedral, who, after a day’s hunting, visited the site of Gemolo’s murder.

Spend some time at the Sacro Monte di Varese. The seventeenth century route and the hamlet of Santa Maria del Monte have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003, the pride of the city and Lombardy. It is possible to park in Via Prima Cappella and start the climb from below, or in Piazzale Pogliaghi, behind the Sanctuary at the top.
There are fourteen chapels along the climb, artistic works of exceptional beauty, all dedicated to the mysteries of the Rosary.

Each has its own architecture that preserves sculptures and paintings inside.

When looking at the scenes depicted, remember to also look up at the magnificent ceiling frescos. Due to the grating and protective glass, you will not be able to take decent photographs. Better just to admire them with the naked eye!

Once past the last chapel, you will face a climb to the Sanctuary and the hamlet of Santa Maria del Monte, where you will be welcomed by an enormous statue of Moses; after a short visit to the panoramic terrace, visit the little Sanctuary, the climax of the route, full of frescos illustrating the glorious Assumption of  the Virgin Mary in the sky amid the glory of the Angels and Saints.

Spend some time on a visit to the adjacent crypt, restored and open to the public, to admire the remains of the church from the High Middle Ages, decorated with stupendous fourteenth century frescos. Entry is free after 5.30 p.m. or for payment, with an interesting guided visit. And that’s not all. In the hamlet of Santa Maria del Monte, there are two museums that are without doubt worth a visit. Alongside the Sanctuary is the Baroffio Museum, with small collections of Romanesque sculpture, illuminated manuscripts and paintings donated to the Sanctuary by Baron Giuseppe Baroffio.
It was reopened in 2001 and extended with a section of contemporary works of sacred art.

The Pogliaghi Museum must also be visited, accommodated in the house that the Milan artist chose as his residence. It houses an astonishing collection of artefacts. In addition
to sketches and sculptures by the artist along with Greek, Roman and Oriental exhibits, in the drawing room you will find the full-size preparatory plaster cast of the door of Milan Duomo on the back wall; it is a jaw-dropping spectacle.

Finally, a visit to the medieval ruins of the Castrum of Castelseprio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011 as part of the project “Italia Longobardorum – The Lombards in Italy, the seats of power (568-774 A.D.)” which covers a series of sites concerned in the passage of the Lombard civilisation in the territory. The Castrum of Castelseprio, built along the street that used to connect Novara to Como, lies at the top of the brow of a hill protected by thick walls, with towers at intervals of around 30 metres. It retains several examples of military architecture, including the complex of Torba, Santa Maria Foris Portas and the church of San Giovanni, vital evidence for studies of the Lombard period.

 

5 REASONS TO COVER THE ROUTE

1. The Parco del Ticino, a great surprise for those visiting for the first time and never disappointing for those who decide to return and enjoy the marvels it offers.

2. Varese, the Garden City: an epithet that perfectly expresses the idea of the marriage of art and nature that has characterised the city’s soul for many centuries.

3. The Monastery of Torba, to fully enjoy the experience of a past epoch that led to this ancient place being recognised in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. The natural scenery that surrounds the Sacro Monte. Located on a hill behind Varese, on fine days most the Po Valley can be seen from here, all the way to the Lombard mountains towards Bergamo and Valtellina.

5. The Elixir del Borducan, the liqueur of theSacro Monte, an infusion of oranges and aromatic herbs invented by the Garibaldi follower, Davide Bregonzio, in 1872, which you can taste in the establishment of the same name at the end of the day.

On the same topic

Candle production in Lombardy’s monasteries

Laboratories and purchases of candles in the Lombardy monasteries
  • Religious Tourism
The monasteries of Lombardy are producing and selling their own candles

Churches Cremona

Religious tourism is an important attraction of Italian tourism. Cremona does not miss the appeal with basilicas and sanctuaries
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Cremona, discovering Lombardy

Kneipp Cure in Lombardy

A panacea present in many wellness centers
  • Religious Tourism
What the Kneipp Cure is and where to try it in Lombardy

Medieval cookery at the Abbazia di Morimondo

Gastronomic experiences at the Abbey of Morimondo
  • Religious Tourism
Gastronomic experiences at the Abbazia di Morimondo

Religious Itineraries

Travel, walking
  • Religious Tourism
Religious itineraries, traveling on foot

Book restoration: workshops and activities in monasteries

Restaurare libri rari significa preservare la memoria di opere passate, tasselli della nostra storia, ma anche salvare dall'oblio piccoli capolavori d'arte
  • Religious Tourism
Discover the art of restoring ancient books

Churches Bergamo

Bergamo: a city with more beauties than you think. They are silent behind centuries-old facades of churches
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Bergamo, religious tourism

La Via Palmaria Burdigalense

From France to the Holy Land…Passing through Italy!
  • Religious Tourism
La Via Palmaria Burdigalense

Churches Lecco

Churches, basilicas and shrines in Lecco and surroundings: a religious heritage between the Romanesque and the Marian cult
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Lecco, ideas for visiting

Monks and beer cross paths in Monza and Buccinasco

Craft breweries in the monasteries of Lombardy
  • Religious Tourism
Craft beer brewing in the monasteries of Lombardy

The pilgrim’s dinner: medieval cookery in Morimondo

A lunch inspired by medieval cuisine with a seasonal menu
  • Religious Tourism
Traditional flavours at the Abbazia di Morimondo

Churches Monza

A journey discovering the history of the territory through architecture and spirituality.
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Monza, exploring Lombardy

Churches Pavia

The wonders of faith and the marvels of architecture in splendid religious buildings
  • Religious Tourism
Church Pavia, what to see

Visit the mill at the Abbazia di Chiaravalle

Gita fuoriporta alla scoperta dell’Abbazia di Chiaravalle
  • Religious Tourism
Head out of the city and discover the Abbazia di Chiaravalle

La Via Regina

The Queen of the Ways, ancient, crucial. A network of travellers’ hospices and monuments evidence of the historic importance of the route
  • Religious Tourism
La Via Regina

Churches Milan

Some are famous all over the world, others known only to a few, all of which hide great surprises of art and architecture
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Milan, itineraries

The monk’s pantry: where to indulge your tastebuds

Guide for gourmands in the monasteries of Lombardy
  • Religious Tourism
A gluttonous guide to the monasteries of Lombardy

The via Francigena

A road travelled for centuries by pilgrims, who headed South and made enormous sacrifices to reach the goal of the longed-for eternal city
  • Religious Tourism
The via Francigena

Cammino di Sant'Agostino

Retracing the Way of one of the most important figures of history will give an important new dimension to your awareness of life
  • Religious Tourism
Cammino di Sant'Agostino

Church Varese

From the Sacro Monte of Varese to the hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, a spiritual path made of artistic and landscape beauties
  • Religious Tourism
Church Varese, what to see