The romantic atmospheres of the Lakes, the grandeur of the Alps
From the famous Lake Maggiore with the enchanting Borromeo Islands, to the clear waters of the tranquil Lake Mergozzo and the enchanted scenery of Lake Orta with the picturesque Island of San Giulio: jewels of nature, art and history make these places a favourite destination for the modern "Dolce Vita". All around, the surroundings of the Ossola Valleys offer mountain lovers vast expanses of forests, high peaks and spectacular parks. Monte Rosa, the Val Grande National Park, the Veglia Devero and Alta Valle Antrona Nature Parks are popular destinations for those seeking the most unspoilt environments. And here's the secret: in just over an hour, from the lake shores with their Mediterranean allure, you can reach the foot of the second highest mountain in the Alps! Let yourself be accommodated by the luxurious grand hotels on the lake, the elegant historic residences in the greenery or the intimate boutique hotels in the valleys: our destination has a wide variety of accommodations with MICE offerings, as well as conference centres in the most strategic locations, all capable of accommodating corporate activities and corporate retreats, meeting the needs of business guests.
This area has always been one of the leading MICE locations in Piedmont
Meetings and congresses, incentive trips, corporate retreats and private events are offered a winning combination of marvellous venues, highly professional services, state-of-the-art technology and a range of "slow" experiences between the Lakes and the Alps that involve all the senses, for an authentic bleisure stay.
Between the Lakes and Alps of Upper Piedmont the Business Stay evolves into a Bleisure Experience
The scenic variety of the destination allows business visitors spending a conference stay on the lakes to extend their trip and enjoy slow-paced experiences between the Lakes and the Alps that intensely engage all the senses and are increasingly on the minds of the contemporary tourist. Here are a few not-to-be-missed proposals, listed according to the season.
SPRINGTIME ON THE LAKES IN THE "GARDENS OF FEELINGS”
A tour among the villas and gardens of Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta means diving into an experience of slow-paced and conscious tourism. Places where architecture, art and history merge with a world of green and botany bringing with them a holiday of intense fragrance. Garden tourism today takes on an intimate dimension, ideal for understanding and enjoying the cultural and natural heritage of the place. The gaze thus turns to small worlds full of poetry: not only the secret corners of villas and castles, but also the flowers and fragrances of lively gardens. The Rocca di Arona Park, a green expanse overlooking Lake Maggiore with the backdrop of the fascinating ruins of the fortress where Carlo Borromeo - the future San Carlo, to whom the colossal 35-metre statue, one of the tallest in the world, is dedicated not far away - was born in 1538. The Pallavicino Park in Stresa, an English-style garden of more than 15 hectares whose avenues extend among flowers, centuries-old trees, ponds and fountains; the park is home to a precious reserve of animals living in completely natural habitats. In 1632, Carlo III Borromeo commissioned the construction of the palace and gardens that give Isola Bella its fame, conceived as a fantastic vessel moored a few metres from the Stresa shore. In the majestic palace, a succession of rooms decorated with tapestries, furniture, paintings and stuccoes leads to the coolness of the mosaic grottoes and the grandiose Italian-style gardens, where white peacocks wander among the acidophile plants, citrus trees and rare plant species. On Isola Madre there is an English-style garden with plants from the most diverse latitudes, among which colourful peacocks and pheasants live, while the manor house exhibits "puppet theatres" from the 17th and 19th centuries owned by the Borromeo family. The Alpinia Garden, nestled on the slopes of the Mottarone, allows you to stroll among rocky beds of alpine flora up to where the hillside offers one of the most enchanting views of Lake Maggiore, ranging from the Borromean Islands to the Alps. In springtime, extraordinary splashes of colour transform the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens in Verbania Pallanza into a floral attraction of absolute excellence on Lake Maggiore: the park displays thousands of specimens of tulips, dahlias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas and terraces with sloping pools of water. Also in Verbania are two municipal properties full of charm: Villa Maioni, the current home of the town library, with its park of camellias and tall trees, is a fine example of late 19th-century neo-Baroque style; Villa Giulia, with its beautiful loggia façade and English lakeside park now a public garden, was originally the home of the aristocratic Branca family, inventors of the famous Italian liqueur Fernet. A flower-filled park guards the romantic Villa Anelli in Oggebbio: this is a private garden where, since the second half of the 20th century, the owner family has passionately cultivated a rich collection of camellias, which in 2010 was named Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society. The UNESCO World Heritage Sacred Mounts, located on the heights of Ghiffa on Lake Maggiore, Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta and Domodossola in Ossola, have 16th-17th century chapels that tell modern visitors, once pilgrims, the story of pivotal figures in Christianity, such as Jesus and San Francesco of Assisi: a unique blend of art, history and spirituality.
ADRENALINE SUMMER BETWEEN ZIP LINES AND ADVENTURE PARKS
Summer between lakes and mountains is synonymous with fun. At the Lago Maggiore Aquadventure Park in Baveno, climbing routes, trampolines, paintball, falconry, an educational farm, tennis and padel courts are open all year round, and in summer the facility offers swimming pools, water slides and a lake-view beach. All year round Le Pigne Adventure Park in Ameno on Lake Orta offers courses on bridges, ropes and nets are suspended among the chestnut trees of a centuries-old forest, as well as a Giant Bench built on the top of the mountain, a barefoot sensory path, a tented area along the stream, as well as yoga, Nordic walking and fly-fishing courses! From May to September, the Praudina Adventure Park offers adventure trails and three ziplines among the spruce trees in the pine forest of Santa Maria Maggiore in the Vigezzo Valley. Great fun all year round at Wonderwood, the adventure park in Trarego Viggiona, with its 35-metre suspended course overlooking Lake Maggiore; there is also an area dedicated to our four-legged companions. Steady nerves to experience the thrill of flying suspended above the blue with the Lago Maggiore Zipline in Aurano (1850 metres at 120 km/h at a height of 350 metres for a total flight of one and a half minutes) and the Lago d'Orta Zipline in Omegna (450 metres at 70 km/h for a total flight of 45 seconds at a height of 60 metres)! Also open all year round is Alpyland, the 1,200-metre roller coaster at the summit of Mottarone, where you will feel like diving into Lake Maggiore from a height of 1,492 metres! To get rid of the adrenalin load, there is nothing better than a wellness moment spent in the Ossola Valleys at the Terme di Premia or Terme di Bognanco, where the water, coming from the heart of the Alps, is naturally warm and invigorates both mind and body in the pools and in the wellness centre. Another sensory experience to try is yoga or pilates surrounded by the alpine nature of a protected area, where the only sound at sunrise is the cry of a small hawk in flight over the mountain ridge. But listening to the body, almost a therapy to rediscover one's self, can also be tried on the lakes, at the water's edge as well as on the heights with wellbeing specialists, by appointment.
SLOW TREKKING WHEN AUTUMN SETS THE OSSOLA VALLEYS ABLAZE
In September, when summer is ripe and it is about to turn to autumn, a walk through the Prünent vineyard runs between the Ossola villages of Masera and Trontano. The gentle terraced slopes overlooking the Alps have been cultivated with vines since the 14th century and give rise to the indigenous red DOC wine called "Valli Ossolane". A slow path plunges through chestnut woods until it meets the Convent of Corcinesco also known as "di Frà Dolcino", a place shrouded in mystery and the protagonist of many local legends. It then continues to the mills of the Graglia stream, once used for grinding rye, and reaches the picturesque village of Verigo. The entire route is crossed by the famous Centovalli Vigezzina Railway, which connects Domodossola to Locarno in Ticino (Switzerland) through the Vigezzo Valley. Its Foliage Train® is popular in autumn for admiring the colours of nature among the meadows, bridges, deep gorges and characteristic hamlets of the so-called "Painters' Valley". The walking route touches the stations of Creggio, Trontano and Verigo. The spectacle of foliage is also breathtaking at the Veglia Devero Nature Park, particularly at Alpe Devero, where the larch trees and undergrowth are tinged with the warm hues of the season and can be admired on a pleasant loop walk through the relaxing pastures surrounded by the rugged peaks of the Alps. In a fairy-tale atmosphere, one goes on a discovery of the Lago delle Streghe (Witches' Lake) among junipers, blueberries and rhododendrons, and then explores the Crampiolo alpine pasture, whose stone huts are grouped around the small 17th-century Oratory of S. Antonio Abate. Here farms and small dairies offer their local cured meats, milk, yoghurt and cheeses - a joy of taste! Soon the dirt track becomes a steep path that in just a few metres takes you up to the Codelago dam at 1,856 metres: the grandiose Devero Lake with its turquoise waters appears in front of you. We are in the heart of the park, which is called the "Little Canada" of Piedmont because of its wild beauty.
Some figures of our destination
around 70% of international operators - of various types - come to our territory for business events, 30% come from Italy.
The most important accommodation facilities with MICE offerings in our destination host an average of 450 events per year!
Between conference centres, historical residences and other facilities, our region can offer more than 50 meeting rooms with a total capacity of more than 1,600 seats.
Among the accommodation facilities, on the other hand, we have - between 4- and 5-star hotels - more than 5,300 rooms and over 1,200 seats in the meeting rooms.
We are therefore a guaranteed and wide-ranging hospitality destination for the entire MICE sector.
We are in an excellent location
In northern Piedmont, a very short distance from the Swiss border with Canton Ticino and Canton Valais, Malpensa International Airport and the cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa.
*Photo Credits Piero Gatti
***Promotional action carried out as part of the "SLOW BIZ" 2022-2023 Project of the Distretto Turistico dei Laghi***