Italy 4 Varallo Sesia
After a good night’s sleep (getting a hotel room always improves the chances of sleeping decently, funny thing that) and breakfast it was off to discover the many historical points of Varallo Sesia, most of which are linked to churches in the large sense of the term (some are chapels, some pilgrimage sites, others churches, etc.). The Collegiata of San Gaudenzio was first as just across the street: paintings by Ferrari.
|Inside the Collegiata of San Gaudenzio|
|Giacobini sepulchre in the Collegiata of San Gaudenzio|
|The pope visited Varallo Sesia in 1984|
|Collegiata of San Gaudenzio as seen from Sacro Monte|
Next was the 15th century Santa Maria delle Grazie and Gaudenzio Ferrari’s 15th century fresco depicting the life of Christ, which covers an entire wall (one can pay to light up the fresco).
|The Lady of our Graces inside.|
Then it was on to the top of the hill and the Sacro Monte di Varallo. An UNESCO Heritage site, it is one of the most famous Piedmont pilgrimage sites, the oldest Italian and foreign one of its kind. It blew my mind away. Didn’t count all of the marvelous chapels with painted sculptures of the life of Christ, but later learned that there are 45 (and no I am not going to publish pictures of all of them). The “minor basilica” from the outside gives no clue to the splendor of the Baroque style inside. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacro_Monte_di_Varallo for those interested in learning more.
|map of the Sacro Monte di Varallo|
|vaults and earthquake bars|
|Adam and Eve, one of 45 separate frescoes and statues|
|Part of the Last Supper|
|Note the detail in the expressions|
|Again part of the more than 800 painted life-size statues of wood and terracota|
|details on one of the "window" boxes|
|Post number 40 - with statues and frescoes behind|
|A plaque in honor of the English writer Samuel Butler and his "Ex Voto"|
|The minor basilica|
|Inside the minor basilica|
The coffee shop itself was a splendid Art Deco room and needing to use the facilities I was flabbergasted to see a tile wall that was round (how they managed that without any seems I certainly don’t understand).
|Dining room of the Sacro Monte restaurant|
|detail in the dining room|
|detail on the linen table clothes|
|In a courtyard|
|Spring has sprung|
|Interesting chimney pots|
|The Collegiata and town seen from Sacro Monte|
|The perfect tulip|
Then it was winding roads and a village restaurant where just the anti pasti would have been more than sufficient, but was followed by fresh pan-fried trout. No room at any point on this trip for dessert!
The afternoon was spent in Fobello, a small mountain town, which was the home to Vincenzo Lancia and his son Gianni Lancia – yes there is a Lancia street. It is also one of the villages with the best preserved traditions in costumes (a particular stitch) of the area.
|Fobello, home to the Lancia family|
Then back to the Lago d’Orta and a room overlooking the lake. Life is tough.
|View from Madonna del Sasso overlooking the Lago d'Orta|