Domodossola and the scenic Centovalli / Vigezzina train to Locarno. Lago Maggiore Express round trip with a cruise on lake Maggiore
Full-day guided tours accompanied by an experienced Lake Maggiore Tour Guide
Domodossola (Oscela in the 3rd century BC, so named by Lepontii) is an alluring town situated in the heart of Ossola Valley. Today it has a population of around 18 000 inhabitants, but a couple of centuries ago it was just a village. However, due to its stragetic location the town has always been an important crossroads and trading centre. The construction of the old Napoleonic route in the beginning of the 19th century first and then the opening of the Simplon railway tunnel in 1906 helped Domodossola gain wealth and international significance. At that time there was a daily horse and carriage service between Domodossola and Brig in Switzerland. When the Simplon route was opened it was possible to travel from Domodossola to Brig on a carriage leaded by ten horses in about ten hours (if the weather was fine). In 1805 there was a horse-drawn stagecoach service between Lausanne and Milan (a thirty-four hour journey)via Domodossola twice a week (for two passengers only, plus mail). Later on the service was improved and in 1850 there was a daily stagecoach that could bring up to ten passengers as well as mail. At that time Domodossola was the stop to change horses and stagecoach to go on to the Simplon Pass or to Milan.
The old town has two nice squares: Piazza Mercato and Piazza Fontana. Piazza Mercato is the square where a market, still very popular nowadays, has been taking place for centuries. It's a large, picturesque square surrounded by ancient houses and by 15th century porticoes. The main religious building is the Collegiate Church of Saints Gervasius and Protasius that was rebuilt in the 18th century.
An important historical building is Palazzo Silva dating back to the end of the 16th century which was the town residence of the noble family Della Silva.
Not far from the town centre is the Sacred Mount Calvario dedicated to the Passion of Christ, a Unesco World Heritage Site. It was started in 1656 on a little hill called Colle Mattarella and it counts 15 chapels. For a guided tour of Domodossola and Sacred Mount please refer to the following link: Domodossola and the Sacred Mount Calvary
The Centovalli / Vigezzina railway
From Domodossola it's possible to take a panoramic train (Vigezzina / Centovalli) to go as far as Locarno,
a nice town located on the northen shore of lake Maggiore, in Switzerland. The train journey takes approximately two hours. It's a narrow-gauge mountain railway line, 55 km long, that was opened in 1923. The train passes through lovely villages and woodlands in the mountains of Vigezzo Valley in Italy and Centovalli on the Swiss side and it crosses over 80 bridges and viaducts. The way back to your lakeside resort can be by boat or via road after visiting Locarno.
A FULL-DAY ITINERARY
In the morning we get to Domodossola by train or by bus from lake Maggiore or lake Orta. We visit the old town: Piazza Mercato, Piazza Fontana, The Collegiate Church. Late in the morning departure to Locarno by Centovalli train. Free time for your lunch in Locarno. Visit to Locarno. Return to Stresa, Baveno, Intra, Pallanza by boat or by bus.
For a description of Locarno, please refer to the followinglink: Cannobio and Locarno
If you are a group, seat reservations are required on the Centovalli train
If you wish to go back to your lakeside resort by boat from Locarno, there's a special combined ticket for Centovalli rail + boat round trip called "Lago Maggiore Express" - Lake Maggiore Express tour -
I can help you plan the itinerary for the Centovalli trip or Lago Maggiore Express tour