Sacro Monte di Ghiffa
A nature reserve with a spiritual theme, the unique park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex is called Sacri Monti, there are nine mountain sanctuaries in Lombardy and Piedmont that are included in the UNESCO designation. This one bears the name of the Holy Trinity - officially named Riserva Naturale Speciale del Sacro Monte della Santissima Trinita' di Ghiffa, a long moniker that gets shortened to Sacro Monte di Ghiffa.
Located just outside the town of Ghiffa, it is a devotional park with a series of charming chapels set amidst the natural landscape of the pre-Alps foothills. It is in a panoramic position above Lake Maggiore with beautiful views, tranquil ambiance, and fresh clean air. The founder is unknown but it was built between 1646 and 1761. The chapels were built in Baroque style, with one constructed like an octagonal-shaped tempietto while the others have elegant symmetry and are outlined with graceful porticoes. They bear symbolic and aesthetic designs and represent a blending of architecture and sacred art into a natural landscape. The chapels are decorated with depictions of both Old and New Testament scenes.
There are pathways through the peaceful woods and overlooks offering views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. In addition to the spiritual sights, there is an archeological trail that winds through the wildest part of the nature preserve, where there are primitive remains of a prehistoric population. A visitors center and picnic area can be found in the main part of the park. The town of Ghiffa is below on the lakeshore; other nearby towns are Pallanza and Verbania.
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