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WARNING: trekking is not like walking! If you can't overcome a passage, go back!
Some of the tracks presented here are set along mountain trails where some passages may require holding to ropes or climbing short ladders, and may have exposed passages without safety protections. These tracts can be a serious danger if faced without the right equipment, awareness and physical condition.
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Hike to Rocca di Arona and Motto Grande

The path of Saint Charles Borromeo on Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore

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length icon Length:
8 Km
time icon Our time:
2h30' walking
climb icon Total climb:
330 mt
height icon Min and max height:
205 mt - 420 mt
track ring icon Type of track:
ring track
surface icon Surface:
trail - asphalt
panorama icon Panorama:
lake - historic architecture
coverage icon Cell network coverage:
winter icon Traced in winter:
bike icon Traced by bike:

A rock spur rises from the water of Lake Maggiore for about 100 meters, a strategic point for the Longobardic rulers who could control a large territory from here. These are the premises for the building, around the year 1000, of the first fortified unit in Arona, which has seen many changes and dominations in the centuries. The Rocca di Arona, as a matter of fact, became an archiepiscopal property, later passing to Visconti of Milan who, in 1439, gave it to Vitaliano Borromeo. In one of the rooms of the Rocca di Arona, in 1538, was born the man who later became cardinal Saint Charles Borromeo.

The Rocca, which became a property of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1439, had evolved into a large fortified complex, with as many as three rings of walls, the tower, the palace and the places of arms. It was Napoleon in the year 1800, after the victory over the Austrians, who ordered his army to dismantle the large fortification. Today the few remains of the Rocca can be visited, facing its twin Rocca di Angera which rises, intact, on the Lombard side of Lake Maggiore.

The itinerary crosses the places dedicated to the person of Saint Charles Borromeo in the town of Arona. On the hills north to the Rocca there is part of what should have been the Calvary dedicated to Saint Charles. Only three of the fifteen planned chapels can be admired, in addition to the church Maggiore and the iconic statue of Colossus of Saint Charles Borromeo, also called “Sancarlone” (Sancarlòn in local dialect). The statue, 35 meters tall, was visited and studied by the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi who used it as a model for the Statue of Liberty. The latter, with its 45 meters, took the record as the highest visitable statue of the world from the Sancarlone!

The itinerary twists and turns among the woods of Valle Vevera and reaches the small lakes San Carlo and the Motto Grande, from where a panoramic view on Vergante, Lake Maggiore and its Lombard side can be seen.

NOTE: The Park of Rocca di Arona opens its gates in certain hours. We report the timetable as when we visited it (May 2023). Before starting we suggest to check the opening hours on the official site.




From March 15th to April 30th: tue-wed-thu-sun from 10:00 to 19:00 | fri-sat from 10:00 to 21:00

From May 1st to October 15th: tue-wed-thu-sun from 10:00 to 20:00 | fri-sat from 10:00 to 22:00

From October 16th to March 14th: sat-sun from 10:30 to 17:00

Traveled on: May 7th, 2023
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