THE HERMITAGE OF SANTA CATERINA DEL SASSO: legends and beauty at Lake Maggiore

Starting from Premeno, it is possible to organize an interesting trip over the Lake Maggiore, to take a good look at all the beauty and all the monuments of the territory. Amongst the many touristic activities there is a place rich in charm since time immemorial: the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso. From this rock, on which now the convent and the church rise, one can enjoy a unique panorama directly on the lake, with the Borromean Islands glimpsing on the background and a very evocative landscape. Those who decide to stay at the Hotel Moderno in Premeno, will have to go to Verbania and then take the ferry-boat that connects the two shores of the lake to arrive at the Hermitage of Santa Caterina Del Sasso. Once arrived at Laveno Mombello, after a few kilometers it is possible to look at this wonder able to combine nature and art.

The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso was built during the Middle Ages, precisely during the XIII Century, by a merchant of the place that, according to the legend, have wanted to atone for his sins in this way. The merchant, Alberto Besozzi di Arolo, in fact, made a vow of penance to Saint Caterina, that saved him during a bad shipwreck. The most curious thing about the Hermitage is that the place, still according to the legend, was considered the house of the devil and, once transformed in a religious place in which the believers used to rush up in droves, was completely destroyed by a rock that was thrown from the mountains by the hand of the devil. Nowadays the convent and the church are guarded and kept by the Benedictine Oblates and are opened for visitors all year long. The southern part of the convent is the one that was destroyed according to the legend, by the devil and it was renovated in 1624 by the Prior Giulio Cesare Martignoni. The convent is the dormitory of the building and it is characterized by particular Gothic arches completing the courtyard with a very important colonnade from the sixteenth-century. The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is completed by a three naves church founded in 1585 and the bell tower from 1300, in which stands out the belfry with the mullioned window made of Angera stone.

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