A days excursion took us up into the northern part of Pedimonte in the mountainous area along the Swiss border. The landscape, architecture and food are all drastically different up here. The roads become much more enjoyable to navigate as they become very narrow and twist up the mountains past the wooden Ski-chalet style homes. The style of food here unfortunately becomes more Swiss, with a large emphasis on dried meats.
Our first stop was Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens. A beautifully maintained botanical garden with wide paved walkways that gradually climb upwards past a large variety of fauna from around the world. The highlight is a water garden with enormous lily pads.
Heading northeast along the shores of Lago Maggiore on a road filled with wide-eyed tourists trying to navigate and view the sites simultaneously. A left turn took us away from the lake and traffic into the dense foliage and onto a narrow twisting road that climbed upward. Stopping for lunch at a far too posh local trattoria for a strange meal we then continued up more twisting narrow roads until reaching the cliffside Santuario Della Madonna Del Sangue. An impressive mixture of historic and modern design.
The next intended stop was the Museum of Chimney Sweeps but it was closed and did not look all that impressive from the peak we had inside. The village surrounding the museum was very quaint and made up for the stern notice from the museum worker that “no dogs were allowed inside!”
The trip back to Orta San Giulio was via dull highways save for a brief detour through the small village of Coimo with both its entry and exit roads being extremely narrow and twisty.