Highlights and tour details
From the landscape of the irrigated plain to the charm of the moraine hills of the Middle Novarese, to discover the artistic, historical and natural beauties of Isarno, Caltignaga, Badia di Dulzago and Linduno and of the works by Alessandro Antonelli in Oleggio and Bellinzago.
Departure from Vignale (Church Square). Take the dirt track that starts beside the Circolo and passing behind the Bonfantini Institute reaches Isarno. Turning right, you reach the SS 229; continuing on the left, you reach Caltignaga. From the centre of the town, follow the SP 83 to the right as far as Cascina Codemonte. In front of the Cascina turn left onto the dirt track that reaches Cavagliano. Continuing on SP 102, you arrive at Badia di Dulzago. Continue on SP 102 reaching Bellinzago. From the centre of the town, going right on SP4 you reach Oleggio, in the park you find an excellent area for a packed lunch. Continue towards the cemetery of the village for a visit to the Basilica of San Michele. From here, continuing on SP18/a, you reach Mezzomerico. Take SP 105 and descend to Vaprio D'Agogna. Turn left onto SP19 and reach Castelletto; here, turn right, and after 200 m take the dirt track that skims the cemetery and reaches the Cascina and the Oratory of Linduno. Keeping on the right you reach Alzate. Continue, passing the junction with the SS229 and arrive at Cascina Mirasole. Turn left on the internal road parallel to the SS 229 and cross Sologno to arrive to Caltiganga. Follow the route in the opposite direction from Caltignaga to Novara (Vignale).
The route is primarily on secondary roads or roads with low traffic, presenting easy ups and downs. In total, you travel 48 km, of which 9 are on dirt tracks with a discrete surface.
Points of interest
Vignale, Cascina Isarno
The rural complex is located outside the village and there is a record of it since 840; inside, you can admire the church dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano.
Caltignaga, Roman aqueduct
The remains of a Roman aqueduct are still visible along the provincial road. They probably fed the thermal baths of Novara.
The 15th century castle stands at the centre of the village. It is now private property, and features a lovely Italian-style garden.
Caltignaga, Oratory of San Salvatore and Oratory of Saints Nazzaro and Celso
Of particular interest are the two oratories in the cemeteries of the village and of the hamlet of Sologno. Both date to the Romanesque period, and feature lovely frescoes attributed to Giovanni De Campo and his workshop.
Bellinzago Novarese – Cavagliano, Church of San Vito
The small oratory located in the cemetery of Bellinzago is worth seeing for the scenographic 15th-16th century fresco that covers the triumphal arch and the apse, close to the school of Gaudenzio Ferrari. The hamlet is dominated by the Castle, a rural building with traces of the ancient moat and, next to it, the Church of San Quirico.
Bellinzago, Badia of Dulzago
The Badia of Dulzago, a century-old abbey site, is located in the green of the countryside and the rice fields. Admire the Romanesque Church of San Giulio dating to the 12th century. To point out, the Feast of Saint Giulio with the traditional Fagiolata (Bean festival) held each year on the last Sunday in January.
Bellinzago, Church of San Clemente, Parish House and De Medici Kindergarten
The complex of 19th century buildings, designed by the architect Alessandro Antonelli from Ghemme, stands at the centre of the village
Oleggio, Parish Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo
Designed by Alessandro Antonelli between 1853 and 1858, it presents a typical neo-classical façade. It houses the Museum of Religious Art “P.A. Mozzetti”, which gathers sacred vestments, religious works and articles of the churches of Oleggio. A short distance away, the Ethnographic Archaeological Historical Museum “C.G. Franchini” preserves the archaeological finds, historical and art objects that tell the story of the village, from its origins to the present day.
Oleggio, Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo
The basilica is located at the cemetery, and was mentioned for the first time in a document of 973. It is one of the most significant religious buildings of the entire Po territory and preserves interesting 11th and 12th century frescoes; the crypt with cross vaults is also worth visiting.
From Mezzomerico to Vaprio d’Agogna Mezzomerico, Church of the Saints Giacomo and Filippo
The parish church stands in a panoramic position on the Hill of Mezzomerico. It was built in 1847 on the remains of a preceding church; the interior is unaisled with barrel vaults and five altars. The 16th century Oratory of Santa Maria Maddalena and the well-preserved 15th century Palazzo Visconti are worth visiting.
The route that connects Mezzomerico to Vaprio d’Agogna is a picturesque scenic itinerary that crosses vineyards and hilly woods. The latter town preserves the 13th century Casaforte in its centre, home to Giovan Battista Caccia, known as il Caccetta, a violent character who inspired Manzoni to trace the characteristics of Don Rodrigo.
Momo – hamlet of Linduno, Oratory of Santa Maria
The oratory with exquisite frescoes by Luca De Campo dating from 1468 is situated in the countryside between Bellinzago and Alzate di Momo, at cascina Linduno.