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The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

Clinging to a rock face directly overhanging the lake, the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is certainly one of the most charming sights of Lago Maggiore.


The church
Clinging to a rock face directly overhanging the lake, the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is certainly one of the most charming sights of Lago Maggiore. The entrance to the church is through a portico consisting of four round, renaissance-style arches. The structure of the current building is truly unique, the fusion of three chapels, originally built separately in three different eras. There are numerous pictorial cycles both inside and outside the Church, mainly covering the period running between the 14th and the 19th century. Art and history merge wonderfully in this most striking of natural frames, almost a balcony leaning out towards the Borromeo Gulf, Stresa and the islands.

The bell tower
The rectangular-based bell tower, also constructed in the 14th century, is 15 metres high, including the spire and the cross. The tower was originally built as the bell tower for the Church of San Nicolao, the original independent entrance to which is now walled up. Today's entrance door leading to the church from the renaissance portico was opened up in the 16th century, when the churches were brought together and combined in the present holy building. Various types of building material were used to construct the tower: for example, the stones in the corners are more finely carved and squared.


The Hermitage can be reached from the square above, from where, having parked in one of the numerous parking spaces, visitors can descend the panoramic, 268-step staircase; or, if they have arrived by boat, they climb approximately 80 steps up from the lake. Visitors can also reach the Hermitage easily by taking the elevator, the entrance to which is near the car park.

Link to the official website

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