first stage, from Legro to Omegna
This itinerary is part of the route called Anello Azzurro (the Light Blue Ring, a walking route around Orta Lake), inside the project Girolago. The route is marked with stakes and signs. More information can be found on www.girolago.it or www.lagodorta.net
From the railway station of Orta-Miasino turn onto the road, via Vecchia Stazione and continue to the left towards Miasino: after the crossroads, turn right following the signs to "Passeggiata" (Walk) along via Vecchia Miasino.
The road goes up quickly and after some bends becomes a path that, with some uphills and downhills, will bring you shortly to join the tarmaced road that goes up to Miasino. At the end of the path, near to the gate of a house, turn left and you get to Villa Nigra turning left into via Solaroli. Walk around the outside wall of the house and turn left again into via Borsattino passing under an arch.
Go straight on, firstly along the road and then downhill along the dirt track until you get to a flight of steps on the right which goes down into the wood. Go down the flight of steps and go up near to the Circolo of Carcegna in via Scuola. Go past the parish Church of St. Pietro
and along Via Roma following the uphill road which leads to the last houses of Carcegna.
Go past Cascina Vergiate on the right and then downhill along a track of hairpin bends quickly reaching the Novara-Domodossola railway line. Walking along the railway line, you get to the picnic area “Paganetto” of Pettenasco. Turn left and go over the bridge: in the proximity of the railway viaduct turn right uphill along the steep Via Prea Grossa: after a section of cobbles, the road becomes tarmac again carrying on steeply upwards .
Go on until you come out in the proximity of the oratory of the Madonna della Neve, Pratolungo. Now turn left following Via dei Castagni, at the junction turn left and immediately right, after the Osteria of the Madonna della Neve.
Go uphill along Via Regione Barro in the direction of Monte Crabbia: at the junction keep to the left and go past the aqueduct basin.
Go on in to the wood going downhill then on the left towards the small village of Crabbia in Via ai Monti: turn right in to Via per Omegna and walk along the track and subsequently into the wood. The path runs parallel above the Novara-Domodossola railway line: on the left you can admire the view of Orta lake.
Pass numerous brooks and follow the signs of the Anello Azzurro into the wood until, after a short slope, you get to the village of Borca and the Church of San Gottardo. Keep left, go under an arch and go along Via Borca to the junction. Here, cross the street and walk slightly uphill over the viaduct and go on until you see the railway station of Omegna on the left.
Carry on straight to the end of Via Pacinotti near the level crossing: turn right and go on until you get to the bar on the left. Turn left into Vicolo Isonzo to get to your arrival point, the Forum di Omegna.
Your re-entry to the starting point of Legro, can be made by train from Omegna to Orta on the Novara-Domodossola line, or during the summer season by boat with Orta Lake navigation (verify the time-table and the availability on www.navigazionelagodorta.it).
Traditions say that in the 4th century, San Giulio decided to build a church on the small isle situated in the centre of the lake. However, this isle was infested by dragons and snakes; Giulio did not find a boatman willing to ferry him there.
So, he decided to lay his mantle on the water and sailing on it, he got to the isle, where he drove out the horrible creatures. Today, the body of San Giulio lies in a tomb dated 1698, situated inside the crypt below the most important altar of the Basilica.
The second stage of the Anello Azzurro goes from Omegna to Pella.
■ fv, 2014-02-01