Piccolo Mondo Antico: Castello Valsolda

After visiting the Church of Santa Maria Annunciata, continuing into the driveway, in 30 minutes you can reach Castello Valsolda.

Keep it up our tour for Valsolda of Piccolo Mondo Antico following the route that uncle Piero and Mr. Zacomo Puttini made the day of the secret marriage of Luisa and Franco.

On the left are the old stables of Pianca and close to the first restaurant we meet, your gaze runs over Casarico, San Mamete, Cressogno, Loggio and in front of Rescia falls.

Continuing our journey on the right hidden among the trees we can see the Caslano fountain, where Fogazzaro set his homonym poem.

Castello Valsolda is a country with a panoramic view located on a cliff. Is the native land of Luisa.

In the Church are celebrated the secret marriage between Luisa and Franco. Here you can admire the frescoes by Paolo Pagani and on the churchyard a breathtaking views of the west bank of Ceresio to Monte San Salvatore.

Venturing under the porch and passed the small square you come to the house of Luisa’s mother.

Continuing along the avenue between the houses until you arrive at the bottom of the village meeting places of Piccolo Mondo Antico: the walnut trees, the Muzzaglio pastures, the tiny cemetery of Looch where is buried Luisa’s mother.

Returning to the cobbled avenue, take the path on the left and in twenty minutes you can arrive at the lake.

The Valsolda of Piccolo Mondo Antico

In Valsolda autumn is the best time to soaking in warm colors and in the alleys of Piccolo Mondo Antico, the novel by Antonio Fogazzaro that has made popular this fabulous land.

Leaving the car over the Oria cemetery down to the lake among the oleanders, broom and red creeper to enjoy the panorama below with the Church and the shore of Lake Lugano.
In a short time we are in the churchyard of the Church of S. Sebastiano in front of Villa Fogazzaro, today FAI heritage.

Entering into the alleys comes to life the atmosphere of the novel as you find yourself in front of the corners and the buildings so well described by Fogazzaro: the dock, the steep street of the Tomato, the hanging garden, the red house of the bookies, the landing, the home of the Marquis Bianchi, the garden with maritime pine that stands gigantic in the sky.

From the churchyard you can see over the whole lake Lugano. On the southside of the village of Osteno with waterfalls Rescia and quarry stones and on the right Monte San Salvatore and the high mountains of Carona.

In the cemetery there is the family tomb of Fogazzaro.

Beyond the cemetery continue along the cobbled street to get to the Church of Albogasio and from there, taking the staircase called “the Calcinera”, stands the Church of Santa Maria Annunciata to admire the frescoes by Giovanni Battista Pozzo.

In the landscape towards the mountain are set the homes of people of Piccolo Mondo Antico: the house with porch of the Podesta building of the Seventeenth century, Villa Affaitati Salve of the Austrian official Pasotti which is a scale reconstruction of the Royal Villa in Warsaw on the Vistula river, the trail that climbs the mountain Boglia and Colma Director.


The earth of Valsolda extends among Porlezza and the border between Italy and Switzerland. It offer an entirely view of Lake Lugano.

The Valsolda is a green amphitheatre facing south with the Mediterranean climate with olive trees, cypresses and laurels.

On the lakeside we find the villages of Oria, Albogasio, San Mamete and Cressogno.
Upstream through woods and meadows there are the villages of Castello, Loggio, Drano, Puria and Dasio.

The natural and historical beauties attract in these places hikers and lovers of mountain bike rides.

On the opposite shore of the lake, but always part of the municipality of Valsolda, there is the village of Santa Margherita reachable only by boat. From here started the funicular to Lanzo Intelvi.

For nature lovers the Valsolda Nature Reserve is a point of considerable interest.
The southern part of the Nature Reserve is equipped with rest areas and is available both for tourism and cultural teaching.

For history lovers there are traces of prehistoric life in Muzzaglio and Camporgna, Roman finds in Castello and Albogasio, remains of medieval defensive structures in the historic centers of towns.

The most valuable works of Valsolda are made in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth century by local artists: sculptors, decorators, plasterers, painters and architects emigrated across Europe to achieve excellent works.
Not to be missed their works in the local churches and the Pagani museum.

Finally, in these places you can breathe the atmosphere of the works of Fogazzaro. In particular the novel “Piccolo Mondo Antico” with its views, its narrow streets and the house of Fogazzaro today FAI heritage.


The territory of the municipality of Porlezza is located at the Swiss border, the nerve center of transit between Lugano and the center of Lake Como. It is composed of five villages: Porlezza, Cima, Begna, Tavordo, Agria.

The “porlezzese” was inhabited since ancient times. Proof of this are the two hoards of Gallic coins found in Cima and the roman tombs with grave goods of pottery and terracotta.

With the spread of Christianity, it became “Capo Pieve” including Osteno, Carlazzo, Val Rezzo, Val Cavargna. With Valsolda, Porlezza was included in the diocese of Milan.
During the “ten-year war” between Como and Milan, Porlezza was part of Milan.
The Milanese, setting up a naval base armed with shipyards for the construction and maintenance of naval vessels.
To this period belong the fortifications of the village still legible in its city plan.

The Porlezza town is full of great architectural value.
The parish church of San Vittore had baroque style with a nineteenth century facade and the interior is rich of frescoes and stucco decorations.
The Oratory of Santa Marta is full of stucco and frescoes of the eighteenth century.
The oratory of Our Lady of Miracles is octagonal with paintings by Giulio Quaglio and Pietro Antonio Pozzi.
The Oratory of San Rocco is perched on the slopes of Mount Colmen built to vote during a cholera epidemic.
The Romanesque chapel of St. Maurice at the foot of Mount Galbiga was unearthed after being buried by a landslide.

Porlezza originate famous families of the sixteenth century artists….
The Door: Gian Giacomo Della Porta worked as a sculptor and architect of the Duomo of Milan and the Certosa di Pavia; Giacomo Della Porta was called to turn Domenico Fontana with the dome of St. Peter on the drawing by Michelangelo.
The Sanmichele: known military engineers who built fortresses in Piemonte, the Papal States and Dalmazia.

The ancient land of Porlezza economy was primarily agricultural.
In the eighteenth century it developed the silk industry and were active two glassworks.
Since 1885, for about 50 years Porlezza was the terminus of the narrow gauge railway Menaggio-Porlezza carrying passengers, tourists and workers, but also the wood of Mount Galbiga and ice of the lake of the Plan to the hotels of Tremezzina.

This territory, thanks to the proximity of Switzerland and the natural attractions of the surrounding environment, in recent years has had a significant tourist and economic development.

Tour of Northern Italy Lakes: Lake Lugano

Lugano Lake or Lake Ceresio is surrounded by rocky slopes of up to a thousand meters, most extend in Swiss territory.

On the Italian side: Porlezza destination of Italian and foreign tourists; Valsolda where Fogazzaro located his masterpiece “Piccolo Mondo Antico”.

Going beyond Switzerland borders and there is the elegant international Lugano city with its beautiful park Ciani near the lake, high fashion shopping in the living room of Via Nassa, the Casino Lugano and many luxury hotels

Campione d’Italia, the country entirely surrounded by Swiss territory has a nice lakeside promenade and the modern casino.

Tour of Northern Italy Lakes continues…