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Unesco between Varese and Canton Ticino

UNESCO
     
A World Heritage Site to discover
Moving from the lake district of Varese toward the middle-southern plain of the province becomes absorbed in a landscape marked by stratified traces of important ages that have characterized its history and prehistory.
From the fossils of the plants and animals of Monte San Giorgio to the traces of the Longobards of Contado del Seprio; from the first pile-dwelling settlement on the Isolino Virginia to the sacred paths of Santa Maria del Monte: traces that sometimes are camouflaged inside the typical moors or still perfectly visible among some breathtaking landscapes. Due to its historical, natural and environmental values they belong to the Worldwide Heritage of Unesco.

Ticino has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Castles of Bellinzona (Cultural Heritage) and the Monte San Giorgio (Natural Heritage) in the region of Mendrisiotto.
DURATION:
4 Days
PLACE:
Varese and Ticino
ADVISED PERIOD:
Summer
TYPE:
Art culture and religion
UNESCO
SUITABLE FOR:
For single
For couples
For families
over 65
DISPLACEMENT:
On foot
By train
By car
By Bike
By boat
DAY 1
DAY 2
DAY 3
DAY 4
A visit to Monte San Giorgio
Discovering a mountain that contains fossils from millions of years ago / A museum that has been renovated and extended by the Ticino-based architect Mario Botta
Monte San Giorgio has officially been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2 July 2003. It stands 1,097 metres tall on the shore of the lake opposite the city of Lugano. Visitors will be surprised by the entrancing views from the top. The different towns in the region are joined together by a network of paths.

Estimated time of visiting: 2 to 3hr
Transfer: travel from Mendrisio to Meride by car or bus
A visit to the Meride Fossil Museum
The Meride Fossil Museum has been renovated and extended by the Ticino-based architect Mario Botta. It contains a collection of fossilized plants and animals found on Monte San Giorgio, which is unmatched by any other site in the world.

Useful Information:
Entrance: CHF 12.00 for adults and 6.00 for children aged 6 to 16
Opening hours: the museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Estimated duration: 1hr
Transfer: by food
 
Lunch
Select a restaurant that best suits you.
A visit to the three castles and the defensive wall: a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The symbol of the capital of Ticino and the pride of the entire Canton
The three castles and the defensive walls of the city of Bellinzona were built in the Middle Ages. The fortifications served to block access to the Ticino Valley from the North and to collect the tolls and control the way to the Gotthard Pass.

Useful Information:
Entrance: the entrance fee for the three castles is 15.00 CHF (Bellinzona Pass)
Opening hours: Castelgrande is open all year round, while the Montebello and Sasso Corbaro castles are open from April to November

Estimated time of visiting: 3hr
Transfer: by train (or car) from Mendrisio to Bellinzona. Castelgrande is a short walk from the station
 
Dinner
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Lodging
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Guided visit to the Monastery of St. Michael in Voltorre
Monastery of St. Michael in Voltorre a Benedictine monastery dating back to XII century. Nowadays the Cloister has become an exhibition site completely restored and open to the public.

Estimated time of visiting: 2hr
Transfer: by car or public transportation
 
Lunch
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Short walk around the lake in Biandronno
The last stretch of path along the western shore, in the municipality of Biandronno. Do not cross the town, it is close to the shore, especially after the landing of Isolino Virginia.
After the lakefront Biandronno, with the porphyry pavement, the bike path over and over on a wooden bridge, the outlet of the lake, or stream Bardello

Estimated time of visiting: 2h and 30min
Transfer: BY CAR from Milan, take the A8 motorway towards Varese. Leave the motorway once arrived to Buguggiate. From Switzerland, get the Ponte Tresa passage towards Varese.
BY TRAIN take Ferrovie Nord or Ferrovie dello Stato towards Laveno and get off at Varese stop. Then take the bus for Biandronno
Visit of isolino Virginia
Excursion based on naturalistic, historical and archeological characteristics to the oldest pile-dwelling settlement built on a small island on the shores of Varese Lake. Since 2011 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Useful Information:
Entrance: €4.00, €3.00 (reduced and groups), €1.00 (schools)
Opening hours: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from April to November: 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.

Estimated time of visiting: 2hr
Transfer: Virginia Islet can be reached in a few minutes, thanks to a small boat leaving from the pier of the lake promenade of Biandronno
 
Dinner
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Lodging
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Guided tour of Sacro Monte Varese
Among the most picturesque routes for the interplay between environment and spirituality, there is the obligatory stop at the Sacro Monte, the nine Sacred Mountains foothills of the Alps of Piedmont and Lombardy recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 2003.

Estimated time of visiting: 3hr
Transfer: WALKING from Velate, Rasa and along the "Via Sacra" (uphill cobblestone promenade of 2,000 meters with 14 stations) from the arc that starts at "First Chapel".

BY BUS using the local line "C" (Tel. 0039 199 153 155) area stations - Moro Course - Via Veratti - Viale Aguggiari.

BY CAR (0 MOTORCYCLE BIKE 0) coming from the center follow the signs straight ahead you enter the town and after a discussion with a first tree in the center at the traffic lights turn right and continue on via Veratti Aguggiari avenue for about 2 km along the road road leading to the Campo dei Fiori passing the hamlets of S. Ambrose, Robarello, Fogliaro, First Chapel.

WITH CABLE CAR (Tel. 0039 0332 225 549), whose departure station can be reached by the First Chapel with the bus or walk (1.5 km)
 
Lunch
Individual lunch at a local typical restaurant.
Visit the historic center of Varese
The distinctive title of Città Giardino comes from numerous parks and gardens that are part of the common, largely appliances therein villas built in the eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, first by noble families and more recently by industrial and representatives of the upper class, originating mainly in Milan.

Estimated time of visiting: 3hr
Transfer: BY TRAIN take Ferrovie Nord or Ferrovie dello Stato towards Laveno and get off at Varese stop. Then take the bus for Biandronno. The old town centre is 10 minutes far by foot or, alternatively, take the bus which goes straight to the town centre.
BY CAR from Milan, take the A8 motorway towards Varese. Leave the motorway once arrived to Varese. From Switzerland, get the Ponte Tresa passage towards Varese
 
Dinner
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Lodging
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Guided visit to the Archeological Park at Castelseprio
In Castelseprio is located the church of Santa Maria “Foris Portas” an authentic jewel of the Longobard-Byzantine art. The building, now deconsecrated, has probably the most ancient pictorial testimony of our area. The unknown artist depicted the story of the Virgin told as the apocryphal gospels.

Estimated time of visiting: 1h and 30min
Transfer: Castelseprio is endowed with buses, connected to trains, at the FS station of Varese and Gallarate. It’s 5 Km far from the Stazione Nord of Tradate. Once arrived to the village, there’s a paved road that links the Archeological Park to the Casa dei Custodi, where there’s plenty to park. From Varese it’s reachable in 20 minutes, taking the A8 motorway, leaving at Solbiate Arno and proceeding towards Carnago.
From Milan, take the A8 motorway, leave once arrived at Busto Arsizio and proceed towards Cairate.
From Switzerland, get the Ponte Tresa passage towards Varese and then follow the signs for Castelseprio
 
Lunch
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Guided visit to the Torba Monastery
The monastery of Torba is located in Gornate Olona, location peat, at the foot of the height on which is situated the archaeological park of Castelseprio. The set is part of the serial site "Lombardia in Italy: places of power", comprising seven places full of architectural, pictorial and sculptural art Lombard, inscribed to the World Heritage List of UNESCO in June 2011.

Estimated time of visiting: 1h and 30min
Trasfer: A8 motorway MI-VA. Leave once arrived to the toll booth at Solbiate Arno and then follow the signs for Castelseprio and Torba.From Switzerland, get the Ponte Tresa passage towards Varese and then follow the signs for Castelseprio
 
Dinner
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