(20 min. by car from Orta)
Borgomanero (20 000 inhabitants) is a bustling town, just a few kilometers south of Lake Orta with medieval origins as a free market village.
The historic centre has recently been restored and embellished: you can enjoy long pedestrianised streets filled with an eclectic mix of shops and local restaurants and bars which bisect at the central piazza Martiri, pulsing heart of the town and meeting point of the two principle roads.
A special touch of elegance is given to the central square by the imposing façade of the parish church of S. Bartolomeo, whose rich decorations in brick and clear plaster are quite unique in this area. Inside, many precious works of art like the beautiful carved wooden canopy above the altar (17th century).
A leisurely walk through the centre will give you the opportunity to appreciate a little gem that has not yet found its way onto the tourist maps. One can also relax in the little public garden surrounding Villa Marazza, an ancient, elegant building hosting the Public Library (with a rich collection of ancient books), donated by the well-known lawyer and politician Achille Marazza. Near the villa lies the medieval little church of San Leonardo (12th century), vibrant inside with colourful mural paintings: the first name of Borgomanero was, in fact, Borgo San Leonardo.
A couple of kilometers away from Borgomanero lies the ancient Baptistery of Cureggio, one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings (12th century) in this area.