You can reach the ancient hermitage both by car (2 km from Leggiuno) and by ferry from Laveno or Stresa.
Considered one of the most beautiful sites of Lake Maggiore, the whole complex was erected on an rocky spur inaccessible but by boat, at the foot of a steep crag around 70 m high (and 17 m above the water surface). Only at the end of the 16th century a path via land was realized; from 2011 an ultramodern lift can reach the hermitage from the restored buildings above in a few seconds.
According to the tradition the site was first inhabited by a rich merchant, Alberto Besozzi, who in 1170 had escaped death by miracle under a violent storm right as he was crossing the lake. All the rest of the company died and the merchant decided to be thankful to the Holy Virgin retiring himself for life on the rocky spur that was facing the spot of the shipwreck.
In the course of centuries the original little church dedicated to saint Catherine was flanked by other two churches and a little convent that remained active until the 18th century.
The view of Lake Maggiore that you can enjoy from the Eremo, with the towns of Stresa, Baveno and with the Isola Madre, is absolutely breathtaking! You’ll also uncover some precious fresco paintings dating back to the late middle ages.
The atmosphere of silence and meditation you breath at the hermitage is really enchanting and leaves always a strong sense of wonder.