Baveno is a quiet little town on the Piedmontese side of Lake Maggiore with bell towers, boats ploughing the water to reach the nearby Borromeo islands, and period villas in the little streets of the town. The church dedicated to Saints Gervaso and Protaso is an interesting part of its artistic heritage. Baveno is one of the lake’s tourist attractions and a point of departure for a great many visits to the area.
It is 11.2 km from Verbania, 94.5 km from Milan and 143km from Torino, in a stunning setting of natural beauty where a great many roads and paths lend themselves to relaxing walks. A fine position overlooking the Borromean Gulf and its islands makes it a tourist destination of not insignificant interest.
Among the most important testimonies to Baveno’s origins are the two ancient Roman grave stones set in the parish church’s facade. One has a description that is almost impossible to make out today, the other is dedicated to the Emperor Claudius.
Not to be missed
The baptistry apparently goes back to Renaissance times but in fact dates back as far as the 5th century.
Externally it looks square but internally corresponds with its original octagonal design, with a dome frescoed around the 16th century and niches that alternate in form between rectangular and semi-circular, built into the thick walls. It also has a high Romanesque vault that is completely frescoed.
Church of St Gervaso and St Protaso
Built around the time of the 9th century and consecrated by the bishop Amidano on 25 July 1345. Rebuilt mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Portico of the Way of the Cross
Next to the Church of St Gervaso and St Protaso, this beautiful colonnade was built with its curved arches in 1839 after the cemetery was moved. Granite columns make it even more beautiful. The chapel of the Sepulchre seems to have been added later to the portico.
In the ancient quarter of Domo this house, dating back to the 18th century, has four floors linked by outside staircases each with a gallery or walkway.
Originally called Villa Clara, the house is in English gothic style and was built in exposed red brick between 1870 and 1872 by the English engineer Charles Henfrey. Inside the park two chapels for Anglican and catholic services. Federico III and Queen Victoria visited this villa, which is not open to the public.
Villa Della Casa
Built in 1875 by Swiss architect Augusto Guidini for the businessman Nicola Della Casa and now called Villa Bionda, it is in typical Swiss style to it with pretty carved balconies. On the main façade is the motto of the owner’s Della Casa company, “Labor Prima Virtus”.
In the hamlet called Oltrefiume is the complex and extremely irregular building, due to the later joining of different parts; the main part dates back to the second half of the 17th century. The villa, originally owned by
Margaritis, was bought by the Mussi family in the 19th century and Giuseppe Mussi, senator and mayor of Milan, lived there until his death in 1904.