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Domodossola is a small town in the Val d'Ossola, surrounded by picturesque mountains in the Alps of north-eastern Piedmont and close to the border with Switzerland.
The highlight of a visit to the town is the charming medieval centre and the attractive arcaded houses to be found here, and the unspoiled medieval ambiance.
Start your visit in the central square, called Piazza Mercato (trans: Market Square), where you can see several of the most noteworthy buildings. The variety of houses around the edges of the square, often different heights, or with balconies, porches and arcades, makes this square very interesting. Note how some of the arches feature carved ornamentation.
Be sure to also follow Via Briona from here to see the 14th century Bishop's Palace.
The most important church here is the Collegiale Church of Santi Gervasio and Protasio, built in the 18th century on the site of an earlier church (although much of the facade except the entrance was only added in the middle of the 20th century). Inside the church are several frescoes and paintings.
You can also see a small part of the medieval Mattarella castle that once stood in the town.
In the Palazzo Silva, dating from the 14th century and designed in the renaissance style, there is now a small museum featuring numerous artefacts of historical importance dating from as far back as the etruescan (pre Roman) era.
Also in Domodossola an important highlight is the Sanctuary of the Crucifix (Sacro Monte Calvario). Note the combined clocktower / belltower then follow the devotional path leading between chapels that represent the Stations of the Cross.
This 17th century baroque style ensemble is now a listed UNESCO heritage site, as part of a group of seven sacred sanctuaries in Piedmont
Mountain scenery around Domodossola
While Domodossola itself is interesting, it is also the surrounding scenery and villages of the Ossola valley that attracts visitors here.
From Domodossola many visitors head to the train station to take the exceptionally scenic train ride towards Locarno (Switzerland). This train passes through a stunning valley, with numerous little stations en-route where you can leave the train and go exploring, and is unmissable if you are in this part of Piedmont.
If you don't have the time (or the funds) for the train be sure to explore some of the countryside in the Ossola Valley and the other valleys in the region of Domodossola, where alpine streams and waterfalls, a mountain backdrop, and pretty forests and fruit orchards combine to make a lovely setting.
Note: photo shows Simplon pass near Domodossola - a mountain pass between the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps in Switzerland
You can find more local travel ideas in the Piedmont guide.