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Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: Regional Natural Park; established with L.R. March 19, 1984, n. 17.
the Campo dei Fiori Natural Park, located north of Varese, is bordered by Valcuvia (north-north-east) and Valganna (east); it occupies an area of 5,400 hectares along the hilly area of Varese that overlooks the Po Valley, including two important mountain massifs, Campo dei Fiori and Martica. The name of the Flowers in all probability range is due to the remarkable blooms in spring colored the grazed areas. Labbandono of pastoral activity subsequently favored the development of a varied flora, with the alternation of wooded areas, lawns and wetlands.
Campo dei Fiori seen from Lake Varese (photo www.varesefunicolari.org)
The park includes two mountain massifs separated by the Rasa furrow: Campo dei Fiori (1,226 m) and Monte Martica (1,032 m). Campo dei Fiori is a long mountainous half-moon ridge, with the convexity facing east. Harsh in the north, slowly descends south to Varese. It consists of calcareous rocks of marine origin, very fossiliferous, from the Mesozoic era (220 to 100 million years ago) and in layers that descend to the south, while the rugged warheads look north. It is furrowed by numerous suspended valleys and has some peaks and some medium height buttresses (above 1,200 m). From the highest points you can enjoy enchanting views of the plain, the Lombard lakes and the Alpine peaks. From a geophysical point of view, Campo dei Fiori is interesting above all for the karst phenomenon that in this locality has given rise to a large number of caves that enter the mountain both vertically and horizontally. Sometimes they are long tunnels, even with narrow elbows, which suddenly fall into the bowels of the mountain in very deep wells; sometimes they are very high caves divided between them by narrow passages; sometimes still narrow cracks in the rock that leave nothing to guess of the immense caves that hide a few meters further inside. In these caves, paleontological finds have been found and continue today in the calcareous rock strata. In prehistoric times these caves were home to human and animal life.
On the slopes of Campo dei Fiori and Monte Martica, the deciduous forests are dominated by chestnut trees up to 600 m and higher by beech, but also by Scots pine and birch, especially on the arid slopes of Monte Martica. The variety of flora makes it one of the most interesting places on the peninsula from a naturalistic point of view (with rare pre-Alpine plants and about 30 species of wild orchids). There is no shortage of aquatic environments such as the Pàu Majur and Carcc bogs and the Nature Reserve of Lake Ganna and Brinxio.
In the territory of the park there are farmhouses, farmhouses and stables of considerable architectural interest. Of extraordinary monumental interest is the Sacro Monte complex which rises upstream from the city of Varese. It consists of fourteen chapels perfectly inserted in the landscape and built, starting from 1604, by Giuseppe Bernasconi. One of them was frescoed by Morazzone. The way to this sanctuary culminates in a picturesque village of the same name, with enchanting views of the steep lanes and houses leaning against the mountain. There is also a large monumental arch that overlooks the street through which you access the city center and which is also the work of the architect Bernasconi.
Among the sites to visit, we also mention the Rocca di Orino, built in the fifteenth century as a shelter for the population in times of looting and invasions.
Particular attention deserves the Citadel of Science, founded in 1956 in the woods of Campo dei Fiori. The Citadel is an association born to create a point of contact between people and science and for generations it has become a point of reference. The jewel in the crown of the complex is the Schiaparelli Astronomical Observatory, equipped with a system of nine telescopes and always open to the public for visits and guided observations. They are part of the Citadel also Tommaselli Botanical Garden, which includes about 400 species of flowers and plants in the Campo dei Fiori and the Alps of Lombardy, in addition to the Geophysical Center Prealpino, at the forefront of meteorological and seismic research.
Reserve Lake Ganna
Regional Nature Reserve; established with D.C.R. December 19, 1984 n. 1856
The reserve, covering approximately 70 hectares, occupies the lake of the same name and a large part of the surrounding marshy area, in the Municipality of Valganna (VA). Lake Ganna is a small pre-Alpine lake, with a maximum depth of 3 m, fed by the Margorabbia torrent, which forms Lake Ghirla a little further on. The vast surrounding plain is full of peat bogs and marshes partly reclaimed by the tireless work of the Benedictine monks.
View of Lake Varese from Campo dei Fiori (photo www.varesefunicolari.org)
Information for the visit
Headquarters: Via Trieste, 40
21030 Brinzio (VA)