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Discovering the villages of Valsolda and Villa Fogazzaro

The Valsolda is a place rich in treasures for all those who love natural landscapes, history, literature and art. Villa Fogazzaro Roi, located in the village of Oria, is an artistic and literary testimony of rare charm and great beauty.

Villa Fogazzaro Roi, owned by FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) is located in Oria, a small village on the shores of Lake Lugano, in Valsolda.

The Valsolda is a place rich in treasures for all those who love natural landscapes, nature, history, literature and art. Sunny from morning to evening and protected to the north by a barrier of mountains, the Valsolda looks like a green and open valley dominated by a mountain wall. Seen from the lake, it offers a panorama of rare beauty: the majestic Dolomite cliffs dominate the top, while the colourful villages and lush woods that stretch from the shores stand out on a scale along the slope.

The valley is a semicircular amphitheatre open in the centre towards Lake Ceresio, with a wooded heritage and rich fauna testified by the presence of the Valsolda Nature Reserve which occupies an area of 318 hectares, 90 of which constitute a nature reserve rich in equipped paths and rest areas, ideal for organizing nature excursions.

In Valsolda nature is strictly connected with art: from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century, great artists were born here (Pellegrino Tibaldi and the Pozzi brothers from Puria, Paolo Pagani from Castello, Isidoro Affaitati from Albogasio) who enriched Italy and Europe with their works.


Route: Menaggio – Porlezza – Cressogno – Loggio – Puria – Dasio – Castello – S. Mamete – Oria -Albogasio – Menaggio
Distance: 42 km

The route that we suggest to discover the artistic and natural beauties of Valsolda starts from Menaggio and arrives in Oria, where there is the beautiful Villa Fogazzaro Roi and must be followed partly by car and partly on foot.

To reach Cressogno (277 m), the starting point of the route in Valsolda, you must follow the road from Menaggio towards Lugano through Val Menaggio. You reach Porlezza, a small tourist town located on the Italian part of Lake Lugano, and then continue along the lake.

Once in Cressogno, the itinerary begins that from the shore of the lake goes up towards the highest hamlets and goes down again in a ring towards the shore.
We suggest to turn right towards the Santuario della Caravina (built in 1663), with a large churchyard from which you can enjoy a splendid view and inside which there are a series of frescoes from the Baroque period.

Cressogno - Valsolda

Once again on the main road and past Cressogno, keep to the right for Valsolda and, just before entering a tunnel, turn right following the signs for Loggio (370 m), Puria (504 m) and Dasio (580 m). After passing Loggio and the detour to Castello, you reach Puria, where you will find the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta (dome by Pellegrino Tibaldi, frescoes by the Pozzi brothers).

From Puria go up to Dasio, a small village where there is the church of S. Bernadino (frescoes of the early sixteenth century). Descend again at the junction for Castello (451 m) and take the road to the right over the bridge over the Soldo stream. Park your car and take via S. Gonfalonieri to reach the beautiful hamlet perched on a rocky spur.
Castello is a charming hamlet with many alleys, arcades, stairs, ravines, inhabited by only about forty people. There are no shops.

Worthy of note is the church of S. Martino with the vault frescoed by Paolo Pagani (1655-1719), a native painter of the place and active in the European courts. There is also the Pagani Museum with some works by the artist.


Get off the main road again and continue on to S. Mamete, a small village with a small porch square overlooking the lake.
At the beginning of Oria, take the road on the right towards Albogasio Superiore and park your car.

Walk down to the main road and cross it, continuing to the right as soon as you pass the bus stop, follow Via Caravello that leads to the center of Oria (272 m). In the delightful little square that also serves as a churchyard for the church of San Sebastiano, stands the Villa Fogazzaro Roi.

From the churchyard there is a small road that winds its way through porticoes and narrow walls to reach the state road that you cross to visit Albogasio Inferiore. Here you will find the church of Santa Maria Annunciata.

From the church of the Annunciation you can reach Albogasio Superiore (where we left the car) through a mule track, along which there are two monumental buildings (XVI-XVII sec.), the Palazzo delle Colonne and the Palazzo Affaitati (now Villa Salve), last stops before starting the return journey.

Villa Fogazzaro Roi
Villa Fogazzaro

Villa Fogazzaro Roi is located in the enchanting village of Oria, a small village on the Italian shores of Lake Lugano, where the writer Antonio Fogazzaro spent a long time. The Villa that today bears his name, gave Antonio Fogazzaro the inspiration to compose and set Small ancient world, his most famous novel, published in 1896.

The same intimate and domestic atmosphere that frames the story of Franco and Luisa Maironi has remained unchanged thanks to the Marquis Giuseppe Roi, great-grandson of the writer, who in the mid-twentieth century renovated and tastefully rearranged every room before leaving the house as an inheritance to FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano, The National Trust for Italy, to preserve it.

The interiors, the furnishings and the family heirlooms allow us to evoke the nineteenth-century scenarios in which the protagonists of “Little Ancient World” move. Among all noteworthy is Antonio Fogazzaro’s writing desk, which contains numerous handwritten notes written directly on the wood of the drawers, including the date on which it was finished “Little Ancient World” and, above all, the harrowing dedication to his son Mariano, who died of typhus in 1895.

The Villa is made even more suggestive by an enchanting hanging garden overlooking the lake, adorned with hedges and flowering bushes, among which the olea fragrans stands out.

Villa Fogazzaro Roi - Giardino
Villa Fogazzaro Roi - Giardino

Times and Prices – Villa Fogazzaro Roi – 2019
  • 10:00 am6:00 pm, Wednesday to Sunday;
  • Monday and Tuesday open only on public holidays.


  • FAI members: free entrance and guided tour*
  • Adults: entrance € 17,00 (guided tour included)
  • Concessions (6-18 years-old): € 8,00
  • Children up to 5 years: free admission
  • Students up to 25 years old: € 10,00
  • National Trust members*, Bienfaiteurs Amis du Louvre, residents of Valsolda, disabled people with an accompanying person: free admission

*except for specific events in which only the integration of the event will be requested.

The Villa is accessible only with a guided tour and in groups of maximum 15 people. The duration is one hour.

In case of events the price may vary.

For more information write to

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