The Monte Mesma Nature Reserve stretches above the towns of Ameno and Bolzano Novarese. The top of Mount Mesma offers a splendid view of Lake Orta.
The discovery of urns containing ashes allows us to trace the first human settlements on Mount Mesma back to the period between the 9th and 6th centuries B.C. Celtic and Roman remains were also discovered.
At the beginning of the 12th century, the Commune of Novara built a castle on the peak of the mountain, but in 1358 it was destroyed by the inhabitants of Lortallo and Ameno, who reacted brutally after disputes over the exploitation of pastures. The construction of the monastery was started in 1619 after the disagreements had subsided. The monastery is still standing and open for visitors.
The Church and the Monastery
The church was completed in 1625. It has a projecting façade, a single nave and, above the altar, a large crucifix by Lentignani, a sculptor from Milan. The monastic buildings are located around two 17th-century cloisters with arches resting on granite columns. The ceilings are made of wooden trusses.