Thorn is a small town in the municipality of Maasgouw, in the Dutch province of Limburg. It lies on the rivers Meuse and Witbeek. It's known as 'the white village' for its white-washed brick houses in the centre of the town. First, the region of Thorn was a swamp nearby the Roman road between Maastricht and Nijmegen. But the region had been drained and about 975, Bishop Ansfried of Utrecht founded a Benedictine nunnery. This monastery developed since the 12th century
into a secular stift or convent.
The principal of the stift was the abbess.
She was assisted by a chapter of at most twenty ladies of the highest nobility.
Previously the abbess and the chapter were endowed with religious tasks but, since the 12th century, they served secular matters and formed the government of a truly sovereign miniature principality, the smallest independent state in the German Holy Roman Empire. Besides Thorn, Ittervoort, Grathem,
Baexem, Stramproy, Ell, Haler and Molenbeersel belonged to this principality.
After the French invasion in the winter of 1794--95 and the formal abolition in 1797 made an end to the existence of the abbey and the principality of Thorn, Thorn was first part of the department of Meuse-Inférieure, and after theCongress of Vienna it became a municipality of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands.
Viggiona, 650 m above sea level, is with Cheglio and Trarego part of the municipality Trarego-Viggiona, located in the Italian province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the region Piemonte and is 19 km from Verbania. Trarego-Viggiona has about 400 inhabitants and covers an area of 18.8 square kilometers. The territory of the municipality lies between 300 and 1814 meters above sea level. The three small villages of Trarego, Viggiona and Cheglio, lie on the green slopes of the Monte Carza (1116 m ) high above Cannero Riviera. Surrounded by meadows and woods, the villages have an enviable panorama over Lake Maggiore. You can explore this ancient rural world via the paths crisscrossing the woods. Look for the ronchi which were typical of the area; the dialect word refers to the terraces south of the villages, where the mild climate made it possible to grow grapes and pasture animals during the winter. Around all the villages you can see the so-called monti or stone buildings where the animals would once be kept in spring and autumn.
There are many pleasant easy walks along old mule tracks and rural lanes, from Trarego and Cheglio down to Cannero, from Viggiona to Cannobio, or rising towards Colle passing the Passo della Piazza where you find the oratorio of Sant'Eurosia. All these routes have splendid panoramic views and many are within easy reach by mountain bike . Who has enough condition can climb the Monte Zeda (2156 m) which faces the Val Grande National Park. The Monte Zeda offers a view across the whole Lago Maggiore, the surrounding mountains. and the smaller lakes of d’Orta, Mergozzo, Varese and Monate. On clear days you see behind the Po plain up to the Ligurian alps and the mountain chain of the Apennines.
For those who love the mountains there are many interesting places offered by the Valle dell'Ossola. Driving for about an hour from Viggiona by car you reach the Monte Rosa (4634 m) above Macugnaga, the nature park of the Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero,the Valli Vigezzo and Formazza, with the spectacular Cascata del Toce.
In the Village Viggiona the so-called "Chiesa vecchia" or "old church" is noteworthy .
The "old church", surrounded by its peaceful cemetery, is a national monument from Roman times (original building from the 14th century, reconstruction in the 16th century) with precious frescoes, which unfortunately cannot be visited. Following the chapels of the Via Crucis you reach the "new church" of Viggiona. The "new" baroque church San Maurizio was consecrated in 1697.
The tiny village of Viggiona, with its narrow lanes just separating the old stone houses, will give you the intriguing atmosphere of an ancient rural settlement. Viggiona has two restaurants and a horse riding school to experience the area with a horse ride.
During the warm season it is magnificently fresh in Viggona because of the height difference between mountains and lake shores: a mild, gentle breeze is always blowing. In the winter time the low humidity rate guarantees clean and dry air and also an increase in sunshine.
That's all folks!
When you leave, please turn
off the light for the environment.
Or are you afraid in the dark?