04 Ott Cities and surrounding areas
Awaiting tourists and lovers of art, culture and nature, after an abundant and healthy breakfast at our inn, there is the visit of the town of Vigevano surrounded by the woods of the Ticino Park, just a short distance from our B&B and only 30 kilometres from Milan.
What to see in Vigevano
The harmony of the renowned Piazza Ducale, “a symphony on fours sides”, as defined by the great master Arturo Toscanini. Based on the idea of Bramante with the contribution of Leonardo da Vinci, Piazza Ducale is an honorary entrance to the impressive castle, which, by extension, is one of the largest in Europe. Also in the heart of the historical centre of Vigevano are the must-see locations such as the Castle built under Luchino Visconti with stables, the “maschio”, the falconry cage, the Loggia delle dame, the tower and the Covered street that connected the castle to the Old Fortress; the streets of the centre that follow the profile of the ancient walls, the “terragi” and the roggia Mora and lastly the Museo della Calzatura/Shoe Museum with the “pianella di Beatrice d’Este”.
Newly inaugurated, Leonardiana is the new museum, the only one in the world where enthusiasts can admire all of the works, vast and varied, of the great genius of humanity, Leonardo, who stayed in Vigevano as the superintendent of water under Ludovico il Moro and as a member of the court of Ludovico and Beatrice who appreciated his artistic, scientific and mathematical skills.
Sports and nature in the Ticino Park
With canals and the Ticino river running through it, Vigevano is also the city of water, offering charming views and natural oases. The Ticino Park was founded in 1974 for the environmental protection of the Lombard territory along the Ticino river. Being rich in nature, scenery, art and history, in 2002 the Ticino Valley was recognised by UNESCO as a Biosphere reserve.
Uncontaminated woods, roads and paths that travel along waterways and rice fields, only interrupted by rows of Poplars and cascine. Anyone wishing to enjoy a weekend of wellness, in a green lung only 30 kilometres away from Milan, can also avail of the bicycles provided by our B&B. The Park can also be explored by boat, on foot or jogging, by canoe or rafting along the Ticino.
Of the itineraries that leave from Vigevano, there is the Ronchi Loop, the Sforzesca location featuring Villa Crespi, the irrigation works designed by Leonardo and many historical rural homes called “cascine”, such as Cascina Portalupa, one of the most beautiful and historical of the entire Lomellina area.
Another itinerary is the one referred to as ‘the 8 cascine loop’, where you can see eight rural settlements, with their closed-, semi-closed or fenced court architecture, reminiscent of the typical rural architecture of the Lombard plains. For nature lovers, the butterfly loop extends along a path in steps, where various habitats have been reproduced, home to various species of butterflies. In the Park it is not difficult to find wild hare and rabbit, boar and roe deer tracks and see herons and birds of prey, including the rare marsh harrier.
A prime observation point is the Oasi Bosco del Vignolo /Vignolo Wood Oasis, near Garlasco, run by LIPU. Also nestled in the Ticino Park, but upstream of the bridge on the river, there is also the Enel Ludovico il Moro hydroelectric plant, a Liberty-style gem that still provides hydroelectric energy today using the force of the water’s 18 m plunge to the river (visits to the plant are free upon booking).