Mottarone - Special Stages


Chris Leustean

A bit throughout Italy there are those streets renowned by the locals, those streets that are practically unknown to those who are not from the area, but for those of the place they are an unmissable destination.

Altitude: approximately 1,400 m
Length: 11km
Armeno (NO) with Monte Mottarone
Google Maps link:

And this is even more so if, in addition to being fantastic to drive, the road also leads to a tourist site… Mottarone is all of this!

Mount Mottarone rises between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, whose tip is almost 1500 meters (1,492 to be exact) and is a destination of tourist interest in many respects. Its position, near the Po Valley, just over an hour from Milan, makes it a very popular destination in the summer, but the presence of ski slopes around its summit means that there is tourism even in the winter .

Panoramicly, the Mottarone, despite its low altitude, offers spectacular views, especially from its tip without vegetation, from which it is possible to see even seven lakes (Orta, Maggiore, Mergozzo, Varese, Monate, Comabbio, Biandronno), in addition to the Po valley, Milan, Monviso and up to the Ligurian Apennines.

To see this view it is necessary to walk up to the summit, which can be done in 10 minutes even for the least fit, starting from the car park located along the road that makes a ring around the summit of Mottarone, a small road a couple of kilometers long which arise various tourist facilities including bars and restaurants.

Mottarone can be reached by two roads. The first, which we will talk about briefly, is a private road, therefore subject to the payment of the toll that goes up from the eastern side (€10 in 2021). Much of the eastern slope of Mottarone is in fact historically owned by the Borromeo family.

The most important road we are talking about, the one that makes this destination famous for driving enthusiasts, is the one that climbs from Armeno (NO). Just over 10 fantastic kilometres, all uphill.

The climb starts right from the center of the municipality of Armeno, after a bottleneck between the houses in the center, take the road that climbs towards Mottarone. The first section is rather narrow, there are a couple of curves with very little visibility and no protection downstream, but going up the roadway widens a bit allowing you to drive more safely. The road surface is in excellent condition even if in some shaded spots it is easy to find damp or slightly dirty asphalt even in the hottest periods.
Along the road you first come across the hamlet of Gheggino (just outside Armeno), then the little church of the Madonna di Luciago and finally the Chapel-Shelter of Cortano. In these three points it is possible to find people and sometimes controls, so care must be taken.
After the Cappella del Cortano the road widens and above all the less dense vegetation gives visibility on the following curves and above all on the fantastic panorama from which Lake Orta is clearly visible to the west and Lake Maggiore to the east.

In our opinion

A destination not to be missed for those in the area, for a simple trip out of town, for a picnic or to let off steam a bit... Be careful at the weekend, it's also a destination for families and motorcyclists, so it's often a busy road.
We recommend that you travel it at unusual times, precisely to avoid traffic, or even at night.

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