The path starts from the village of Mergozzo and its lake that thanks to the lack of industry, the prohibition of the use of motor boats and a proper management of the sewerage system, make the waters of this basin are among the cleanest in Italy. In the central square of the village, we can admire the ancient secular Elm, which according to some historical documents, was already in the square of Mergozzo in 1600 and now, completely hollow, is awarded the title of monumental tree of Piedmont.
Before going back up the path we can admire among the ancient alleys of the village with its houses leaning against each other, the small church of Santa Marta, the Civic Archaeological Museum and the Parish Church of Beata Vergine Assunta. A short paved path leads us to the beginning of a steep staircase in the historic center, in the locality “al sasso” where stands the Church of Santa Elisabetta that we pass to begin the path..
Take the road to the left of the church and start to climb the path between the houses following the signs Sentiero Azzurro. Just outside the village we meet the first fountain. This was the ancient road of the stonecutters of Mergozzo who used to walk along it every day to reach the quarries on the other side of the mountain when the activity of stone extraction was flourishing. The path develops a few tens of meters above the lake along the eastern side of Mount Orfano. Walking along the beautiful paved path, you will find on the right a spring with a basin to collect water: called the source of Munaste.
Along the way, which runs parallel to the railway following the shores of the lake, there are some wooden benches that allow a panoramic stop.
So we find ourselves at the end of the mule track and, once reached the asphalted road, we go up to the village of San Giovanni Montorfano.
This is a village of few houses in which stands a Romanesque church built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries and dedicated to the Baptist. The church, as we can admire it today, has a Latin cross plan, the only example in the area, and an octagonal lantern.
From here it is possible to go up to the top of Monte Orfano (mt. 794) and through a wonderful ring-route with beautiful panoramas on the lakes Orta, Maggiore and Mergozzo, go down to the village or take the path just done and come back to the village.
Trail type: asphalt, paved, dirt
Water: Throughout the route and in the village of San Giovanni Montorfano