The ancient village of Carmine Superiore
How to get
By train: the nearest station is Verbania Pallanza. From here you can get a bus to Intra and then another to Carmine Inferiore.
Carmine Superiore is a beautifully preserved village of medieval origin a short distance from Cannobio. It can be reached only on foot, via a pleasant path from the hamlet of Carmine Inferiore below it on the lakeside road.
The village, perched on a rocky spur high above the western shore of Lake Maggiore, comprises a handful of stone houses clustered round the church of St Gotthard (14th century), from where there is a stunning view over the lake and the mountains of Lombardy.
The surrounding environment is a fitting context for the medieval village, with its characteristic terraces supported by dry stone walls, the last vestiges of the ancient vineyards which once vied with the pervasive chestnut trees for possession of the steep terrain.
The robust structure and the layout of the buildings is typical of a medieval “ricetto” or fortified village, which on this natural rock balcony offered an excellent system of defence. Carmine Superiore was founded exactly for this purpose around the year 1000: to defend the access road to Cannobio and to give refuge to the people living below the village when danger threatened.
Once densely populated, Carmine Superiore was gradually abandoned towards the end of the 20th century. However, recent years have seen a return of people happy to live in this alluring place, mostly visitors and the descendents of former inhabitants.