VIVERONE LAKE: BETWEEN IVREA, BIELLA AND VERCELLI, A COAST BETWEEN THE PRECIOUS “ERBALUCE” (*) HILLS. CALM AND SERENITY, FAR FROM EVERYDAY ANXIETY -->
Above: lakeshore walk in Viverone. The recent arrangement looks well-made, both in terms of project and realization. It invites to enjoy the lake waters’ calm, and the gentleness of the falls cultivated with Erbaluce grapes. The whole appears extremely relaxing.
Here above: a small rustic church on a dug up track, with a porch and a coloured statue of saint inside a niche into the facade.
Wright: a strange construction stands out at the core of the meadow next to Viverone Lakeside’s landing stages: a House-Church with sundial, of unusual look.
In an atmosphere of the past, little is left today of the gold age, when beaches were mobbed by swarms of Olivetti’s workers, in lidos equal to the ones become legendary in the town, signed by the greatest age architects, in which Ivrea’s entrepreneurship of the ‘60s produced advanced technology in vanguard design. At that time, workers’ holidays were sober but with the inkling of a new wellbeing coming, never known in those places before. Today, around the peaceful small lake’s shores, a new-style wine growing is on the scene, in the pursuit of a grapevine that is gaininga lot of interest: the Erbaluce.
Here on the left:
A news kiosk along the walk promotes the local wine production, constituted by Erbaluce, harvested and ready to be tasted in the neighboring wine cellars (social cellar of Piverone, in front of Viverone lake, Caluso's Erbaluce DOC Favaro Cellars, Erbaluce Passito by Pastoris Massimo in Viverone, Viale di Pianezza DOCG Cellar).
We visited Viverone lake following an interested but not particularly enthusiastic invitation of a friend from Novara, after a long time spent waiting for a day that could look favourable, not particularly convinced about the trip.
Looking at the touring map 1:200 the lake looks almost circular, like it was a volcanic lake similar to the ones in central Italy, little similar to the big lakes in our northern provinces' panoramas. And it's so small, even if it's part of a triad of even smaller lakes, together with Candia lake, in Caluso, at South-East, and Bertignano lake, at North-East, so small that I wouldn't even have discovered it on the map without using a magnifying glass.
The original idea of visiting all three of them in one time has decayed because Viverone lake has pleasantly welcomed us all day long, taking away the time for visiting its smaller brothers. In fact, it appears really beautiful in its hill setting, with vineyards coming down towards its basin, nice and pleasant, touched lightly by the lukewarm half-morning sun.
From Viverone's built-up area we went down to the Lido, the only welcoming spot in the remaining verdant nature of its shores, quiet impervious because of beds of reeds and uncultivated shores.
The Lido seems to be careful to the needs of the ones who don't want to swim and, least of all, go fishing or practicing a nautical sport: a beautiful and wide public walk welcomes the visitor captured more by the surrounding vineyards than by the lake elements, such as small equipped beaches, small bars, modest eating houses, some hotels. That day, the whole was half uninhabited, since it was a midweek and almost summer morning.
A small bar welcomed us in the shade of a big willow tree with a strange construction behind, half small building half church, without any particular aesthetic and artistic value, but original enough to establish a good relation with our curiosity.
This allowed us to spend a couple of hours reading the newspaper, chatting with some children who were playing with an improvised craft, getting an aperitif.
Up ahead, a beautiful walk along unknown shores, equipped with furnishings of recent look, some piers where numerous small boats are docked, many of them made out of plastic, a few of wood.
Here and there, some small beaches with free access, some benches and some broken chairs abandoned on the waterline.
Then again, Marinella Lido, which seems the largest and best organized one, with a bar and a small restaurant, some small hotels, without trace of human being, even if you look a bit around.
We decided to use the car to try going around the lake, which wasn't even easy to find since every pedestrian street looked immediately impassable.
After some minutes we arrived to an area that appeared recently realized, constituted by small terraced houses, with a small private access to the lake and to the piers full of small boats.
Couldn't they be second houses belonging to Ivrea's people, lovers of navigation? Or owned by Biella and Novara's inhabitants looking for coolness during the weekend? We doubt wether those little houses could appeal people coming from farther away.
Here above: another panoramic view of the equipped Lakeside in Viverone.
Higher above: various images of the small realities of lidos, hotel and small bars. Going around the lake, you can see a small rustic church on a dug up track, with a porch and a coloured statue of saint inside a niche on the facade.
Anyhow we found, between the meadows, the small street that allowed us to reach Azeglio, and then the way to come back to Viverone. Along the track, a small rustic church from the late 16th century, with a porch and a statue of saint on the facade. And there, a perfect place for a packed breakfast and a serene nap. Another couple of hours without seeing a person passing by.
Well, we convinced ourselves that it's always a pleasure when you discover new Italian corners, and you didn't even know about their existence before. Even a day like this could be considered a small vacation; and it's way better than a day in an over-visited museum, that can definitely wait till a less crowded period. A peaceful day leaving your mind free to think, and maybe even to dream.
Viverone, June 2010
Enrico Mercatali (review and photos)
(dedicated to Eli F.)
(translation from italian by Penelope Mirotti)