Domodossola (Dòm in Ossola dialect, Döm in Walser, Ël Dòm in Piedmontese) is an Italian town of 18 020 inhabitants in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in Piedmont. The city is the main center of the Ossola valley and is located in the plain of the Toce river, at the confluence of the Bognanco valley, the Divedro valley, the Antigorio-Formazza valley, the Isorno valley and the Vigezzo valley.


Monuments and places of interest

Piazza Mercato and the historic centre

Symbol of the city, Piazza Mercato is characterized by its fifteenth-century porticoes supporting the manor houses with balconies and loggias from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The capitals of the columns, which support mismatched Romanesque and Gothic arches, are finely sculpted and the heads bear the coats of arms of the Ossola families, including the De Rodis, Silva, Da Ponte and Ferrari families. In the center of the square stood the ancient fourteenth-century Palazzo del Comune, demolished in 1805 to open the Napoleonic road of the Sempione. On the northern side there was also the palace of the bishop-count with its tower, while on the south the Galletti Theater still stands today. The concession of the weekly market to the village of Domodossola, according to the plaque placed in the square in 1891, would have been made by Berengario I on 19 December 917. In reality, the original diploma has been altered: it is certain, however, that the market is very old, probably already present at the time of the Leponzi.

Of particular interest is also via Briona, dominated by the fourteenth-century tower of the bishop's palace, which, starting from piazza Mercato, served as an access road for the main transalpine passes. Enclosed between houses with stone roofs and appreciated for the balconies supported by caryatids, it was the street of the merchants, through which the Swiss stagecoach of the Sempione also passed.

Few traces remain of the ancient pentagonal walls, which already surrounded the village of Domodossola from the early 1300s. The main nucleus of the walls was the castle (located near the current Piazza Tibaldi), the Castrum novum already mentioned in parchments of 1001 and 1007, which was demolished in 1804 to open the Napoleonic road of the Sempione. Today the remains of a corner tower joined to the walls on via Facchinetti and the Torretta are still visible, a fine example of a tower in local beola, to which the portico and roof were added in the mid-19th century.

Among the oldest districts of the village is La Motta (that is: mound, mound), probably so called due to the deposits of debris due to the flooding of the Bogna stream. In via Carina it is possible to admire houses with larch balconies, evidence of the Walser influence, while the fulcrum of the neighborhood is Piazza Fontana, with the octagonal fountain and a small obelisk in the centre. Larger obelisk, coming from an ancient cemetery, occupies the central position in Piazza Chiossi. Finally, the pointed arch with dark and white stripes of Vicolo Andromia is characteristic.


Religious architecture

Collegiate Church of Saints Gervasio and Protasio: a national monument, the church of Saints Gervasio and Protasio was rebuilt between 1792 and 1798 to a design by the royal architect Matteo Zucchi, starting from a pre-existing church dating back to the 15th century.
Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve: the Sanctuary dates back to the 17th century and in the atrium there is a fresco, painted by Carlo Mellerio in 1674, dedicated precisely to the miracle of the summer snowfall on the Esquiline hill in Rome. The Church, damaged several times by the Bogna stream in the past, preserves numerous valuable frescoes inside. These include the painting Marriage of the Virgin attributed to the Florentine painter Luigi Reali and the gilded and painted wooden altarpiece (which contains the fourteenth-century fresco of the Madonna and Child), by Francesco de Tatti.
The small church of San Quirico dates back to the 11th century and is one of the oldest in the Val d'Ossola.
In the hamlet of Vagna, the church of San Brizio with a medieval bell tower and valuable works of art inside


Civil architecture

Silva Palace
A national monument, Palazzo Silva was restructured, starting from a pre-existing fourteenth-century noble residence, around 1519 by the leader Paolo della Silva, a nobleman in the service of Francis I of France. It is one of the best examples of a Renaissance patrician house in the subalpine region. In 1882 the building was purchased by the Galletti Foundation and subsequently sold to the Municipality. It is now the seat of the Palazzo Silva Museum: in large noble furnished rooms it houses wooden sculptures, marble coats of arms, Etruscan and Roman finds, engravings, fragments of Egyptian mummies, paintings from the 16th to the 18th century, Ossola costumes and armor.

Mellerio Palace
It owes its name to Count Giacomo Mellerio (1777-1847), Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In 1816, the count, a great benefactor, entrusted the construction of the building to his brother-in-law, the architect Gian Luca della Somaglia, with the intention of turning it into a high school complex. Inaugurated on 5 November 1818, Mellerio founded the first gymnasium in Ossola in this building. In 1837 the count gave the palace and the direction of the gymnasium to the abbot Antonio Rosmini, who added a boarding school. In 1874, when the schools and boarding school moved to the new Mellerio-Rosmini college, opposite the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve, the building was sold to the municipality. On the façade there is still the Mellerio medallion and a bas-relief by Rosmini. The building, which also housed the District Court, is now the seat of the Municipal Police and municipal offices.

San Francesco Palace
Built on the plan of an earlier church (dating back to the end of the 13th century), it was purchased in 1884 by the Galletti Foundation, which gathered its collections there. Thus was born the first part of what would become the Museum of Palazzo San Francesco. Subsequently sold to the Municipality, the restoration works are nearing completion. Now only the ground floor can be visited with a collection of paintings by painters from Vigezzo.

Mellerio-Rosmini College
Dedicated to Blessed Antonio Rosmini, it stands in front of the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve. The college, designed by the Ticino architect Ghezzi, was inaugurated on 29 September 1874. It contains a very rich library (about 60,000 volumes) and houses the Museum of Natural Sciences, which can be visited upon request. The geophysical observatory erected in 1876 is annexed to the college.

City Palace
Designed by the architect Giovanni Leoni of Turin and recently restored, it was built in 1847. In 1944 it was the seat of the Provisional Government Council of the partisan Republic of Ossola: nowadays the municipal council meets in the Historical Hall of the Resistance. In the internal courtyard of the building there is a plaque, which recalls the conferment of the gold medal for military valor, conferred on the Val d'Ossola in September 1945, for the resistance events culminating in the significant episode of the liberated area. In 1899, the monument was placed in front of the building, the work of Francesco Ricci (sculptor from Vigezzo) dedicated to Gian Giacomo Galletti, the city's benefactor, whose legacy gave birth to the Galletti Foundation.

International station
The station was built when Domodossola entered into a railway connection with Novara in 1888. The major expansion, designed by the architect Luigi Boffi of Milan, took place in 1906, with the opening of the Sempione tunnel. The stringcourse frame in Baveno granite and the three finials, which rise respectively in the center (tricuspidate) and at the ends (monocuspidate) of the body of the building, surmounted by flagpoles which give considerable prominence to the imposing structure.

In the footsteps of Geo Chavez
Thanks to the Italian-Swiss Interreg project "Geo Chavez, only one of many", financed on the occasion of the centenary (2010) of the flight of the Alps, it is possible to retrace what was the historic feat of the Peruvian aviator Jorge Chávez Dartnell. On 23 September 1910 he took part in the Grand Prix of the Crossing of the Alps: he departed from Brig, flew over the Simplon pass and reached Domodossola, becoming the first flier of the Alps; the aircraft, however, collapsed on landing. Seriously injured, the pilot died in the San Biagio hospital a few days later. With the intention of recalling the memory of this heroic enterprise, this project was born, which, in addition to including various cultural initiatives (exhibitions, demonstrations, theatrical performances) that had already taken place, envisaged the creation of three main works:
redevelopment of Piazza Chavez in Domodossola with restoration of the stone and the monument dedicated to him;
creation of a museum display case in the courtyard of the "L. Milani" elementary school in Via Rosmini, containing a reconstruction of the Blériot XI used by Chavez with the original wing and some pieces of history of the local transport system: the old Sempione, a sled, a car and a bicycle;
realization of a Contemporary Art itinerary of 13 works, by international artists, along the 50 kilometers of the Via del Sempione, between Domodossola and Briga. Of these works, four are located in the city: Flying Dream by Uli Wirz (near Palazzo San Francesco), A Dream by Kaarina Kaikkonen (Piazza Cavour), To the one who is on his knife (Icaro Chavez) by Marco Magrini (Via Guelfi ) and En plein air by Mario Airò (inside the Town Hall).
Even an area of the Sempion Museum is entirely dedicated to the aviator.

The Sacred Mount Calvary
The Sacred Mount Calvary of Domodossola was built in 1657 by the will of the Capuchin friars Gioacchino da Cassano and Andrea da Rho. In 2003 this extraordinary monumental complex was included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List together with six other Piedmontese Sacri Monti. The Sacro Monte di Domodossola is cared for by the Rosminian fathers.


Getting here

By train
All trains, including long-distance trains, stop at Domodossola station as a border station.

By bus
The Domodossola bus station is opposite the main entrance of the train station, a little further south on the same street. Comazzi and VCO trasporti buses run there, among others.



1 Market Every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. there is a street market in the village, with regional products (salami, cheese, vegetables, etc.) but also clothing.



1 Elena, Via Beltrami, 13, 28845 Domodossola. Tel: +39 0324 248534. Italian restaurant. Open: Wed + Thu 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. + 4.30 p.m. – 1 a.m., Fri 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. + 4.30 p.m. – 2 a.m., Sat 8 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sun 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. + 4.30 p.m.
2 Trattoria La Motta, Piazza Fontana, 16, 28845 Domodossola. Tel: +39 0324 481041. Italian restaurant, reservations recommended.



Bianco Roberto, Corso Paolo Ferraris, 53, 28845 Domodossola. Tel: +39 0324 243668.



Average prices
Eurossola Hotel Restaurant, Piazza G. Matteotti, 36, ☎ +39 0324 481326.
Hotel Domodossola, Via Giovanni XXIII, 93, ☎ +39 0324 260788.
Hotel Corona, Via Guglielmo Marconi, 8, ☎ +39 0324 242114.
B&B Dolce Casa, Via Guglielmo Marconi, 13, ☎ +39 347 652 8323.
B&B Villa Moro, Borgata Baceno, 50, ☎ +39 340 523 7069.



The city lies on the dejection fan of the Bogna stream, which extends between the hamlet of Mocogna and Sacro Monte Calvario, occupying the middle portion of the Toce river basin. The municipal area extends between 238 m s.l.m. and the 2,635 m s.l.m., for a total of 59.9 km².



The climate is alpine with cold winters and mild summers.

Origins of the name
The Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy (2nd century AD) is the first to mention the city as the probable capital of the Leponzi, calling it Oksela Lepontiorum. Joannes Georgius Graevius, in the Thesaurus antiquitatum et historiarum Italiae: Ligurum et Insubrum, seu Genuensium et Mediolanensium published in 1704, identifies Domodossola as Ocella. In the 7th century the Anonymous from Ravenna defines it as civitas and calls it Oxilla. Around the 11th century the city took the name of Domus Oxile, in reference to the presence of the collegiate church. In the 12th century, Burgus Domi and Burgus Domi Ossule appear: the wording village derives from the presence, as well as the collegiate church, also of the castle and the market. The name subsequently changed to Domiossola, Ossola Cathedral (Giovanni Capis), Domo d'Ossola in the nineteenth century and, finally, into the current Domodossola.



From prehistoric times to the twentieth century
The coppellonato boulder in the gardens of the Rosminian Fathers at the Sacro Monte Calvario, together with other artifacts found throughout the Ossola Valley, suggests the presence of inhabitants in the valley since prehistoric times. The Roman road that connected Milan to Verbano passed from Oscella: from here it was possible to cross the Alps reaching the Sempione pass, the Arbola pass or the San Giacomo pass.

The city stood at the intersection of Via Mediolanum-Verbannus, with Via Antronesca which in the Domodossola - Locarno section also took the name of Via del Mercato. It is probably during the reign of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, that the first defense works were formed on the Mattarella hill. The Lombard dominion was very hard, characterized by violence and looting; these are succeeded by the Franks. Charlemagne, generous towards clergy and laity, revitalizes feudalism: many territories are in the possession of the bishop-count of Novara, who built his castle in Oscella (castrum novum, mentioned in 1001). In 1014 the bishop Pietro III the Prudent with a solemn diploma obtained the feudal dominion of Ossola.

The periodic raids of the Vallesani and the bitter fights between Guelphs, mostly in the village, and Ghibellines force the Ossolans to ask for protection from Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of Milan: on March 19, 1381, the deed of dedication. The contract with the Viscontis provided for protection and privileges for the Ossolans, in exchange for a fee of 750 florins per year. The Sforza (1450 - 1535) succeeded the Visconti.

On 9 May 1517 the peace and treaty of Ponte Tresa establishes that Stabio and other lands of Mendrisiotto belong to the twelve Swiss Cantons in exchange for Domodossola. After the fall of Ludovico il Moro, Domodossola underwent the Spanish domination which lasted for two centuries, marked by infighting between the factions, the overflows of the Bogna stream and the plague epidemics. In 1656 the Sacro Monte Calvario was built by Andrea da Rho and Gioachino da Cassano, two Capuchin friars from the convent of Domodossola. After a brief Austrian domination, in 1743 with the Treaty of Worms Ossola passed entirely to the Savoy family.

With Vittorio Emanuele I in 1818 Domodossola became the capital of the province of Ossola, in the Novara division, with a first class head-guard in Domodossola and a second-class head guard in Masera. In 1859, with the enactment of the Rattazzi decree, the province of Ossola was suppressed and the district of Ossola (later the district of Domodossola) was established, as a subdivision of the province of Novara, including the districts of Crodo, S. Maria Maggiore, Bannio and Domodossola.

In 1869, the domese section of the Italian Alpine Club was opened among the first in Italy.

The twentieth century
On 19 May 1906, King Vittorio Emanuele III inaugurated the Simplon tunnel: with this work Domodossola and the whole of Ossola became one of the most important routes for European international traffic. On 23 September 1910, the city was the scene of the tragic landing of Jorge Chávez Dartnell, known as Geo Chávez, the first flyer in the Alps. The Peruvian aviator, who left Brig, flies over the Simplon pass, but the plane is landing in Domodossola, it gives way and falls. Seriously injured, the pilot died at the San Biagio hospital a few days later.


Gradually the prosperity in the valley grows and the industries and hydroelectric plants that offer work and progressively attract migrants in particular from Veneto, Romagna and Calabria increase. The First World War, however, required the sacrifice of human lives, which also cost Ossola dearly.

In 1926 the district of Domodossola was suppressed and the territory assigned to the district of Novara. In 1927, with the suppression of all the Italian districts, the territory remained in the Province of Novara.

During the Second World War the valley did not remain indifferent to the fascist dictatorship. The liberation movements cause Domodossola to become the capital of the partisan republic of Ossola from 10 September to 23 October 1944, which proclaimed itself independent from dictatorial rule during the Resistance. During the 43 days, the liberated territory is managed democratically by the provisional government council, which meets at the Town Hall. The junta is chaired by Ettore Tibaldi and includes, among others, the Milanese Gisella Floreanini, in the role of Assistance Commissioner. Floreanini is thus the first woman to hold government posts in Italy.

In the 1950s - 1960s the city was marked by a constant migratory flow. The migrants, mostly from Calabria, settle in a neighborhood, called by the toponym of Abyssinia. The district then, with the arrival of the Capuchin friars, in particular of Father Michelangelo Falcioni, the spiritual father of the district, is transformed into a Capuchin.

In 1992 Val d'Ossola, Cusio and Verbano split from the province of Novara. Domodossola thus becomes part of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola.



Health facilities
The city hospital is the San Biagio hospital, dating back to before 1245, which constitutes, together with the "Castelli" hospital of Verbania, the Single Multisede Hospital of the ASL VCO.

Institutions, organizations and associations

Domodossola is home to:
of the branch section of the Court of Verbania;
of the provincial offices of sectors III (Mountain Agricultural Policies, Wildlife Protection, Provincial Police) and IV (Public Works, Roads, Cycle Paths);
of the Civil Motorization and the Public Vehicle Register of the Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola

The Domodossola Section of the Alpini has been active since 1923. There are two Gold Medals: Silvestro Curotti (Alpine Partisan Gunner who fell during the War of Liberation at Oira di Nonio on Lake Orta on 3 June 1944) and Attilio Bagnolini (who fell at Passo Mecan (Mai Ceu) on 31 March 1936 during the Ethiopian war).

Blood donors
The municipal section of Domodossola of the Italian Blood Volunteer Association (also known as AVIS Ossolana) is active. The office is located in the SIT halls of the San Biagio hospital.

Bone marrow donors
The D.O.M.O. association is active. (Oxolane bone marrow donors). The office is located in the SIT halls of the San Biagio hospital.

The section of the Italian Alpine Club called SEO-CAI (Ossolan excursion society) is active.

Weapon associations
Various weapon associations are active: the Giovanni Battista Scapaccino section of the National Carabinieri Association with headquarters at the Casa delle Associazioni in via Paolo Silva, the section of the National Association of the State Police with headquarters at the traffic police and the section of the National Association of Financiers of Italy. The headquarters of the latter are located in Geo Chavez Square.




The Association for the development of culture, university studies and research in Verbano Cusio Ossola offers courses in Computer Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Tourism and Chemistry. The headquarters in Domodossola is at the "Collegio Mellerio Rosmini".

The Museum of Palazzo Silva collects wooden works, Etruscan and Roman finds, fragments of Egyptian mummies, engravings, Ossola costumes and weapons.
The Museum of Palazzo San Francesco houses paintings by local painters and a section dedicated to temporary exhibitions.
The Sempion Museum contains a reconstruction of part of the Simplon tunnel, period photographs and numerous other exhibits.
The Natural Sciences Museum of the Mellerio Rosmini College collects animals, insects, plants and minerals.
The historical room of the Resistance, located in the council chamber of the Town Hall, collects period photographs and documents relating to the most emblematic episodes of the Ossola Resistance.
The "Don Carlo Righini" Museum of the Alpine troops from Ossola collects relics and testimonies of the history of the Alpine troops and in particular those from Ossola.

Civic Library "G. Contini"

The RAI TV-film "Forty days of freedom", directed by Leandro Castellani, tells the story of the short-lived partisan Republic of Ossola. Furthermore, in 2005, the film "Buss till Italien" by Swedish director Daniel Lind Lagerlöf was filmed in Domodossola.

The Civico Corpo Musicale, established in 1868, carries out its musical activity led by maestro Giorgio Coppi and by the president Arcangelo Menna.
The Musical Chapel of the Sacro Monte Calvario carries out musical activity, both liturgical and concert, in the sanctuary of the SS. Crucifix at S. Monte and in the Parish of Calice. Established in 1995, it brings together the activities of the Schola Gregoriana del S. Monte Calvario (1995), the Corale di Calice (1974), the Camerata Strumentale di S. Quirico (1989), the Convivio Rinascimentale (1997) and the Chamber Orchestra of the Musical Chapel of S. Monte Calvario in Domodossola (2003).

In mass culture
The city of Domodossola is conventionally associated with the letter "D" in the Italian telephone alphabet. Its use has become famous thanks to Mike Bongiorno who regularly quoted the "D of Domodossola" in his television quizzes, above all The Wheel of Fortune.


Anthropogenic geography

This is the complete list of the villages according to the Municipal Statute of Domodossola:
Alla Fraccia, Andosso, Anzuno, Asparedo, Bacenetto, Baceno, Barro, Campei, Campione, Campoccio Dentro, Campoccio Fuori, Casa delle Rane, Case Lazzaro, Case Pioda, Castanedo, Castelluccio, Cimavilla, Cisore, Corte, Croppo, Crosiggia, Cruppi , Gabi Valle, Maggianigo, Monsignore, Monteossolano, Monticchio, Motto, Motto Mattarella, Piccioni, Prata, Prebletto, Pregliasca, Premone, Quana, Quartero, Rogoledo, Ronchetto, Sacro Monte Calvario, Sala, San Quirico, Tagliaroli, Torcelli, Torre Mattarella , Trontana, Vallesone, Valsorda, Vauza, Zoncalina.

In 1865 the municipality of Domodossola incorporated the former municipality of Cisore, in 1867 that of Calice Ossolano, in 1928 that of Vagna and in 1959 Monteossolano, separating it from the municipality of Bognanco.

Domodossola is the nerve center of the Ossola valley and constitutes the reference point of the Ossola valleys (Anzasca valley, Antrona valley, Bognanco valley, Divedro valley, Antigorio valley, Formazza valley, Isorno valley, and Vigezzo valley).

The economy developed in the past thanks to the secondary sector: iron and steel, mechanical and steel industries dominated the scene throughout the 20th century. In the same years, the construction of dams and hydroelectric plants in the surrounding areas supported industrial development by offering the energy necessary for processing; the existence of hydroelectric plants has provided employment for hundreds of workers in the energy sector. The proximity to Switzerland and the opening of the Simplon tunnel have also given a significant boost to the development of trade.

Currently the role of the secondary is limited, although the stone industry remains both quarrying and processing. Domodossola has in fact taken on a cultural, tourist and commercial vocation in recent years, thanks also to its proximity to places of naturalistic attraction (Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Natural Park, Sacro Monte Calvario di Domodossola, Val Grande National Park) and ski resorts (Domobianca, San Domenico di Varzo).

As far as craftsmanship is concerned, the local manufacturing of wrought iron is important, aimed above all at the production of furniture.



Originally from Pallanzeno, but born in Domodossola is Massimiliano Blardone, who reached the podium 25 times in the Alpine Skiing World Cup. The champion's training place was also the Domobianca domese ski resort. It consists of 12 slopes (1 easy, 7 medium and 4 difficult), a total of 21 km long, which wind along the north-eastern side of Moncucco (1896 m a.s.l.). The ski resort can be reached from the city centre, taking the road up to 1080 m a.s.l. of Alpe Lusentino. One of the local grass skiers, Riccardo Lorenzone, competed for the World Cup. The city is the seat of the provincial committee of the Italian Winter Sports Federation.

Domodossola was the finish line of a stage of the Giro d'Italia twice, the first in 1985, the last in 2006.

The main city stadium, dedicated to the Alpine "Silvestro Curotti", is municipal and has a capacity of 1500 seats. The soccer field in the "Nosere" region and many fractional pitches are also municipal. Domese football club is Juventus Domo.

In attendance is the team from the U.S. Rosmini basketball participating in the DNB championship at the gymnasium of the Giorgio Spezia high school. While the Domodossola basketball team participates in the regional promotion championship.

Table tennis
The TT Ossola 2000 is the sports association of the city which trains and participates in regional and national competitions at the gymnasium of the state middle school (plexus in via Terracini).

Target shooting
In the Nosere area there is the section of the Italian Shooting Union.