Published on: 21 March 2013 | Last updated: 9 February 2018
This ride takes you on quiet roads in the hills between the Lago d’Orta and the Lago Maggiore. Great views over both lakes. Plus, a short detour, takes you into the village of Pisogno with its collection of murals.
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At Gignese is the Museo dell’Ombrello e del Parasole. In the past, poverty forced many men to become itinerant artisans. Areas often seemed to specialise in particular crafts - in this area the speciality was making and repairing umbrellas and parasols.
It was a tough life: on New Year’s Day boys as young as seven or eight would be entrusted to an umbrella-maker to learn the trade and they would be on the road all year, only coming home for a few days at Christmas. One researcher has traced 180 dynasties of umbrella-makers originating from the Gignese area - some as far afield as San Francisco, New York and Sidney.
The inscription reads:
“In memory of all the umbrella-makers who, every first of January took to the road armed only with their hopes and who with their sacrifice paved the way for the better times for the generations to come.”
Below that is a phrase in dialect which says ‘on the New Year’s Day to Carpignino without a penny’, to find the boss.
See the museum’s web pages for opening times.
There’s a good restaurant at Gignese: the Locanda Verbena. They also have B&B.