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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vogogna -- Cute Town, Great Restaurant, And A Castle!

The town of Vogogna, seen from the Castello di Visconteo.

I had the pleasure of visiting this tiny burg recently. On our way back to Stresa one evening, after a friend's book presentation in Villadossola, we took a secondary road instead of the highway and pondered what and where to eat. Then we reached Vogogna, and Giuseppe recalled a restaurant that he had been to before. We stopped, and what a serendipitous stop it turned out to be. I enjoyed enormously our dinner at Albergo Ristorante Bar Vecchio Borgo.


Vogogna is a comune, town, famous for the Castello di Visconteo, built in 1344 for the bishop of Novara. Another famous building is the Palazzo Pretorio (shown to the right), a home built for the same bishop. It is so charming, as it is built over an open arch that carriages would have pulled into.  The comune is part of a municipality comprising four frazioni, villages, all with a combined total of less than 2,000 people. The main chiesa, church, is newer, having been built at the start of the 1900s.

Vogogna is a tiny little place for sure... We parked our car in the small parking area just off the main road. From this spot you can see the castle up on the hillside, the church here in the piazza, the dry riverbed, and some little alleys that wind up to the castle. Here are a few photos that I took all from that spot, basically just by turning myself in a circle.






The last photo is of the restaurant. When we arrived they were just opening for dinner, but the room quickly filled up. There are some hotel rooms upstairs and I think those guests also came down to eat. It was difficult to choose from this menu as there were so many things I wanted to try. Finally I settled on an insalata di gamberi, a shrimp salad, as my primo. This was a cold plate of medium-sized shrimp, mixed in a sauce that reminded me of Russian dressing (but sooo much better), served on a bed of very fresh greens. Giuseppe chose an insalata di polpo, octopus. My secondo wasn't as difficult a decision. I wanted the risotto del giorno as soon as the waitress said it: Risotto con gamberi e arancia. Risotto with shrimp and oranges! What an incredibly fresh and new combination! We both ordered it and devoured it. We washed all this down with a half carafe of the house white wine. The service was friendly, the ambiance Old-World wonderful, and the night was lovely. Here's the interior, and our dishes:





Vogogna is only reachable by car, but is an easy drive of 30 minutes or so from Stresa, making it, the castle, and Vecchio Borgo a wonderful little day excursion.  In the summer it's also one of the venues of the Stresa Festival.

Here's where Vogogna is:


Vecchio Borgo
Piazza Chiesa, 7, 28805 Vogogna (VB)
Phone: (+39) 0324 87504
Closed Tuesdays 



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