Lake Viverone – When I drive from Turin heading north, especially in this season, I am always fascinated by the spectacular landscape: the towering and impressive Alps with their peaks covered in snow down almost to their bases, amplifying the winter sunlight. The view is not impeded by any obstacles and the mountains seem so close to me as to be able to reach out and touch them. As I leave the city behind me and approach the provinces of Biella and Vercelli, at the foot of the mountain range my eye meets and lingers on that one hill that extends throughout my visual space from east to west and with an almost constant height: it is the Serra d’Ivrea, a hill of morainic origin, formed by the accumulation of materials brought downstream by a retreating glacier. Today, however, we do not go for a walk on the Serra, even if it is an exceptional activity to discover the territory. Just ask my friend, Macchie, Nordic walking instructor, nature guide, hiking guide and above all a friendly and funny guy!
Instead, today I bring you to explore Viverone Lake, a picturesque lake of morainic origins, included in the moraine amphitheatre of Ivrea. And in particular, we will first discover an aspect that few people, even from the area, know about. This place is of high historical and archaeological interest, since it was here in 1966 that the remains of piles and artefacts in bronze and ceramics were found, testifying to the presence of one or more pile-dwelling villages. The study of the tools as well as of the ceramic findings led to a dating of these lake settlements in the Bronze Age (about 2200 BC – about 1000 BC). It is fascinating to think that from analyzing the artefacts found in these pile-dwelling villages, has emerged a distinct ability of manufacturing and a particular decorative capability, so as to constitute a specific “Culture of Viverone“.
The findings at Lake Viverone were so important that the archaeological area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, registered among the Prehistoric Pile Dwelling Sites of the Alpine Arc, with Mercurago on Lake Maggiore and other locations in Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany and Slovenia. A group of pile dwellings (or stilt-houses) specifically reconstructed gives us the opportunity to know exactly where in the lake this important discovery was made: the stilt houses are not visible from the road and can only be reached on foot … in short, you really have to seek them out. But if you can reach this area, your efforts will certainly be rewarded: you will be greeted by the sounds of pleasant local music and there will be Macchie to offer you a tea or a hot coffee, and a chair from which to admire the unique panorama. An experience within the experience!
The peace you will enjoy here will give you the opportunity to listen to the sounds of the birds and animals that inhabit the lake environment; for the species that make their home here, especially the flora, Lake Viverone is a protected habitat being a designated Site of Community Importance.
This beautiful lake is really the ideal place for a holiday in close contact with nature and offers many possibilities for sports and outdoor activities: such as trekking and biking in the woods that surround it, and also water skiing, wake-boarding, sail boating, and swimming in the lake itself.
The local food production particular to Viverone is an excellency of enogastronomy: the catch of the lake is Coregone, a precious fish with a delicate flavour that is eaten soused, while the wine is Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG; Viverone, in fact, is part of the 37 municipalities that have the specific characteristics required for the usage of the DOCG label. The morainic hill offers the clayey and sandy soil, suitable for this vine: the vineyards characterize the sides of the hills, with their pergolas (and not guyots as you can see in the Langhe), which allow for greater solar irradiation. The result is a highly-prized, dry and fresh white, ideal for aperitifs and dinners on the lake.
In fact, from spring to autumn the lake becomes a not-to-be-missed destination for nightlife and entertainment: the lakeside promenade is crowded with the young and the old, tourists and locals, and the locals follow each other from spot to spot: restaurants, open-air discos, bars, ice-cream parlours, …
Lake Viverone is a little jewel, to visit and to live: because it is such a picturesque lake, because it has beautiful panoramas, because it offers so many possibilities for aquatic activities and outdoor sports, because it is a UNESCO heritage site, because it has the excellence of enogastronomy, because it makes you have fun, because it makes you relax …
In short, why Lake Viverone? Because it has everything!
Where to stay at Lake Viverone:
Find the best deals on hotels, bed & breakfasts, resorts and camping grounds around Lake Viverone here.
Address: Viale Lungo Lago, 13886 Viverone BI
Hours: the lake is always open; restaurant, bar and shop hours vary.
Lake Viverone Prehistoric Stilt Houses Museum
Address: 10010 Azeglio Metropolitan City of Turin
Hours: always open