Santa Caterina del Sasso
21038 Leggiuno VA, Italy
Visit the Cliff-Face Monastery of Lake MaggioreAfter breakfast, John will arrange for a car and driver to take you for a day at another one of Italy’s lakes, Maggiore, which is about 40 miles to the west of Como. There, a private boat will take you to one of the world’s most picturesque monasteries, Santa Caterina del Sasso, clinging to the face of a rock cliff rising above the lake. Alberto Besozzi, a merchant, built a small church here in 1195 after finding shelter from a storm, though the existing buildings date to the 13th and 14th centuries. The northern convent is the oldest, built upon 13th-century walls with a refectory on the ground floor and the monks’ cells on the next. Your guide will point out portions of a 16th-century fresco depicting the Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria and then lead you through the inner courtyard to the church and the bell tower, which overhangs the lake.