CASTELSEPRIO - TORBA
The territory considered in the management Plan includes the district which was governed by Castelseprio in the early middle ages the Seprio Giudicaria, which extended itself in a very vast area: at north it reached the entrance of the alpine valleys until the actual Ticino Canton, from the Lugano Lake towards Bellinzona in Switzerland, subsequently occupying the Varese province, until the Lake Maggiore and the Ticino, towards east, while at the west it reached the Severo torrent and it also included a part of the Como territory; at the south it pushed into Milanese territory.
The territory is particularly rich in findings of the longobard ages, which integrate with the variety of the
landscape, which progressively changes when climbing from the lowland plain to the sub-alpine area, and
that transforms itself depending if you are in the internal areas, or along the banks of the rivers and the shores of the lakes.
The nature of the testimonies of the settlement structure of the longobard period, shows the strategic relevance of the area, outlining an articulate peopling which distributed itself along the main road axes. A series of minor centres, fortified or not, are placed next to the main centres, localisable in the castrensian settlements (Castelseprio, Bellinzona, Castelnovate, also a civitas flavia), some of which display a particular vitality thanks to the richness of the socio-economic situation, oftenrelated to the presence of important noble families, such as that of Toto at Campione d’Italia, documented by written sources and by archaeological findings.
Noble groups are also highlighted by grave findings, such as those of the important necropolis of Arsago Seprio, and those of Stabio, in the Ticino Canton. Many burials or privileged cemetery areas are also linked to places of cult and prove their longobard age origins, as private funerary chapels.
There is no shortage of important longobard buildings of worship, such as the early Christian baptistery at Riva San Vitale, with early middle age stages of renovation, which remembers the case of the basilica with adjoining baptistery of San Giovanni at Castelseprio.
The territories of the Municipalities of Castelseprio and Gornate Olona are placed in a naturalistic and hydrographical microsphere of great value, crossed by the Olona river and by minor water courses, like the Tenore and the Refreddo, and are rich in resurgences. But the entire territory of the Varese province presents extraordinary natural characteristics, witnessed first of all by the Ticino Valley (inserted in the List of Biosphere Reserves in 2002 by UNESCO), by the area of the great lakes (Lake Maggiore and, at the Swiss border, Lake Lugano), besides for the minor lakes of Varese, Comabbio and Monate, and a large series of swamps, like that of Gornate Olona, and numerous humid areas.
The pre-alpine and alpine panoramas at the borders between Lombardy and Piedmont made famous by the inclusion of the “Piedmont and Lombard Sacred Mountains” Site in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2003), are of equal suggestive power and importance.