L’Orrido di Sant’Anna pertained to the name of a church by the hamlet of Traffiume, which belonged to the larger town of Cannobio. We were also led to believe in the literature (and in our DK guidebook) that this was also a place where it could be a waterfall excursion combined with that historical church from the Middle Ages.
Well, it turned out that the waterfalling aspect of this attraction might be a little far-fetched. We did notice a pair of rather obscure waterfalls on small, temporary tributary streams downstream from the church itself (one of which is shown in the photograph at the top of this page). Other than that, however, we saw a glimpse of a very small cascade further upstream from the medieval bridge adjacent to the church, but the view was overgrown and it the “waterfall” looked more like normal rapids than anything significant. So it could be an instance of inaccurate information being circulated about.
Nonetheless, just by coming here under the pretense of waterfalling, it allowed us to experience perhaps the most charming town on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Cannobio. The town featured a picturesque waterfront as well as a few blocks of attractive cobblestone arcades and the usual clock tower.
As for the waterfall itself, there was a short path that descended from a viewing terrace right in front of the church (chiesa) to the river’s banks where we suspected it might be a bit of a place to cool off in the Summer. The bridge spanning the gorge directly below (called the Avostana Bridge) was believed to be built in the 12th century. The historic church probably followed not much longer thereafter. Overall, this walk probably took us about 30 minutes away from the car.
Traffiume and L’Orrido di Sant’Anna was located near the town of Cannobio on the western shores of Lake Maggiore just a few minutes south of the Italian-Swiss border. It took us roughly 30 minutes to drive from Locarno, Switzerland to Cannobio, which itself is just a few kilometers from the Italian-Swiss border.
From Cannobio, look for the SP75 (SP = Strada Provinciale) towards the southern end of town. There was a sign for L’Orrido di Sant’Anna at the turnoff. Then, follow the SP75 inland for about 2.4km (beware of the 40km/h speed limit with speed cameras). At that point, there was a fork in the road where the steep and narrow road on the right leads to the church (though the arrow pointing left was confusing as it could’ve been understood to pertain to keeping left at this fork instead of going right).
The final 400m was on a practically single-lane road. And since you have the higher ground, you’re in a better position to see if someone’s coming up from the church. If that’s the case, wait where the road is wide enough and let that person pass. Otherwise, you’re probably going to have to figure out who must back up on the single-lane road if you meet someone in the middle of it.
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