L'Orrido di Sant'Anna

Traffiume / Cannobio, Piedmont Region, Italy

About L’Orrido di Sant’Anna

Hiking Distance: < 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-06-05
Date last visited: 2013-06-05

Waterfall Latitude: 46.0605
Waterfall Longitude: 8.66837

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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.

LOrrido_di_SantAnna_033_20130604 - The waterfall at L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
The waterfall at L’Orrido di Sant’Anna

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 above).

Other than that, however, we saw a glimpse of a very small cascade further upstream from the medieval bridge adjacent to the church.

However, the view was overgrown and the “waterfall” looked more like normal rapids than anything significant.

So it could be an instance of inaccurate information being circulated about on the internet and in the literature.

LOrrido_di_SantAnna_036_20130604 - Looking up at L'Orrido di Sant'Anna with its Roman bridge next to it as seen from the river
Looking up at L’Orrido di Sant’Anna with its Roman bridge next to it as seen from the river

Nonetheless, just by coming here under the pretense of waterfalling, it allowed us to experience the town of Cannobio, which was perhaps the most charming town on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

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.

We suspected that the river 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.

Cannobio_058_20130604 - The town of Cannobio on the western shores of Lake Maggiore near the border with Switzerland
The town of Cannobio on the western shores of Lake Maggiore near the border with Switzerland

The historic church probably followed not much longer thereafter.

Overall, this walk and all the picture taking probably took us about 30 minutes away from the car.


L’Orrido di Sant’Anna resides in the commune of Cannobio in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Province of Italy. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

LOrrido_di_SantAnna_002_20130604 - The church of L'Orrido di Sant'Anna and the narrow road we took to get here
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_003_20130604 - Looking towards what I believe was the medieval Avostana Bridge that the signs here had mentioned
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_010_20130604 - Looking upstream at some very minor cascades on the main stream upstream from the medieval Avostana Bridge
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_011_20130604 - Context of the small cascade amidst the thick foliage as seen looking upstream from the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_013_20130604 - The walkway descending to the bottom by the shores of the river beneath the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_016_20130604 - Looking across at some other obscure waterfall mostly hidden in the thick foliage, but tumbling beneath the narrow road we took to get to the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_023_20130604 - Looking up towards the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna and the Avostana Bridge from the banks of the river
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_042_20130604 - Looking downstream from the church of the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
LOrrido_di_SantAnna_050_20130604 - Looking back across the medieval Avostana Bridge towards the church of the L'Orrido di Sant'Anna
Cannobio_041_20130604 - The clock tower in the centro storico of Cannobio
Milan_006_20130605 - Further south of Cannobio is the city of Milan with its impressive Duomo. That was our last touring destination of our 2013 Italy trip

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.

That said, there was an arrow pointing left, which 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.

Finally, to give you some geographical context, Cannobio was 17km (30 minutes drive) south of Locarno, Switzerland, and 124km (about 2 hours drive) north of Milan (Milano), Italy.

Find A Place To Stay

Sweep following a duck in the calm part of the stream before panning up to the old church above the gorge, then panning over to a rather obscure and mostly hidden waterfall further downstream

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Tagged with: piemonte, traffiume, cannobio, verbano, cusio, ossola, maggiore, milan, milano, italy, waterfall, avostana

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