• Villa Arabella
  • Villa Arabella
  • Villa Arabella
  • Villa Arabella
  • Villa Arabella

Villa Arabella
Fr. Losana, 16,
27040 Mornico Losana,
Pavia, Italy.
Telephone +39 0383 892338.
Cell +39 348 341 9247
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Local Gastronomy

Food and wine are two of the pleasures that enrich our lives and contribute enormously to create a convivial atmosphere.
Italy in general and the Oltrepo Pavese in particular, offer the discerning traveller many opportunities to delight the taste buds.

Salame di Varzi

The origins of Salame di Varzi go back to the time of the Lombard invasion. The custom of eating pork became established precisely in those areas that the Lombards conquered. In the twelfth century, Salame di Varzi was a much-cherished delicacy for the Malaspina Marquis, feudal lords of the area.
The salami is made from prime quality pork, which is coarsely minced using a template with a 12-millimetre bore. The minced pork is then stuffed into a casing made of pig intestines.

The salami must slice easily to reveal a bright red meat of compact texture. The fat must be perfectly white in colour and in the right proportion with respect to the meat. The taste is sweet and delicate; the aroma, which will be influenced also by the length of ageing, fragrant and distinctive. The certificate of designation of origin (DOP) is reserved for salami produced in all stages, from the selection of the meat to the termination of the ageing process, within a delimited production zone that encompasses numerous town districts around Varzi in the province of Pavia.


Coppa is made from a cut of pork at the bottom of the neck as opposed to ham which is made from the thighs of the hind legs or buttocks of the pig.
Coppa is prepared in a traditional way.
The meat is cut, cleaned and placed in contact with a specially prepared mixture of salt and herbs: black or white pepper, whole or crushed, a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and nutmeg. The salting procedure is of the dry type and it’s important to massage in the salt. This is followed by cold storage for at least seven days. Subsequently it is wrapped in pigs' Parietal Peritoneum Membrane (intestine), a totally natural membrane. The tying is a very special and characteristic operation, very cleverly done by crossing the string over an array of lumps of meat.
The Po Valley and the area around Parma with its countryside, and in particular its rich streams and the river Po, is the ideal area for the production of coppa. This is where the pig breeding tradition has its roots, and where salting and maturing techniques for preserving meat are well known.


We would like to thank Barbieri & Co. for the kind concession to use these pictures.

Mostarda is a very ancient method of preserving fruit dating back to the middle-ages. All the fruits in the Mostarda di Voghera are from Italian orchards and guaranteed to be picked when fully ripe. The Barbieri family continue the long tradition of making Mostarda in the town of Voghera in southern Lombardy. After being candied, the mixed fruits are preserved in simple glucose syrup, which is flavoured with mustard seed oil. While no colouring is used, the natural hues are succulent.
Mostarda is also made from vegetables like carrot, pumpkin, zucchini.
Traditionally it is an accompaniment to the dish “Bollito Misto,” a specialty of northern Italy composed of different cuts of boiled meat (beef silverside, veal, veal tongue, free range chicken) served together with polenta or mashed potatoes.
In more recent times, Mostarda has become popular as an accompaniment to cheese.

Goat Cheese Farm – Il Boscasso

Chiara Onida makes extraordinary cheeses from Goats milk. All the goats are lovingly reared and cared for on site in such a way as to have total control on their feed and upbringing.
As strange as it may seem, Chiara graduated with a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Polytechnic of Milan before deciding that she wanted a life in constant contact with nature, fresh air and far away from the madding crowd.
Without knowing anything about agriculture, she decided that she wanted to produce the “best” goat cheese.
Passion, dedication and hard work did the rest and today, for those of us that enjoy goat cheese, Chiara provides the basis for a wonderful experience. Brava Chiara!
As if this was not enough Chiara has had the time to have 5 children, and bring them up splendidly; they now in varying degrees help her to run the business.

    You can view her products here.



Local Market

There are numerous villages and towns that hold markets on the different days of the week. They are characteristic and colourful with predominantly gastronomic wares but also offering leather goods, shoes and clothing.
The closest market to us is Casteggio, open on Sundays. We do keep track of the markets that open on other days of the week so please do ask us if you want to visit a market on one of the other days of the week.

Walking in the Hills

Walking Paths

The local geography lends itself to breathtaking walks with wonderful views.
We have many options and some also available with routes in GPX format for download to Walking GPS systems.
You can either start at Villa Arabella or drive to a starting point.
As we live by the clock in our stomachs, we suggest you fit in your walks around meals by the pool or at a nearby bistro, which makes a fine reward after a bit of healthy exercise.

The Salt Route

In early times, salt was a very valuable commodity costing as much per gram as gold.
The salt routes that criss-cross the hills have existed since early Roman Times and were plied by mule herders and their mules to transport salt, in situations of extreme adversity, from Genoa on the Ligurian coast to the Po Valley. Merchants in the Po Valley would then transport the salt beyond to Switzerland and Germany.
We have established an alliance with a British Company called On Foot Holidays who offer self-guided walking holidays on the web.
Together, we have mapped a walk along the Salt Route from Villa Arabella to Camogli, a delightful fishing port on the Ligurian coast, between Portofino and Genoa. On their website the walk is called Ligurian Hills.
The walk lasts seven days and walkers spend each night in a different B&B en route. Your luggage is transferred directly to the next B&B, waiting for you in your room when you arrive.


There are three golf courses within 30kms of Villa Arabella for those who may be interested in playing.
Temporary membership credentials are accorded to the guests of Villa Arabella and all you need to have is a membership card of your own golf course at home.
Green fees range from €45 during the week to €65 on weekends per person for 18 holes.
Teeing off times need to be reserved in advance.


The natural beauty of the Oltrepo Pavese lends itself to the cycling enthusiast. It is hilly country and the going can be tough, but there is always a breath-taking place to rest.
If you like, we have 2 bicycles for use by our guests.

SPA & Beauty

If you want to pamper yourselves just a little bit then this is for you. Here, the hills are dotted with natural sulphurous thermal waters, most notably at The Terme di Rivanazzano  
This thermal spa is located 25 Km from Villa Arabella, and offers a special door-to-door service for our guests. They will pick you up and drop you back after your relaxation for no extra charge.
A number of different massages and beauty treatments are available. It is also well known for its anti-pain mud therapy.
If you would like to enjoy this service please do tell us, as reservations need to be made in advance. We have a complete price list for your information on request.


In the surroundings


Portofino is probably one of the most beautiful and romantic ports in Italy and well worth a day trip to discover. Quaint and small, it has become an exclusive spot with celebrities from all over the world paying a visit with their large yachts or staying at the exclusive Hotel Splendido, up on the hill behind the port.
From Villa Arabella, one drives to Santa Margherita Ligure. You then hop on the ferry, which will take you to Portofino where cars are no use at all. Then you do it all again, in reverse.


In the 1100s Pavia was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, part of the Holy Roman Empire (German). The Holy Roman Empire was ruled by Frederick “Barbarossa or Redbeard” II.
Today, it is the Provincial Capital of Pavia, a quaint University town with a population of 70,000.

Pavia Centre

We would like to thank Cesare Schiapelli for the kind concession to use these pictures

Pavia is very quaint with narrow cobblestoned streets.
Most of the town centre is closed to traffic making it ideal for a stroll.


Pavia Castle

We would like to thank Cesare Schiapelli for the kind concession to use this picture.

Castle Visconteo was built by Galeazzo II Visconti in 1360, soon after the defeat of the city, a free city-state until then. The architect credited with its design is Bartolino da Novara. The castle used to be the main residence of the Visconti family, while the political capital of the state was Milan. North of the castle a wide park was enclosed, also including the Certosa of Pavia, founded 1396 according to a vow of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, meant to be a sort of private chapel of the Visconti dynasty.

Pavia University

Pavia is a major Italian college town, with several institutes, universities and academies, including the ancient University of Pavia. Here is a partial list of the main institutions located in the city:
The University of Pavia, one of the most ancient universities in Europe, was founded in 1361, although a school of rhetoric is documented in 825 making this center perhaps the oldest proto-university of Europe. The Centrale Building is a wide block made up of twelve courts of the 15th-19th centuries. The sober façade shifts from baroque style to neoclassic. The Big Staircase, the Aula Foscolo, the Aula Volta, the Aula Scarpa and the Aula Magna are neoclassic too. The Cortile degli Spiriti Magni hosts the statues of some of the most important scholars and alumni. Ancient burial monuments and gravestones of scholars of the 14th-16th centuries are walled up in the Cortile Voltiano (most come from demolished churches).
The Borromeo College (Ital. Almo Collegio Borromeo), founded in 1561 by Carlo Borromeo, is the oldest college at the University of Pavia.
The Ghislieri College (Ital. Collegio Ghislieri), founded in 1567 by Pope Pius V, is the second oldest college in Pavia. Collegio Ghislieri is a 450 year old Italian institution committed to promote University studies on the basis of merit, hosting around 200 pupils who attend all faculties in Pavia State University, offering them logistic and cultural opportunities such as scholarships, lectures, conferences, a 100,000 volumes library (the third largest amongst private libraries in Northern Italy), foreign languages courses. Each year about 30 new students coming from all over the country are selected by public contest.


The Certosa of Pavia (Carthusian Monastery)

The Certosa di Pavia is a monastery situated near a small town of the same name in the Province of Pavia, 8 km north of Pavia. Built in 1396-1495, it was once located on the border of a large hunting park belonging to the Visconti family of Milan, of which today only scattered parts remain.
Certosa is the Italian name for a house of the cloistered monastic order of Carthusians founded by St. Bruno in 1044 at Grande Chartreuse. Though the Carthusians in their early centuries were known for their seclusion and asceticism and the plainness of their architecture, the Certosa is renowned for the exuberance of its architecture, in both the Gothic and Renaissance styles.
The Monastery is still active today and 15 monks dedicate their life to prayer within the walls.
A guided visit includes a look at one of the monks’ old quarters.


Bobbio Monastery, AD 614

This picturesque town owes its fame to the monastery founded by Colombanus, a monk from Ireland, in AD 614. During the Middle-Ages, it became famous throughout Europe as a centre of learning.  It is thanks to the work of its monks in copying original manuscripts that the texts of numerous classical authors have been preserved for us. The old ‘hunchback’ bridge across the river Trebbia is said to owe its irregular shape to a pact that Saint Colombanus made with the Devil.

Monastery Sant’Alberto di Butrio

The monastery, surrounded by woods of chestnut amid the hills, contains valuable mediaeval frescoes. In the cloister there is a recess that for a time housed the remains of King Edward II of England, who died here on a pilgrimage or so some historians say. It is an interesting tale and for those of you who may be interested to delve further into this mystery, Ian Mortimer, a British historian has written quite a lot about this 


The Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre (Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃinkwe ˈtɛrːe]) is a rugged breathtaking portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside.


Expo 2015: Feeding the planet, energy for life.

The Milan Expo 2015 promises to be a stimulating event. For those visiting the Milan Expo, residing at Villa Arabella could be a more relaxing alternative to staying in the centre of Milan.
The Expo is a non-commercial Universal Exposition (not a trade fair) organized by the nation, which wins the candidature, with other countries participating through the diplomatic channels of the hosting nation.

The first Expo was held in London in 1851 and was such a success that other nations were encouraged to organize similar events like the Paris Expo in 1889 for which the Eiffel Tower was designed and built.
Each Expo has a universal theme and is held in an area that has been masterminded as a place of exchange and encounter to promote a unique experience for participants and visitors who discover and experiment with the theme. More than displaying major technological novelties the Expo’s role is oriented towards interpreting the collective challenges to which mankind is asked to respond.

If you are interested in design, then a visit to Milan EXPO 2015 should be in your agenda. Some of the world’s most famous architects have been commissioned to design the infrastructure and site. This means that apart from the main theme of the EXPO 2015, it will be a voyage into a world of avant-garde design not to be missed.

Expo 2015 will be an extraordinary universal event displaying tradition, creativity and innovation in the business of food. It will bring together many themes that have already been handled by this event in the past, and set them out anew in light of new global possibilities whose common core is the idea that everyone on the planet should have access to food that is healthy, safe and sufficient.

Villa Arabella,     Fr. Losana, 16,     27040 Mornico Losana, Pavia, Italy.    Telephone +39 0383 892338.   Cell +39 348 341 9247    Contact & Reservations
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