Exploring Val Mastallone
Typology: Itineraries in Valsesia
Exploring Val Mastallone: wild nature and picturesque villages close to Varallo
Not far from Varallo, in one of the side valleys of Valsesia, there is a valley full of gorges of incredible beauty and vast plains surrounded by forests of fir and beech that has been for a long time the favorite tourist destination of the Lombardy and Piedmont bourgeoisies. With this itinerary, you can explore the Val Mastallone: an extraordinary journey among picturesque alpine villages, lavish nature, and unforgettable views in the heart of the Emerald Valley of Valsesia.
1 The Mastallone stream
The stream, which crosses the entire valley from the top of Lake Baranca to Varallo where it flows into the waters of the Sesia River, over the centuries carved deep gorges that create charming panoramas, such as the beautiful Gula Gorge. The landscape along the stream, wild and unpolluted, is formed by steep rock walls and lush vegetation that in some places gives way to fine sandy beaches with clear waters embellished by their emerald shades. The stream becomes the ideal habitat for many fish species to become a paradise for those who love sport fishing and fly fishing. Between these banks, fishing can find the most authentic expression of its tradition.
2 Gula Bridge
Located between two high rock walls that frame a deep ravine of incredible beauty, the Gula bridge represented for a long time the only access to the area for the inhabitants of the valley to and from the villages. The bridge that crosses the gorge about thirty meters above the green waters of Mastallone, was built in medieval times and, like many other places in the valley, is the protagonist of numerous legends. The most famous of these legends tells that the devil built the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first person who would cross it. Other tales of the oldest inhabitants of the valley tell of strange apparitions of ghosts, demons, and phantoms.
Established in the thirteenth century, Rimella and Alagna is one of the oldest Walser colonies in Valsesia. The village, located at the beginning of a narrow valley that is an offshoot of Val Mastallone comprises numerous hamlets arranged in terraces along the mountain's slopes. It preserved many traces of Walser culture in its architecture. The Parish Church of San Michele Arcangelo, one of the most unique churches in Valsesia, and two interesting museums are worth a visit: the Walser Ethnographic Museum, which tells the history and culture of the Walser people, and the G.B. Filippa Museum "Cabinet of antiques and rare items", that collects various and curious objects donated by the Rimella inhabitants. The village is the starting point of several interesting itineraries that allow visitors to discover the Alta Valsesia Nature Park.
The holiday destination of the Piedmont and Lombardy bourgeoisie during the nineteenth century.Cervatto is an enchanting village surrounded by forests and steep cliffs that create, especially in winter, a fairy-tale landscape. The urban fabric of the village is made up not only of characteristic mountain houses but also of noble villas. The most famous is the one that overlooks the whole village, better known as the Castle. Near the village, where the Mastallone and Cervo Rivers join, there is a deep gorge, the Gulotto ravine, as well as a breathtaking view of the two valleys. From Cervatto it is possible to follow the art trail that leads to shrines and votive chapels up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Balmone.
Is known as Vicenzo Lancia's birthplace, founder of the car manufacturer by the same name. Fobellois a picturesque village located in the Alta Valsesia Nature Park. In the village, which was awarded the orange flag of the Italian Touring Club, you can admire some beautiful villas such as the Musy villa, Lancia villa, and Lanza villa, proof of the elite tourism that in the last century transformed the village into a renowned holiday destination. It is possible to visit, in addition to the "Vincenzo Lancia" permanent exhibition, the Puncetto Valsesian permanent exhibition that displays products of the famous Valsesia lace, and the Carestia-Tirozzo Museum that boasts an extensive collection of leaves and dried flowers.
6 Lake Baranca
From Fobello it is possible, through a pleasant excursion, to reach one of the most scenic places of the entire Mastallone Valley, Lake Baranca. The presence of the ruins of Villa Aprilia makes this place unique, and the lake and the beautiful landscape surrounding it. The villa, built at the beginning of the twentieth century and later purchased by the Lancia family, was destroyed during the Second World War, because it sheltered partisans. The ruins of the villa, and the green pastures surrounding the lake, make this excursion an unmissable stop in Val Mastallone.
A trekking experience not to be missed
Fobello - Lago baranca - From S.Maria di Fobello follow trail No. 517 towards Colle di Baranca - Colle d'Egua
Rimella - Bocchetta di Campello - From Frazione di S.Gottardo follow trail No. 548 towards Bocchetta di Campello
Cervatto - Torno - Roj - Fobello - From Cervatto follow trail No. 501 and when you reach the hamlet of Cadvilli follow trail No. 505
How to reach Val Mastallone
From Varallo: take the SP9 provincial road towards Fobello. To reach Rimella before the two-water bridge, turn to the right at the junction with the SP80 provincial road
From Milan and Turin: from the A4 take the A26 junction in Biandrate, towards Gravellona Toce and exit at the Romagnano S.- Ghemme highway tollbooth. From the highway tollbooth take the SP299 "Strada della Valsesia" provincial road towards Varallo-Alagna. From Varallo: take the SP9 provincial road towards Fobello. To reach Rimella before the two-water bridge, turn to the right at the junction with the SP80 provincial road