Exploring the Bassa Valsesia
Typology: Itineraries in Valsesia
Exploring the Bassa Valsesia: art and nature at the foot of Monte Fenera
Climbing up the Sesia River from Gattinara to Varallo, you will cross an area of Valsesia that is not as known as the other locations in the valley, and that is of extraordinary natural beauty, hosting small jewels of art and culture. This itinerary leads you to the discovery of the Bassa Valsesia: an incredible journey through charming villages, small museums, prehistoric finds, and a quiet natural oasis at the foot of Mount Fenera. It will be a pleasure to admire unexpected glimpses of Valsesia from here.
1 Mount Fenera and the Nature Park
Among the most important prehistoric locations in Europe and unique from a geological point of view, Monte Fenera stands alone and majestic above the hills of Bassa Valsesia. The mountain, the only sedimentary complex in Valsesia, has an unmistakable rounded shape with white walls and karst caves that boast spectacular formations of stalagmites and stalactites. Many of these caves safeguarded and hid for a long time some very precious prehistoric finds such as the remains of the Neanderthals, the Merk rhinoceros, and the cave bear extinct 20,000 years ago. The area of Monte Fenera, included in the Nature Parkby the same name, is also crossed by a vast network of trails that allow reaching the top of the mountain where you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the Vercelli and Novara plains and, of course, Monte Rosa.
2 Serravalle Sesia
Located in a basin just downstream of the confluence of the Sessera and Sesia Rivers, Serravalle Sesia is a small town located in the area of a very ancient settlement. Some of the most interesting sites in the Bassa Valsesia bear witness to this. They are located near the town and include the Parish Church of Santa Maria di Naula, of Longobard origin and deemed the oldest Christian building of worship in Valsesia; the imposing Sant'Euseo Sanctuary dating back to the eleventh century; and the fascinating ruins of the Vintebbio Castle, built around the ninth century. We recommend you to reach the ruins of the Castle, which has been resting on the top of a hill for more than a thousand years, almost as if it were a sentinel standing guard over the whole valley. Not only is it a charming place, but it also offers the chance, given the position, to enjoy an amazing view of the surrounding villages, the Sesia River, and Monte Fenera.
Lying on the green hills between Valsessera and Valsesia, Guardabosone is a lovely place where you can still breathe an ancient medieval atmosphere. The village, built around the year 1000, has preserved, thanks to skillful renovation works, the typical architecture of the time: medieval walls, inner courtyards, and winding streets that make it very pleasant to stroll across the village. In addition to the architecture, the surprising thing about this small village is the presence of some interesting museums that led Guardabosone to earn the nickname of "living museum town". Among the museums to visit we can mention the Museum of Ancient Crafts, set up in a farmhouse; the Museum of Natural Sciences that collects many fossils, minerals and specimens of embalmed animals; the Museum of Sacred Art and a beautiful botanical garden.
The main economic center of Valsesia and an important commercial hub, Borgosesia is a densely populated town located just below Monte Fenera. There are many proofs of its fascinating historical and artistic past, for example, the parish church dedicated to SS. Pietro and Paolo that hosts artworks by Bernardino Lanino and Tanzio da Varallo and the Sanctuary of Sant'Anna di Montrigone, located on top of a hill. We recommend you to walk through the lively streets and squares downtown that still preserve the features of the ancient village and walk in the quiet Magni Park that overlooks the left bank of the Sesia River. The Carlo Conti Museum of Archeology and Paleontology is worth a visit. It hosts some of the most interesting prehistoric finds discovered in the caves of Monte Fenera, which can be reached on foot with a pleasant excursion.
It is known as the birthplace ofGaudenzio Ferrari, the most famous Piedmont-based Renaissance artist. Valduggiais a charming town located close to the Nature Park of Monte Fenera. From the village, walking along secondary roads and trails crossing beautiful woods of beech and chestnut trees, you can reach an oasis of peace and tranquility. Among the most beautiful trails of the area, we recommend you to take the taragn trail that from Valduggia reaches the ancient village of Sorzano. Along the trail you can admire some of the last examples of taragn, ancient farmhouses with the roof made of rye straw, and the base built with chestnut tree logs, typical in Bassa Valsesia until the last century.
6 Cellio con Breia - Civiasco - Quarona
The beautiful area of low mountains that extends between the towns of Cellio con Breia,Civiasco, and Quarona is full of small villages where you can enjoy stunning views of the Alps and Lake Orta. For mountain bikers, it is possible to explore the area through the Valsesia Bike Trail, while for trekking fans, we recommend the many trails surrounded by lush nature. The best among them? The trail from Quarona reaches the charming Sant’Agostino lake, also known as the lake of toads because it is home to thousands of toads that gather here in spring. From here you can admire the ruins of the ancient Arian Castle.
A trekking experience not to be missed
Taragn Trail - From Bertagnina follow trail No. 795 toward Sorzano
Quarona - Lake of Sant'Agostino - From Quarona follow trail No. 733-732 towards Alpe di S. Agostino
Borgosesia - Monte Fenera - From Borgosesia, reach the hamlet of Fenera San Giulio and then follow the signs for Cima Bastia
How to reach Bassa Valsesia
From Gattinara: take the SP 70 provincial road towards Serravalle Sesia.
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.