Exploring Val Grande - Itinerario 1
Typology: Itineraries in Valsesia
Exploring Val Grande: the Walser civilization and the amazing peaks of Monte Rosa
Following the Sesia River from Varallo to the slopes of Monte Rosa, you can cross the largest of the valleys of Valsesia, renowned not only for the extraordinary historical and artistic heritage of the small towns that populate it but also for the incomparable beauty of the alpine landscape in which it is immersed. With this itinerary, you may discover the last stretch of the Val Grande: an incredible journey through picturesque Walser villages, spectacular mountain pastures, and some of the highest peaks in Europe, a true paradise for mountaineers and mountain sports enthusiasts.
1 Monte Rosa
The second largest and most important mountain range in the Alps, Monte Rosa represents for Valsesia and its inhabitants not only a geographical reference point but also a cultural one, enchanting everyone with its magnificence, beauty, and history. The alpine massif, whose name derives from "rosia" a Latin word meaning "glacier", overlooks the valley and a large stretch of the Po Valley featuring some of the highest peaks in Europe, such as Punta Dufour (4,634 m) and Punta Gnifetti (4,554 m) on the top of which the Capanna Regina Margherita, the highest mountain hut in Europe, is located. Monte Rosa is also part of the Alta Valsesia Nature Park, which offers incredible landscapes thanks to glaciers, moraines, and waterfalls: a universe of irresistible charm for all fans of mountaineering and mountain sports.
2 Val Vogna
Nestled between Val d'Otro and Valle Artogna, Val Vogna is a narrow and wild valley surrounded by high peaks and green forests. The entrance to the valley is located in Riva Valdobbia, a small village of Walser origins, where you can find the Ethnographic Museum of Rabenardo and the Parish Church of San Michele, with an amazing fresco of the Last Judgment on the facade. From the village, from which you can enjoy the picture-perfect scenery of Monte Rosa, you can start to explore the Val Vogna along the "Via Regia", the ancient communication road with the Valle d'Aosta that, passing through beautiful villages, reaches Colle Valdobbia where the Ospizio Sottile is located. For every foodie out there, we recommend stopping at the uncontaminatedAlpe Maccagno, where the cheese by the same name is produced, one of the most famous in all Valsesia.
3 Alagna Valsesia
Established at the foot of Monte Rosa in the thirteenth century by the Walser, Alagna Valsesia is one of the most beautiful villages in all Valsesia, so much so that it was awarded the orange flag of the Italian Touring Club. The village, which preserved intact the architectural and structural features of the past, appears in perfect balance between the ancient traditions of the past and the modernity of a major tourism center, very popular and loved by fans of mountain sports. Walser architectural traces can be found in the numerous hamlets surrounding the village: here, you can be charmed by the traditional houses in wood and stone and visit the Walser Museum in the Pedemonte hamlet. During the winter season, the town becomes "Freeride Paradise", with downhill-skiing enthusiasts who come here from all over the world, while during the summer season it is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers, attracted by the many trails and mountain routes that make it possible to experience hiking at all levels.
4 Val d'Otro
From Alagna, along an easy mule track, you can reach Val d'Otro, a pretty valley that hides one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Walser settlements in the Alps. The beauty of the valley, dotted with small villages surrounded by mountain pastures and embraced by forests of larch and beech, is one of those that can leave you speechless. We recommend a tour of all the villages in the valley, real jewels of Walser culture, to understand how this population lived in the past. To enjoy pleasant moments of peace and silence surrounded by nature, there is a wide choice of itineraries across the forests and trails that reach beautiful locations such as the Tailly lakes, the Ravelli bivouac andCol d'Olen.
5 Valle d'Olen
Famous for having been the place where the history of mountaineering on Monte Rosa was made,Valle d'Olen is a large valley of glacial origin very popular both in summer and winter. The valley, crossed by the Monterosa ski-liftsthat connect Alagna with Valle d'Aosta, is crowded in winter by skiing enthusiasts. In summer, it is the favorite destination for mountaineers, hikers, and MTB enthusiasts. In summer, we recommend touring the A. Mosso International Scientific Institute, an important research center opened in 1907 at an altitude of 3000 meters, attended by scholars worldwide to carry out studies in physiology, geology, glaciology, and meteorology.
6 Alpe Pile
A scenic amphitheater located at the foot of Monte Rosa. Alpe Pile is the ideal place to spend pleasant moments of relaxation in contact with nature. The trail leading to Alpe Pile can be easily reached from Alagna either on foot or by shuttle bus, hides a few jewels such as the striking Acqua Bianca waterfalls that is 130 meters high. From there, a vast grassy plain where the very popular Pastore mountain hut is located, many trails start along unique sceneries such as the glaciological trail that lets trekkers explore the Valsesian glaciers. We also recommend the loop itinerary that from Alpe Pile reaches the Barba-Ferrero mountain hut. This scenic trail allows you to get closer to the Sesia River's springs and admire Monte Rosa in all its beauty.
A trekking experience not to be missed:
Riva Valdobbia - Alpe Larecchio - From Riva Valdobbia follow trail No.201 towards Alpe Larecchio
Loop itinerary: Alagna - Barba Ferrero Mountain Hut - From Acqua Bianca follow trail No. 207a towards Colle del Turlo, then trail No.207d towards Barba Ferrero mountain hut, then trail No.207 towards Acqua Bianca
From Varallo: take the SP1 299 provincial road "Strada della Valsesia" towards Crescentino.
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. After Varallo, continue in the direction of Alagn