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Alpe Devero (Foto Distretto Turistico dei Laghi) Antigorio and Formazza Valleys

It includes the northern triangle of Ossola, in the Swiss territory, towards the centre of the central Alps. The landscape is characterized by the Toce river flowing through the valley, which is culturally divided into two entities: the Romance and Latin Antigorio and the Walser and German Formazza.

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Rising up the valley you run across the “riviera antigoriana”, a row of villages placed on a slight slope and exposed to the East: Mozzio, Viceno, Cravegna and Crodo, the econimic centre of the valley, famous for its hot spring and for the water which is bottled and exported all over the world. The village is famous even for its gold deposits, exploited till 1941.

The subsoil of Ossolo is rich in minerals and the variety of minerals (278 sorts) is documented by the Earth Sciences Museum, by the Ginocchi Study Centre. In Viceno, 5 km east from Crodo you can visit the Mountain House Museum, once the abode of the peasant family, where there are reproduced the living and working rooms. Going on to the North you can find the charming centre of Baceno with its Romanesque parish church of S. Gaudenzio, a national monument situated on a rocky buttress: the sixteenth century rose-window on the hut-shaped facade is particularly valuable. Rising up from Baceno to Goglio you reach the entrance of the Devero Alp (1631 meters high),a wonderful natural park which makes several excursional tours possible and offers sportsmen charming rock climbs.

Rising up from Baceno to Formazza you reach Premia and you enter into the realm of “serizzo”, a black stone which characterizes all the dwellings and the monuments of the zone. Naturalistic attractions of great interest are a recently discovered hot spring, the Rio d'Alba waterfall (329 metres high), Sasso Premia an ideal palestra for climbers, the Balmafredda, Santa Lucia, Arvera, Balmasurda and Uriezzo horrid precipices.

The last one which is dry and can be visited, is formed by a series of circular hollows in the rock, extends for 150 metres and rises for 16 ones. The village of Salecchio, a very interesting attraction, is an ancient Walser settlement, even nowadays it is difficult to be reached, and in summer thanks to traditional events becomes the destination of the great public. Entering into the Formazza valley you reach a typical high mountain landscape characterized by large woods, pastures and alpine lakes. The human environment is strongly influenced by the Walser culture: these people, whose customs and traditions are codified in the “Talbuch” settled in Formazza in the XIII century and remained practically isolated till 1920 (the valley was reachable only on foot or on mule back). The name of Formazza includes nine fractions, all of them are inhabited. Ponte is the historical centre and ski resort of the valley; the interesting Fort-House, built in 1569 and, in ancient times abode of the “ammano”, (the leader of the community) is today the seat of the ethnographic Museum, which documents the Walser culture and told about the origins of skiing in Formazza Valley. The principal attraction of the village is Toce falls, known as the most beautiful in Europe, it is 143 metres high with a bow of water of 60 metres at the base. The falls can be visited in the summer but its waters are used all the year to produce hydro-electric energy. Even at the beginning of the century the charm and the emotion aroused by the strength and by the beauty of the falling water struck famous visitors as Richard Wagner, Gabriele d'Annunzio and Margherita of Italy. Beside the waterfall, the street continues to the Riale plain, the starting point of nice excursions on foot; among the most appreciated destinations there are: Kastel lake, Boden lakes, the San Giacomo pass and Valrossa. More demanding and reserved to experienced trekkers are the walks to the shelters at the edges of glaciers.

 

 

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