Which one? You might well ask: aren’t there innumerable green valleys on the planet? There are, of course! And beautiful ones too! This one, called Val Verzasca, only about 15 kilometers from Locarno, is one Is one such rare jewel in south Switzerland?
Built of stone and exuding the rustic charm typical of the valley, rustics are now fitted out with modern conveniences for holiday lets.Val Verzasca is only about 30 kilometers long, beyond which there are only challenging hiking Routes unsuitable for people unused to hiking in mountainous terrains. We drove right up to the last
village, Sonogno,up the narrow mountain road that is steep and full of hairpin
bends in the first part and gentler slopes in the second half. For our bearings
on the place, we Stopped
several times at the few roadside car parks high above the river to decide which spots explore more thoroughly. Beyond Sonogno the valley forks left and
right into two high-alpine valleys where motor cars don’t go.The road is used by cyclists and walkers as well, so we had to concentrate on the road despite the Cinematic
background. So, having to keep our eyes onthe winding road instead of the
scenery, seemed to us a sheer
waste of time.But there’s a postbus service from
Locarno right up to Sonogno. In addition to saving you the hassle of
driving under totally different conditions and finding a parking space, you get
extra bonus of fully enjoying
the scenic beauty of the place.The post bus
from Locarno stops at every village on the route. You would get to see different aspects of
how people lived in this valley as early as the fifteenth century.
The Verzasca is one of the Mail Rivers of Canton Ticino, also known as The emerald green river which is ravishingly beautiful – even if really dangerous at times to those lured into its waters. But that’s exactly the secret of its appeal. That’s what draws thousands of sun-hungry adventure lovers looking for a change of clime and scene to it from the flat, colder countries of Europe from April to October.
But this valley, like its sister valleys of the region, draws not only adventure – holiday seekers bent on the region, draws not only adventure – holiday seekers bent on the adrenalin kicks of extreme sports like mountaineering, scrambling, bouldering, and kayaking along swiftly flowing white waters, or Para-gliding and bungee jumping and other such daring feats. It is just the thing, too,When your jaded nerves need a break from the stress of spinning ever faster to the twirls and whirls of everyday life.
Unplug yourself from the rest of the world and hide away in a remote little alpine village. Let your eyes take their fill of the symphony in the varying shades of the green of the cool fresh breeze, sitting as still as the rocks on the shore.
The best bit is that, though the valley has retained its original wild look and spirit outwardly, the infrastructure of tourist facilities is the most modern even at camping sites just outside it. The range of hotels in Val Varzasca is wide, though. So you can enjoy any degree of comfort you want.
You need strong legs and plenty of stamina for the experience but you’ll be rewarded
with sights of Picturesque alpine villages, the kind which you’ve never seen before.
The views are magnificent,and the insight into a bygone way of life is exhilarating.
Excursionslike these open your mind to other dimensions of life and widen your mental
horizons. For example, from San Bartolomeo – a little above Vogorno (where we stayed)
– you take the cable car to Alpe Bardughe for a spectacular view and see how hay used to
be harvested from the near vertical slopes and transported down to the pasture-poor valley far
below to feed cattle. Also, see the wolf traps they laid to fight the wolves threatening their cattle
about a kilometer outside the villages Of Brione, Alnasca of Ganne.
Or go on a hike from Frasco, stopping at Torbora to wonder at the old bread-baking oven
(still Usable!) with its back to a sty to keep the animals warm, the animals warm, the
picturesque Efra water-Fall cascading down and away as the turbulent mountain stream, Efra,
or find out in Revoira how theyUsed to store water in monoliths sculpted into stone tubs and
troughs as the land is generally so rocky and porous that all kthe water just disappeared onto it.
See code storage cellars of the past built Between boulders with stones. An open –air
VAL- VERZASCA MUSEUM
At the end of the day, go to a grotto (restaurant) to sit under a leafy pergola, open your
senses to the sounds and scents and the fading silhouettes of the dying day and enjoy simple
rustic meal at Leisure, with a glass of local wine if you like, to get the real feel of the kind of life
the Verzasca Ticinesehave always lived in their valley. Go to bed tired out physically but totally
contented for a night’s sound sleep.
As I drifted off into deep slumber, I could see the stars twinkling above the darkness that
has Swallowed up the mountains and Lake Vogorno just outside our window. But when my
husband and I awoke nest morning; the sun had just given the tops of the hills a gold wash,
promising us yet another Brilliant day.
Getting there: By train: either from Milan over the Simplon Pass through Domodossola,
Verbania, along the shore of Logo Maggiore to Locarno, or over the Gotthard pass from
zuerich,Changing in Bellinzona and getting off in Locarno. By post bus from the coach station
in Locarno (leaving every one or two hours) to your destination in Val Verzasca
Recommended duration of stay: From a weekend to a week, depending on your interests.
Travel light and enjoy your stay!