Looking up, admiring the rugged profile of the peaks and guessing their names... In Alagna the mountains remind us of an ancient stillness and invite us to smile genuinely.
This wonderful village of walser tradition welcomes us today with a bright sun and a sparkling breeze that promise a glorious day. It’s a good idea to apply a little sunscreen and put a technical fabric jacket in your backpack. We also wear boots and a hat, pick up our trekking poles and… voilà, here we are ready to start a regenerating walk!
We left the car along the Sesia river which originates from a large glacier on the Monte Rosa massif and flows limpid and impetuous for tens of kilometers furrowing the entire valley. The thunderous noise of its waters, which flow quickly and powerfully, accompanies us throughout the day, as a relaxing background to our thoughts. We are headed to Alpe Pile where, at the end of the energetic hike, the delicious polenta from the Pastore Refuge awaits us.
But before setting out along the path, we cross the historic center of Alagna and admire the characteristic architecture of its rural houses with the typical external balconies that make up the famous "lobbia", a wooden grid that was originally used to dry the cut hay. These particular houses are the most visible evidence of the colonization of the Walser, a population of Germanic origin who emigrated from Valais Switzerland in the distant Middle Ages, moving to various areas of Monte Rosa in search of pastures for cattle. Alagna is one of the towns that have best preserved the Walser culture and keep its customs and traditions alive through folk festivals, traditional costumes and a delightful museum located in an original 17th century hut.
And if the historic center of Alagna does not disappoint, the surrounding nature also appears more grandiose than ever. The opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, cable car rides and horseback riding are countless. As well as the rafting experiences on the Sesia, there are mountaineering activities organized by the guides and opportunities for sport fishing and panoramic helicopter rides. The heights and slopes around Alagna are also considered a freeride paradise: practicing off-piste skiing on these slopes produces enormous satisfaction and guarantees exciting panoramic routes. Let's not forget that the legendary Capanna Margherita belongs to the municipality of Alagna, the highest refuge in Europe: built at 4554 meters on Punta Gnifetti, it dominates the vertiginous south face of Monte Rosa and represents one of the most popular destinations for mountain enthusiasts.
As I tell you all these things about Alagna, our group walk proceeds: the steps are getting faster and faster, we cross the wood, we cross the bridge over the Sesia and we climb up to reach the grassy expanse that faces the Pastore Refuge. We take off our boots and lie down on the grass, staring at the sky and admiring the white clouds that float past. But the most beautiful sight, the most exciting reward is the superb view of the Rosa massif which today, fortunately, can be admired in all its grandiose beauty. In places like this one can strongly perceive the majesty of nature, a sensation of freshness envelops us and, breathing deeply, we are happy to let go of the thrills of infinity.