The mountains of the Val d'Ossola, not far from La Darbia, preserve suggestive scenarios between snow and silence. Authentic itineraries for slightly wild hearts.
Expanses of white snow that fill the eyes with light. Along with clear skies, larch woods, paths winding through wild blueberry bushes. And rocky walls where ice stalactites cling and thunderous waterfalls flow. For those who love great snowy silences and excursions in solitary valleys, this strip of Piedmont which is wedged between the Swiss mountains represents a true paradise.
In Ossola, nature puts on a spectacular show and offers fairy-tale landscapes, even in winter, when temperatures drop and the sun's rays delicately caress the mountain peaks. There are idyllic places just waiting to be admired such as the plain of Alpe Devero, the iconic little church of Sant'Anna in Riale or the village of Crampiolo with its fairytale houses and the picturesque Lago delle Streghe. But also the fascinating Orridi di Uriezzo, a true marvel of geology, and the majestic east face of Monte Rosa which can be admired in all its splendor from the town of Macugnaga.
In the Ossola valleys, many artificial lakes and imposing dams, such as the Morasco Dam and the Sabbione Dam, feed hundreds of hydroelectric plants, both large and small, the buildings designed by the architect Portalupi in the first half of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the last century, in fact, the exploitation of hydroelectric energy played a primary role in industrialization, so much so that the water which fed the first factories was called "white coal".
The large "stone cathedrals", as the plants were called, were built using local materials and with particular attention to the architectural aspect, which mixes neoclassical and Baroque elements.
Winter in Ossola truly offers mountain enthusiasts the most varied opportunities for fun, from trekking to snowshoeing, from cross-country skiing to alpine skiing facilities. Alternatively, those who love to sit at the table and try the authentic delicacies of the area can stop by one of the many farmhouses that offer polenta with venison, Walser pasta, homemade desserts such as ricotta cake or panna cotta with caramelized chestnuts.
And when you go down to the valley after a day of nature and sport, a well-deserved rest can be sealed with a visit to the Premia spa and a few purchases of the famous local gastronomic products, first and foremost the prized Bettelmatt cheese.
But I would also suggest an aperitif of the famous Crodino, a non-alcoholic aperitif produced and bottled right here in the town of Crodo which gives it its name. Or a toast with the native wines of these lands, such as Prunent, Cà d'Maté and Munaloss, made from an ancient noble Piedmontese vine.
These mountains are steeped in history, nature, culture and art. The Walser villages, the pastures and alpine huts, the enchanting landscapes and the typical cuisine all tell of an authentic territory that does not give in to the fashions of the moment.