The 7 Valleys

The name Palazzo 7 is inspired by the beautiful 7 Ossola valleys that frame the city of Domodossola.


Vigezzo Valley


Where it is:

East of Domodossola
By car: take the SS337

Seven municipalities make up the Vigezzo Valley, rich in tradition and history. The Vigezzo Valley is also called the ‘Painters’ Valley’, because from the 17th century onwards, it has been a source of inspiration for artists, both landscape and portrait painters. The place is open to extensive pine forests and meadows with its infinite spectrum of colours in every season. The gentle, poetic soul of the Vigezzo Valley, protected by the rocky, jagged profiles of its mountains (Gridone to the east, Pioda di Crana and Scheggia to the north) has not only inspired the circle of painters who have settled here, but has expanded to other forms of artistic craftsmanship, from wood carving to the art of embossing, from stone working to weaving and jewellery making.

Today, the low mountains, the wide and airy conformation of the territory, the proximity to the ‘Val Grande National Park’, the multitude of outdoor activities and the excellent local gastronomy make this valley one of the most popular areas of Valdossola.



Village of Craveggia
The village of Craveggia is one of the oldest in the entire Valdossola valley. It is nicknamed the ‘village of the chimneys‘ because the large chimneys that stand out on the stone roofs offer a truly evocative view of earlier times.
Walking through the Village of Craveggia one can admire the frescoes painted on some of the walls of the stately palaces, with the balconies decorated with long wrought iron railings. The Village is a small alpine jewel rich in suggestive views and real treasures. The treasure of Craveggia, held in the parish church, is an example of this. Between the church and the oratory of Santa Marta, the Baptistery, with its stone baptismal font and frescoed outer walls, it is well worth a visit.

Santa Maria Maggiore
(Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club)
In Santa Maria Maggiore, we find a truly original and unusual museum: the Chimney Sweep Museum, a centre of culture and memorabilia of a humble and ancient trade, told through paintings, clothing, objects and working tools.
However, it is on the first floor of the museum that the visit becomes more exciting and fun, even for the youngest visitors; through a sensory path, the visitor sticks his head inside a fireplace, enters a flue, and listens to sounds and noises with strong emotional values.
Not to be missed: the ‘International Chimney Sweep Meeting‘, every first weekend in September.

The Art Gallery in Santa Maria Maggiore, housed in the ‘Rossetti Valentini’ School of Fine Arts, has represented the heart of Vigezzo’s artistic and intellectual tradition since 1878.
The art gallery houses works by the great masters in permanent exhibitions. There are landscapes and portraits from the mid-eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.

The third museum we recommend a visit is ‘The House of Perfume Feminis Farina’. Santa Maria Maggiore is, in fact, the birthplace of the world-famous Eau de Cologne created by Giovanni Paolo Feminis, assisted by the merchant Giovanni Maria Farina. A multimedia and multisensory exhibition, a stimulating journey through fragrances and aromas of a thousand origins.

Village of Malesco
(Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club)
The pride of the charming village of Malesco is the regional Ecomuseum of Soapstone and Stonemasons.
The ecomuseum includes three museum exhibits: a washhouse, the historic mill of Zornasco and the Archaeological Museum, as well as places of interest dispersed throughout the area. It is a museum complex that takes the form of a “museum of time and space“: “of time” because it focuses on the past and present by projecting itself towards the future without defined historical sections; “of space” because the asset to be protected is the space – territory, conceived as a whole, with all the expressions that have settled there over time.

Vigezzina-Centovalli railway
The Vigezzo Valley is crossed by a railway line that is much more than a transport infrastructure. The blue and white trains that pass through it are true wonder trains that travel along a magnificent scenic route, a 52-kilometre-long feast for the eyes immersed in lush nature, across 83 bridges and through 31 tunnels.
The Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway connects Domodossola to Locarno on the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore. The route can be travelled in its entirety or only in part, as the line has planned stops in the villages of the valley. In autumn, the flaming yellows and reds of the leaves make this little journey an unmissable pleasure, but it is certain that the spectacle of this itinerary offers its pearls in every season of the year.


Formazza Valley

Where it is:
North of Domodossola
By car: take the SS33 Simplon Road and SS659

North of Domodossola, on the border with Switzerland, we enter the territory of Valle Formazza, ‘Pomatt’ in the Walser language. The valley is strongly characterised by the ancient culture of this Germanic population from neighbouring Goms. During the 13th century, the Walser crossed the borders of Canton Valais and settled in this beautiful area. Today, the historical traces of this population are still richly alive: the dialect language still in use, the charming villages made of wood and stone, the names of the places in the Walser language and the gastronomic delicacies that have been handed down from father to son, as is tradition.



Toce Waterfall
The Formazza Valley is home to numerous water reservoirs created in the first decades of the 20th century for the production of hydroelectric power. The Morasco dam, 565 metres long and 55 metres high, regulates the flow of the spectacular Toce Waterfall. Located in the hamlet of Frua at an altitude of 1,675 metres, the Toce Waterfall, with its majestic 143-metre waterfall drop, is one of the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in Europe and holds a prominent place among the symbols of the Ossola Valley.
It is worth knowing that it can only be admired in its full impetuousness on certain days between June and September, when the Morasco dam, upstream of the waterfall, removes the reins from its waters.

Riale and San Michele
Over 1700 metres above sea level is the ancient village of Riale, a small village with typical stone roofs, one of the first Walser settlements. Some of these buildings have been renovated as holiday homes and immersed in nature they offer a nest in which to regenerate, in peace and silence.
Riale, thanks to the formation of the territory and its abundant snowfall is a paradise for cross-country skiing and trekking and is well known by enthusiasts. In the embrace of the majestic peaks of the Formazza Valley, immersed in a shimmering landscape, there are 12 km of slopes among larch and fir forests. The Formazza Cross-country Skiing Centre, in San Michele, is one of the favourite destinations of the champions of this sport, but also of the less experienced. There are numerous trails for Nordic walking and trekking, with different levels of difficulty. A peaceful loop walk surrounded by varied vegetation is around Lake Morasco, the basin that collects the turquoise waters of the Toce waterfall.



Bettelmatt, gourmet cheese
A dairy delicacy that is impossible not to mention is the renowned Bettelmatt, nicknamed ‘cheese of the Gods’. It comes from only seven high Alpine pastures in the Lepontine Alps (five in the Formazza Valley and two in the Antigorio Valley). We invite you to taste this gourmet cheese, a joy for the palate that brings together the scents and aromas of the most unspoilt alpine pastures.


Antigorio Valley

Where it is:
North east of Domodossola
By car: take the SS33 Simplon Road


Baceno: Monumental Church of San Gaudenzio
The monumental church of San Gaudenzio is a religious architecture-symbol known throughout Piedmont.
It stands on a rocky buttress overlooking the Devero River and is internally covered with beautiful frescoes. A recent lighting project makes the church a truly impressive spectacle under the stars. By day, the building stands out in all its old-world charm against the polychrome backdrop of the natural landscape, with the beautiful staircase stretching up the Romanesque façade.
The original chapel dates back to the year 1000, but over the centuries, history has stratified on its foundations through the style of the times, passing from the Lombard Romanesque to the Gothic of the aisles, to the Baroque key of the later interventions, towards the end of the 1500s.

Orridi di Uriezzo
A kind of grand canyon of the upper Piedmont region: the Orridi di Uriezzo are spectacular gorges carved into the granite by the waters that flowed downstream of the Toce glacier over the centuries. The narrow valleys, tortuous tunnels and gorges were formed once the glaciers disappeared, creating a humid ecosystem, home to mosses and ferns.
Today, its caves can be visited through a system of stairs and iron walkways. There are three gorges and they can be reached from Croveo (hamlet of Baceno) and from Maiesso (Premia) and Verampio.
The South Gorge is about 200 metres long and reaches a depth of 20-30 metres. It is considered by many to be the most suggestive; the North-East Gorge, very narrow in places, is 100 metres long and 10 metres deep; the West Gorge, less characteristic than the first two, is however suitable for the more experts.



Premia Thermal Spa
Located in the cradle of a splendid landscape that favours tranquillity and wellbeing, the Premia Thermal Centre is fed by the waters of an ancient spring with a temperature of 42°C, but in the pools the temperature fluctuates between 32°C and 36°C. The facility, built with respect to the environment and in harmony with the indigenous architecture (wood, stone, gneiss roofing and glass windows that create a connection between inside and outside), offers a range of activities suitable for adults and also for small children, who through games and dedicated aids can become familiar with the water. The large pools equipped with hydromassage beds, cervical and plantar jets, the regenerating vascular path, the sauna, the Turkish bath and the emotional showers are just a hint of what the centre has to offer. The Premia Spa also offers beauty treatments and holistic massages, and has a qualified team of doctors for the most complex pathologies. Evening openings are provided for themed events and offer an enchanting experience in the ambient warmth and under the night sky.



Natural Park of Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero
From the village of Baceno, the road turns left, leading to the Alpe Devero Nature Park within the protected area of the Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Nature Park.
Unspoilt environment and natural wonders are undoubtedly the watchwords of this protected area.
Situated between the municipalities of Varzo, Trasquera, Crodo and Baceno, the park, with its peaks between 1,600 and 3,553 metres above sea level of Monte Leone, was established to protect its immense natural wealth.
Alpe Devero, is known as the ‘Alpe del sorriso‘ (the Mountain of Smiles), by virtue of an incredible variety of blooms of a thousand shades. Home to marmots, chamois and eagles (with a bit of luck it is also possible to spot the rare Bearded Vulture), its pastures produce top quality dairy products (including Bettelmatt), made using traditional methods handed down from generation to generation.



Bouldering at Foppiano
The Alp of Foppiano, in the shadow of Monte Cistella and at an altitude of 1,200 metres, hosts in its forest of beech and spruce trees, over three hundred stones made of gray gneiss with notches and cracks for climbing; the boulders can reach 6/7 metres in height. A sporting discipline, rock climbing, which in recent years has attracted more and more sports enthusiasts to Foppiano thanks to the Foppiano bouldering group, which has worked passionately to promote this fascinating type of climbing practised in the woods while respecting nature.
This is demonstrated by the ‘Adopt a stone‘ project, which allows those who wish, to ‘adopt’ one of the boulders in the Foppiano forest and link its name to it in all official publications, in exchange for one day a year of cleaning and maintenance of the environment.



Divedro Valley

Where it is:
Northwest of Domodossola
By car: take the SS33 Simplon Road

The Divedro Valley runs along the Simplon Road. It has been a favourite stopover for wayfarers crossing the pass between Switzerland and Italy for centuries. A very ancient valley inhabited by the Etruscans and, among others, by the Leponzi, the population from which the name of the Lepontine Alps derives.
The undisputed mothers of the valley are the majestic mountains and the marvellous alpine pastures that offer endless walks through flower-filled meadows in summer or with snowshoes on your feet in winter.
There are two municipalities in the valley: Varzo, with its numerous hamlets, and Trasquera. From the centre of Varzo, a road leads to the well-known village of San Domenico, close to the magnificent Alpe Veglia nature park, a natural paradise that has preserved its charm and beauty intact.

The village is located on the main road from Domodossola to the Simplon Pass. The name Varzo derives from ‘Vargo’, the opening that the village has freed in the wedge of narrow gorges and almost vertical rocks of the surrounding territory.
Varzo is marked by centuries of border disputes and among the historical sites not to be missed are the Parish Church of San Giorgio, the granite tower near the town hall, the Archaeological Museum and the path of the chapels of the Via Crucis.



Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Nature Park
The park covers a surface area of 8,539 hectares and its peaks range from 1,600 to 3,553 on Mount Leone, the highest peak in the Lepontine Alps. The Park falls within the municipalities of Varzo, Trasquera, Crodo and Baceno and was established in 1995 by merging with the Alpe Devero Natural Park.
The pastures of Alpe Veglia are wide and sunny, dotted with traditional stone houses and surrounded by larch forests that explode with warm colours in autumn. Because of its brightness, it is called the Alp of the light. Several hiking routes start from the pastures and can be reached from Ponte Campo or the Alp of Ciamporino.
There are numerous alpine lakes and plateaus, and the wide variety of natural environments is home to an incredible variety of floral species, by virtue of which Alpe Devero is nicknamed the Alpe del sorriso (The Mountain of Smiles).

San Domenico Ski
35 kilometres of slopes of all levels of difficulty; the ski area is equipped with seven lifts. From an altitude of 1,420 metres at San Domenico, you can ascend to 2,500 metres at Dosso, passing through the Alp of Ciamporino, which is more suitable for beginners.
The slopes of Passo Sella and Dosso, on the other hand, are suitable for more experienced skiers who can measure themselves against slopes with gradients of up to 55%, with difficult passages requiring more mastery and technique.



Sando Adventure Park
There are five levels of difficulty to be approached under the watchful eye of the staff, who assist visitors in a gradual approach to the routes through the trees, located at different heights from the ground and suitable for both adults and children: Tibetan bridges, nets, lianas, footbridges and fun cableways.
The park represents a fun, safe and environmentally friendly form of approach to nature.
The ‘continuous lifeline’ safety system prevents any kind of accidental fall, both during suspended passages and when climbing trees from one point to another.
Inside the park there is an inflatable area, a fat bike rental area for the little ones and a refreshment area.


Bognanco Valley

Where it is:
West of Domodossola

Set between the Divedro Valley to the north and the Antrona Valley to the south is the Bognanco Valley. It is Domodossola’s valley par excellence because it is the closest to the main town. It is a very green and cool area, crossed by the Bogna stream from which the valley takes its name.
It is also called the valley of a hundred waterfalls because the area is crossed by numerous streams, torrents and waterfalls, so much so that it is particularly well known and loved by those who practice canyoning, an activity that combines caving and mountaineering techniques in a torrential environment.



Rio Rasiga
Wonderful descent in rather cold water. The first section is dotted with
a variety of dips and slides, while the remaining part of the route meanders through pathways carved into the granite.
This is a long and tiring route of high commitment.

Rio Dagliano or Rio Variola Superiore
A very beautiful and varied route, technical but also fun, offering passages of medium-high effort with vigorous water flow.


In the upper Bognanco valley we find the famous Stockalper Trail, a trek that usually takes three stages and connects Gondo, on the Swiss border, to Brig in the upper Valais. The trail is named after
Kaspar Von Stockalper, known as the ‘King of the Simplon’, a Swiss politician and merchant who managed the traffic of goods through the Simplon Pass in the 1600s.

Stage 1 Brig – Simplon Pass
You start on an uphill trail above the Saltinaschlucht gorge and continue along the Tafernatal valley to the Simplon pass. Historic buildings such as the Stockalper castle in Brig and the hospice on the Simplon Pass are encountered.

Stage 2 Simplon Pass – Simplon Dorf
You descend along the south side of the Simplon Pass in the embrace of a fascinating landscape, passing alpine settlements and small villages up to Simplon Dorf. Here you can visit the museum on the history of the pass.

Stage 3 Simplon Dorf – Gondo
You cross the wild Gondoschlucht gorge and continue on old paths where you come across historic buildings of considerable interest, such as the Stockalper Tower in Gondo.



Bognanco Thermal Centre ÒNIRO
The thermal centre is located in Fonti (San Lorenzo), just 7 km from Domodossola. It dates back to the early 1900s and its waters flow from three springs with different healing properties. Inside the park, the structures of the period have been preserved and are still in use today.
The thermal baths consist of two swimming pools with a temperature of about 31°; hydromassage jets; emotional showers with aromatherapy and chromotherapy; reaction bath; Turkish bath, Finnish sauna and a special shower to be used in a horizontal position that, with its 1,200 jets of water, is able to replicate the beneficial movements of a masseur’s hands.
The centre also offers a beauty area with basic treatments and various types of massages. In addition, hydroponic treatments with mineral, oligomineral or bicarbonate waters are carried out with the assistance of qualified medical personnel.



San Lorenzo Parish Church in Bognanco
The church dates back to 1535 and was revised in the Baroque period to its current form around mid-1700. On the exterior façade, above the door stands a late 16th-century fresco and you will notice that the 16th-century bell tower is curiously placed on the corner of the façade of the parish house. Inside, the spacious nave welcomes the visitor under the beautiful frescoed vault.


Antrona Valley

Where it is:
West of Domodossola, between the Bognanco valley to the north and the Anzasca valley to the south.

Of the Ossola valleys, it is perhaps the least ‘mainstream’, the one least exposed to mass tourism. Lonely and wild, very green, it is a valley that has maintained a high degree of environmental integrity. It is a valley to be savoured in ‘slow’ style, excellent for those who need a break from the fast pace of city life and for those who love tranquillity, authentic traditions and good food.

Upper Antrona Valley Natural Park
The park borders an important Swiss nature reserve, the Laggintal Nature Reserve, and covers almost eight thousand hectares.
The picturesque Borgomezzavalle marks the lowest altitude in the area (500 mt), while the highest altitude is marked by Pizzo Andolla (3,656 mt), which borders the Swiss reserve.
There are five artificial water reservoirs in the park: Lake Antrona, Lake Camposecco and Lake Alpe dei Cavalli near Cheggio Lake Campliccioli and Lake Cingino, with the spectacle of the acrobatic ibexes that climb in search of salt on the 90° of the dam wall.
In the park, there are different types of habitats and a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna with rare species such as the Bearded Vulture and some monumental larches on the Alpe Lombraoro.

Borgomezzavalle and the mirror of Viganella
The historic village has kept its heart of wood and stone intact: the houses, the passageways under the stone vaults in the narrow streets, the stables, have retained the charm of the original rural architecture. The hamlet of Viganella, adjacent to Borgomezzavalle, tells a beautiful story whose protagonist is a mirror: until 2006, from November to February, the sun’s rays could not reach this remote corner of Valdossola, but the mayor and an architect friend came up with a wonderful solution: the sun would come to illuminate and warm the village with its warm rays through the reflection of a mirror. And so it was. The mirror, measuring forty square metres and placed at an altitude of 1,100 metres, rotates at regular intervals, illuminating the centre of the village during the winter.

Antrona Schieranco
Together with the municipality of Borgomezzavalle, Antrona Schieranco falls within the territory of the Upper Antrona Valley Natural Park. Numerous hiking trails start here and it is an excellent starting point for walks and hikes. One of these paths leads to Cheggio, which is an open and solitary place. There is a beautiful loop around the Cheggio lake, a section of which at altitude opens up to spectacular panoramic views. The initial section above the dam is rather steep and up to Alpe Teste Inferiore there are exposed points and passages equipped with safety chains.


Anzasca Valley

Where it is:
Southeast of Domodossola, via the SS33 Simplon Road.

The valley, cradle of the Alpine people, the Walser, preserves all the historical richness of a frontier civilisation that was able to integrate itself in a beautiful and difficult environment. Macugnaga, at the foot of Monte Rosa, is the first Walser settlement dating back to the 13th century. In this ancient village stands the Walser House Museum of Macugnaga, which preserves intact the ancient structure from the 17th century. Hundreds of period artefacts can be seen here, and the collection is spread over three levels that unleash all the charm of a lost rural world, through the floorboards creaking underfoot and the everyday furnishings. In the basement there is a room with reproductions of old prints and photographs, as well as a venue for temporary exhibitions.

Monte Rosa
In the northern Anzasca Valley, bordering Switzerland, you come across Monte Rosa, the extensive massif of the Pennine Alps. Punta Dufour reaches 4,634 metres and is the highest peak in the group.
The east wall, which overlooks the village of Macugnaga, is the best known and is the only one in the Alps with Himalayan dimensions. Another slope of considerable grandeur is the Valsesian wall that overlooks Alagna Valsesia. On the north side of Switzerland, on the other hand, we find the 14 km long Gorner glacier (Gornergletscher).
Between June and September, it is possible to explore this paradise on foot, following the CAI trail of the Tour of Monte Rosa – Cervino, 173 km to cover in a week’s walk through 7 wonderful Alpine valleys in three different regions: Anzasca and Valsesia Valleys (Piedmont); Lys Valley, Ayas Valley and Valtournenche (Aosta Valley); Saas Fee and Zermatt valleys in Switzerland.

Monte Rosa Wildlife Oasis
Capanna Margherita, located at over 4,500 metres on Punta Gnifetti, and Cima Jazzi (altitude 3,803) can be reached from the hamlet of Pecetto of Macugnaga, but the high altitudes of this area are more easily accessible via the Macugnaga ski lifts.
The entire length of the oasis accommodates the Belvedere glacier. Great caution is needed with regard to the routes closer to the glacier, and it is certainly recommended to contact the mountain guides.
From Macugnaga, numerous paths, very well signposted, introduce mountain lovers to a rich biodiversity: larch woods, conifers, an extremely varied undergrowth populated in the lower areas, in spring and autumn, by chamois and ibex.

Battiggio Tower (Vanzone)
Considered a National Monument, the Battiggio Tower in Vanzone is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval defensive architectures in the Ossola Valley. Built with square-shaped indigenous stones, after an important redevelopment project it stands out mightily over the territory and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Guia Gold Mine – Macugnaga
Located in the Fornarelli locality of Macugnaga, the mine unfolds along a route of about one and a half kilometres. It is a fascinating place seen on a walk, but which bears witness to the hard work of the miner, a very common trade in the valley between 1700 and 1960.
Gold mining peaked between the 1930s and 1950s, but the mine was closed in 1961 due to outdated technology and foreign competition, which led to the mine being unprofitable.
Today, this place represents a journey into a trade that knew how to put men to the test, amidst the shadows and faint lights of its galleries carved out of bare stone.

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