Bosco Gurin – traditions and legend

Once upon a time there were the Walser, a people of the Upper Valais that grew and grew in number. It came to pass that some went searching for fresh pastures for their cattle. On their quest for a new home, they came through the Val Formazza into the Valle di Bosco, a little side valley of the Vallemaggia, and founded the village of Gurin in 1253. Centuries may have passed, but a visit to Bosco Gurin still feels like a leap into the past.

The inhabitants have maintained most of their customs, and their language – Ggurijnartitsch, a Swiss-German dialect that's still spoken alongside Italian and the local Ticino dialect. Bosco Gurin also stands out architecturally from the rest of the Ticino: it features a great deal of timber, which is rather atypical for this canton. 

A trip to Bosco Gurin is to be recommended at any time of the year, from the flowering spring and summer hiking seasons to the colourful autumn and fairytale winter. This, the highest village in the Ticino (more than 1500 m above sea level), is a popular destination summer and winter, being a mini ski resort that's only a (relative) stone's throw away from the mild climate of Lake Maggiore. In summer it's the perfect place to find harmony in nature – discovering plants, observing wild animals and negotiating long hikes and MTB tours. The surrounding woods are rich in flora, fauna and legends. Walking amongst larch, spruce, alder and hazelnut, you may well encounter the Weltu, the little friendly denizens of the woods with inverted feet, who watch over the cattle of the inhabitants at times of high snow or bad weather.

Bosco Gurin is of interest culturally, too. The Walserhaus Museum offers an insight into how the people here lived modestly in this seclusion. Part of the museum is dedicated to the graphic artist Hans Tomamichel, a native of Bosco Gurin, who designed the character Knorrli for Knorr and the graphics for the Fip-Fop children's club for Nestlé.

Another interesting curiosity is the Coop store in Bosco Gurin – it's the smallest in Switzerland and a crucial amenity for the resident population, which currently numbers around 60. In 2006 a garden was created in the village in cooperation with ProSpecieRara: every year at the "Måtzufåmm" autumn festival, the villagers partake in soup made from the vegetables grown in the garden. Despite the weight of the past and the desire to continue to accord tradition a high priority, Bosco Gurin is always looking ahead and open to new ideas in order to remain attractive to visitors – such as the new winter and summer toboggan run, and the zipline and spa projects being looked at for future consideration. Acting as an ambassador for the village, an Edelweiss Airlines aircraft on international duties was baptised with the name “Bosco Gurin” in 2018: a little place flying high!

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