Between art and architecture

If you love nature, but also want to learn more about the artistic and aesthetic aspects of a place, why not combine the two?

D1 - Campo Vallemaggia & Bosco Gurin: Take the postbus to Campo Vallemaggia, a charming village sitting on a sunny plateau in the Val di Campo, an area famed both for its unrivalled beauty and a number of architectural gems, among the best in the region, including the Parish Church of San Bernardo, the Case Pedrazzini and the Oratory of San Giovanni Battista. An area well worth taking your time to explore. Cimalmotto is another fine village to visit, and not too far away.

There, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta merits a visit to see the marvellous frescoes by the famed painter Giuseppe Mattia Borgnis. Both villages are protected as Swiss Heritage Sites (IFP) and are a popular destination for hikers. If you have the time, we recommend taking an extra day to explore the region further. Visit the Alpe Magnello, for instance, where you can still see signs of the old soapstone workings and visit some typical Ticino mountain pastures. Your next destination is Bosco Gurin. If starting from Cimalmotto, the best route is is via the Quadrella Pass; if starting from Campo Vallemaggia, it is best to follow the Pian Crosc mountain trail. Calculate about 3-4 hours of steady walking to reach your destination. Bosco Gurin is the highest village in the Ticino region, and has the best preserved Walser colony in southern Switzerland. Advice: whether you might already know about the Walser culture or have never heard of it, the Walserhaus is definitely worth a visit. This museum, housed in a magnificent medieval building, has many well preserved artefacts of the culture, architecture and everyday life of this German-speaking people. Spend the night in Bosco Gurin.

D2 - Bosco Gurin & Cevio: If you wish to delve a bit deeper into the Walser culture, there is another excursion that, whilst being physically tough, is well worth the effort. It takes you from the village centre to three alpine lakes: Ender See, Schwarzsee (Lago Melo) and Üssar See (Lago Pero). As well as breathing in the incredible beauty of the landscape, you can discover the local area and resources that sustained the Walser community for so many years.

After a rest and some food, you head off towards Locarno, with a stop-off at Cevio. This pretty village in the centre of the Maggia Valley is particularly rich in history and culture. One reason why this is where you find the Valmaggia Museum. Of special interest here are the Oratory of the Beata Vergine del Ponte, the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista and some fine palaces, including Casa Calanchini-Respini and Palazzo Franzoni. Just behind the museum is a path leading to a completely different type of architecture: the grottos of Maggia Valley, a series of natural caves carved from huge cliffs and boulders, originally used to store food. A fantastic example of the interaction between man and nature. It was quite normal in times past for the locals to enjoy a chat and a well-earned glass of wine here after a hard day’s work. You, too, can follow their example and enjoy some local produce here: a store in the village offers mouth-watering picnic baskets filled with a selection of our best delicacies.

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