Lush green vegetation and pristine nature surrounded by majestic peaks: with its enchanting atmosphere, typical Ticino villages, history and culture, the Vallemaggia (Maggia valley) is a magical region and an all-season destination for excursions.
It’s characterised by dense woodland, lush flowery meadows, crystal clear mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, white sand along the green Maggia river, mountain peaks rising to the sky, stone houses, picturesque village squares and traditional grotti where diners treat themselves to local dishes.
The Vallemaggia is a whole world in miniature offering countless possibilities in terms of recreational activities. Hiking amid the amazing alpine mountain scenery or along the river, cycling through sleepy villages, climbing high above the valley floor, swimming in the Maggia, and cultural events – just a sample of what the valley offers.
The Maggia, which flows through the whole valley and lends it its name, rises below the Pizzo Cristallina and flows into the Maggia delta in Lake Maggiore. It has wended its way over the centuries to form the valley we know today, complete with imposing structures such as the granite gorge at the valley’s entrance in Ponte Brolla.
The Vallemaggia is the largest valley in Italian-speaking Switzerland. It includes important and very different side valleys. Turning off in Cevio, halfway up the valley, brings you to the Valle Rovana. Turning left in Cavergno, the last village in the Vallemaggia, takes you to the Val Bavona, while carrying straight on brings you to the Val Lavizzara. There’s also the Valle diLodano with unique beech forests – a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to rare plants and animals.
The Rovana valley is narrow and steeped in history; its far end is a delight. A long, winding road leads to Bosco Gurin, a well-known Walser village, the highest (1504 m) inhabited village in Ticino and the only place in the canton where German is spoken. It’s a popular hiking and skiing destination. Turning left halfway along the valley in Cerentino, you reach the Campo valley, great for scenic hiking and ski tours. The Bavona valley is home to 12 hamlets and takes you back in time. This fairytale world is home to traditional stone houses (rustici) from which smoke rises, large slabs of rock which served as shelter (splüi), huge boulders acting as hanging gardens for nature, colourful flower meadows, steep cliffs and waterfalls; with no electricity (except in San Carlo), the valley is inhabited in summer only. The waterfall in Foroglio is a particular attraction: a cascading natural spectacle and a real source of energy. The Lavizzara is the most inhabited of these side valleys. It’s where world-famous Peccia marble is quarried – the country’s sole source of this rock. Peccia is also home to the International Sculpture Centre, a mecca for artists from the world over.