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The Ossola is a leaf-shaped complex of Alpine valleys in the northern tip of Piedmont bordering on Switzerland, wedged between the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Valais. Seven valleys make up the area, branching off the central river plain of the main Ossola Valley, which contains a number of ancient little towns and villages, such as: Montecrestese, Crevoladossola, Masera, Trontano, Beura, Villadossola, Pallanzeno, Piedimulera, Vogogna, Pieve Vergonte, Anzola, Premosello Chiovenda, Cuzzago, Ornavasso e Mergozzo.
Ossola area = 1.600 km2.
Highest point: Monte Rosa 4635 m. / Lowest point: Mergozzo 196 m.
Officially protected nature in Ossola = 306 km2 = 1/5 .
(National Park Valgrande and Natural Parks Veglia-Devero-Antrona)
Main city Domodossola = 19.000 inhabitants. Ossola: 38 cities/villages and 68.000 inhabitants.
Valle Anzasca Monte Rosa 4635 m.
Situated in the south-western part of
the Ossola area, the Anzasca Valley, in common with the other
valleys in the area, has managed to keep its rural character and its pristine
nature. The valley extends from Piedimulera up to Macugnaga, and along the route
lie a series of characteristic stone-built Alpine villages: Castiglione,
Calasca, Vanzone and San Carlo.
The Antrona Valley is one of the
seven valleys making up the Ossola area, and is well worth exploring. The steep
road leading up to the valley begins in Villadossola.
The area is a land of ancient traditions, characteristic villages and
marvellous landscapes in which enchanting mountain lakes shimmer among woods of
birch and larch. Numerous trails over gentle or rugged territory offer the
possibility of relaxing walks, more strenuous hiking or mountain biking. This is
a valley where peace and silence can still be found, surprising visitors used to
a hectic pace of life.
Only 7 km from Domodossola, the
Bognanco Valley features lush vegetation and springs of pure water.
The main village in the valley, also called Bognanco, owes to these
springs, the curative properties of which were discovered in 1863. The Spa
Centre of Bognanco dates from this time, and was built in the Parco delle
Sorgenti (Park of the Springs) amid gardens and luxuriant woodland.
From here the road winds uphill to where the valley opens out into a beautiful
prospect of mountain slopes covered with chestnut and fir woods alternating with
broad Alpine pastures. The higher part of the valley, where the village of San
Lorenzo nestles, is a broad cirque of meadows and woods surmounted by rugged
The Divedro Valley, the route to the
Simplon Pass, links Ossola with the Wallis/Valais canton in Switzerland.
The valley is studded with villages, of which Varzo is the main centre; the
lateral valley of Cairasca extends from here to San Domenico and further up to
the beautiful broad cirque of Alpe Veglia, a protected area sharing the status
of Natural Park with Alpe Devero and Antrona. Dominating the northern part of the Divedro
Valley, Trasquera is located close to the Swiss border, high up on a natural terrace
permanently exposed to the sun.
The Vigezzo Valley lies in the
north-west of the Ossola area of Piedmont, between the Antigorio-Formazza and
Cannobina Valleys. The valley continues into
Switzerland, and the two countries are linked by the historic “Vigezzina”
railway which runs through the valley to Locarno over a 55 km route of tunnels,
high viaducts and spectacular landscape.
Mergozzo lake 196 m.
Mergozzo is picturesquely situated near the Borromean Gulf, separated during the ninth century from Lake Maggiore due to the continual flooding of the River Toce. The stone houses huddle close together, separated only by narrow lanes. The central square of the village is dominated by an ancient elm tree: historical documents attest that the tree was growing in the square as many as 400 years ago. Now completely hollow, it has been given the title of a “monumental tree of Piedmont”.
Mergozzo was inhabited in antiquity, as is illustrated by the extensive collections in the Antiquarium museum, which displays finds from the prehistoric and Bronze ages, as well as old tools that were once used to extract and shape the granite from the quarry of Montorfano and the marble of Candoglia. At Groppole there is an important megalithic complex with two cup marks and a serpenti form gutter. Slightly elliptical in shape, bordered by stone walls and covered by a great serizzo granite boulder, the structure is known as Ca' d'la Norma and is dated to the Copper and Bronze Ages.
Though Lago Maggiore and Lake Orta are good for swimming, water sports (blue flag), Lake Mergozzo has always been known for its clean lake.
Webcam Masera Ossola 29-11-2012 / 1-4-2013
(pictures open new window).
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Webcam Masera Ossola 1-4-2013 / 6-2-2014
(picture open new window).
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