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v) ITINERARY 20 - Naturalistic Spiritual Walk

Ossola
Switzerland

MAP OF THE ITINERARY

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Itinerary Description
The path named "Naturalistic Spiritual Walk" combines the Sacro Monte Calvario of Domodossola, a UNESCO world heritage site, with the "Via delle Cappelle" of Saas-Fee. This is a road to travel at the slow pace of a curious observer, able to let himself be moved and amazed while contemplating the beauty of nature, and also ready to admire man-made buildings, evidence that people have lived in the mountains since ancient times. Following ancient paths, immersing oneself in nature and listening to the sounds of the mountain will help to prepare the mind and heart to meeting the memory of the past, which remains and is renewed in traditions, as suggested in the many panels along the way. The itinerary starts at an elevation of 271 metres, in Domodossola, and climbs to an altitude of 2,883 metres at the Passo di Saas (Passo di Antrona for the Swiss). It offers a wide variety of alpine environments, from the forests of broad-leaved trees in the first part of the path to high altitude scenarios and landscapes of the glaciers of the Mischabel group, one of the most important in the Swiss Alps (with 11 peaks above 4,000 meters). Crossing the Valley of Troncone is also very impressive, with its clear waters that sculpt the rocks into the characteristic "potholes".
Leaving the historic centre of Domodossola behind us, we start the mule tract that climbs to Colle Mattarella, where the Special Nature Reserve of Sacro Monte Calvario is located. The road is dotted with the chapels of the Via Crucis. We continues along the "Via dei Torch e dei Mulini", a historical road between Domodossola and Villadossola that passes through the ancient villages of Anzuno, Tappia, Sogno and Varchignoli, touching places steeped in ancient rural culture and tradition. Here, they used to cultivate rye and the Prunent grapes, adapting the steep hillsides with impressive terraces.
From Boschetto, we go into Valle Antrona, along another historic road, the "Strada Antronesca", which linked the towns and villages in the valley. There are several places of interest scattered throughout the itinerary: from rural culture linked to rye farming in Montescheno to the lively mining activity that were once linked to iron and gold extraction and refining of metals in different places between Viganella and Antrona. There is no lack of spiritual and religious elements either, with numerous chapels and the Buddhist centre in the locality Bordo.
In Antrona, the itinerary becomes decidedly more of a hike, when we enter the Valle del Troncone, in the Natural Park of the Upper Antrona Valley (Parco Nazionale dell'Alta Valle Antrona). The path flanks the Lake of Antrona, which was formed by a huge landslide in 1642, and then gain altitude rapidly until we reach the hydroelectric reservoir of Campliccioli. Our walk continues amid larches, rhododendrons and mountain pine up to the pastures of Lombraoro. From here, the most challenging part of the journey begins. We go towards the Passo di Saas, passing by another artificial lake, the Lake of Cingino, whose dam has been made famous by the ibex that, with the skill of acrobats, climb up to lick the saltpeter that exudes from the cement.
Near the pass, we can see the remains of the ancient rest areas where travellers stopped on their journeys to sell goods destined to markets and fairs in the lower part of the valley.
The descent toward Saas Fee offers spectacular views of the peaks of border, and we cross ancient summer pastures and villages characteristic of the Walser culture, with buildings made of stone and wood.
The itinerary ends after we travel the Kappelweg (Road of the Chapels), with the chapels decorated to tell about the life of Jesus, at the village of Saas Fee, with its characteristic Walser houses.

POINTS OF INTEREST
Domodossola
Sacro Monte Calvario
Santuario della Madonna della Neve
Palazzo di Città
Civico Museo di Palazzo Silva
Teatro Galletti
Museo di Scienze Naturali “Mellerio Rosmini”
Biblioteca civica “Gianfranco Contini”
Monumento alla Resistenza Ossolana
Monumento a Geo Chavez
Oratorio di S. Antonio ad Anzuno

Villadossola
Chiesa di S. Zeno a Tappia
Oratorio di S. Giovanni Evangelista a Sogno
Area megalitica di Varchignoli
Oratorio dei SS. Antonio Abate e Giulio

Montescheno
Chiesa dei SS. Giovanni Battista e Carlo

Seppiana
Chiesa di Sant'Ambrogio

Viganella
Chiesa della Natività di Maria
Dimora storica “Casa Vanni”
Museo del Ferro
Bordo

Antrona
Museo dell'oro a Madonna
Oratorio di Locasca
Via Crucis di Antrona
Chiesa di San Lorenzo
Parco Naturale dell'Alta Valle Antrona
Lago di Antrona
Lago di Campliccioli
Valle del Troncone
Diga del Cingino
Passo di Saas

Saas Almagell
Antica sosta dei someggiatori
Alpeggio di Furggalp
Borgo di Zermeiggern
Chiesa di Saas Almagell
Edifici Walser a Saas Almagell

Saas Fee
Via delle Cappelle – Kapellenweg
Santuario di Notre Dame des Marches
Chiesa di Saas Fee
Chiesa Protestante
Edifici Walser a Saas Fee

FACILITIES
ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES DISTRETTO DEI LAGHI AREA
ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES SAAS FEE AREA

TECHNICAL NOTES
LEGS: the journey is recommended in 5 legs, from Domodossola to Boschetto (km 12), from Boschetto to Antrona (km 15), from Antrona to Passo di Saas (km 13), from Passo di Saas to Saas Almagell (km 14.5 ), and from Saas Almagell the Saas Fee (km 6.5 )
DIFFERENCE IN ELEVATION: DIFFERENCE IN ELEVATION: lowest altitude of the itinerary, 200 m a.s.l.; highest, 2883 m a.s.l.
See the map.
TYPE OF PATH: Excursion - MAINLY DIRT ROADS

FOR MORE DETAILS
www.areeprotetteossola.it
www.saas-fee.ch
www.sacromontedomodossola.it
www.amossola.it
www.caivilladossola.it
www.sac-saas.ch

TOURIST INFORMATIONDistretto Turistico dei Laghi, Monti e Valli d'Ossola -
www.distrettolaghi.it
tel. +39 032330416/fax 0323934335