The Great Walser Trail extends across the high fractions of the Vogna Valley and the Valsesia Valley to the side, where the Walsers' presence dates back to 14th century. It is included in the "Art Trails" made by the CAI of Varallo Sesia, and takes you upon the discovery of the Germanic population who first founded the early settlements in the Vallese Canton in Valsesia and the valleys of Anzasca and Formazza, territory which today is located in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola area.
Suitable for everyone, this loop trail on the ancient road to Gressoney and France starts in Riva Valdobbia, a fraction of Cà di Janzo (1,354 metres) and goes past Selveglio, Cà Vescovo and Rabernardo (here, you'll find an ethnographic Ecomuseum set up in a traditional Walser house-workshop dating back to 1640), finally reaching Peccia (1,449 metres). The way back is located in the lower fractions, from Sant'Antonio to Cà Verno, Cà Morca and Cà Piacentino in a natural and wild environment which features splendid stone and wooden lodges with distinctive arcades decorated with flowers, fountains, and furnished with ovens to bake bread for the community, small oratories and chapels.
From the high fractions, you can also reach the section which leads to the Rifugio Ospizio Sottile (2,480 metres a.s.l.), a shelter built in 1822 by presbyter Sottile to provide hospitality to wayfarers traversing the hill. Here theGreat Walser Trail intersects the Great Alpine Crossing, the Via Alpina and the Italia CAI Trail. This spot is a hiking enthusiast's dream: here in the heart of the Alta Valsesia National Park (the highest park in Europe) hikers can reach the summit of Punta Gnifetti in Alagna at 4,559 metres a.s.l. and the Margherita Hut, where there's a vertiginous view of the Southern wall of Mount Rosa, the Valsesia Valley and the Padana plain. The itinerary of the Colle Turlo also traverses the park; Turlo means “small door” in Walser as it was the gateway which allowed the passage of the first settlements of the ancient inhabitants of the Alps in the 19th century from Macugnaga to Alagna . There are many hiking trails for families, such as the beautiful trail from Alagna to Uterio surrounded by 17th century fountains and watermills.
In Rimella, the most ancient Walser centre of Valsesia, three Ecomuseums opens their doors to an ancient refurbished house-workshop. In Alagna, the traditional Walser architecture is visible all around; an example of this style is the Piedmont Ecomuseum, located in a suggestive lodge built in 1628 which has been perfectly preserved. Walser culture is all about art and trades, costumes and memories, traditional food and wines. On occasions such as the great fair of San Michele in Alagna and Riva Valdobbia, which takes place every year in September, you can stock up on mountain potatoes and tasty tome cheese such as the Maccagno, a PAT and Slow Food product. To explore the origin of this cheese, visit the Maccagno alpine pasture at 2,188 metres a.s.l., accessible from Riva Valdobbia; here, you can enjoy the unique micro-climate of this brightly-lit basin which blooms from June to October.