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Riale-Ponte (I)
ViaSbrinz
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Stage 5, Obergesteln–Ponte (I)
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Riale-Ponte (I)

Riale-Ponte (I)

Those using the old Walser trails and the ViaSbrinz in the Val Formazza to the south of the Griespass will be reminded of Goms: the hamlets with sun-browned wooden houses still bear Walser-German names. Riale's German name is Chärbäch.
Riale is located in the Val Formazza (German Pomatt), the upper part of the valley in northern Piemont (Italy) that was shaped by the River Toce and has a Walser history. The Griespass (border crossing to Switzerland) provides a link to the Nufenenpass, from where you can reach Goms or the Val Bedretto. To the south, the continuation of the valley to Domodossola is called the Valle Antigorio. The Val Formazza was an important trading route in earlier times; a mule track led from the Valais over the Griespass into the Lombardy.

The valley is the only Walser colony directly bordering Goms, the original home of the Walser people. The Val Formazza was settled by the German-speaking Walsers in the Middle Ages, evidenced by the local dialect (Walserdeutsch) still sometimes spoken, the style of the houses and many German place names and names of geographical features. The Pomatt was twice settled by the Walsers. After the Battle of Marignano in 1515, the Swiss finally had to cede the valley to the Duchy of Milan.

The romantic valley landscape has been shaped by former glaciers and is rich in natural and dammed mountain lakes as well as waterfalls. The most impressive of these is the Toce Fall in the upper part of the valley, where the waters plunge 143 metres into the depths.

With their sun-browned chalets and storehouses, the hamlets that form the municipality of Formazza are strongly reminiscent of Goms. Ponte (Zumstäg) was the seat of the Walser community in Pomatt until 1837 and is still the valley centre. The valley museum in the Casa Forte is well worth a visit. The village of Riale is in the uppermost part of the valley. Its Walser-German name «Chärbäch», comes from the Toce, the mountain stream that winds at a right angle over the swampy plain («chert»). In winter, Riale is famous for its cross-country ski piste.

Valdo (Wald), also a picturesque Walser settlement, has skilifts for Alpine sport as well as the Sagersboden chairlift. More cross-country-skiing options are found in San Michele (Tuffald).

Highlights

  • Pomatt Walser colony - in the 13th century the Walsers immigrated from neighbouring Goms to settle in the rugged and romantic countryside.
  • Riale Formazza - one of Italy's most beautiful cross-country ski pistes, a training magnet for international teams of athletes.
  • Casa Forte in Ponte - a small, lovingly designed valley museum on the history of the Walser colony in today's Val Formazza.
  • Toce waterfall - near the hamlet of La Frua, plunges 143 metres into the depths, however no longer an all-year- round attraction since the construction of the Morasco reservoir.
Those using the old Walser trails and the ViaSbrinz in the Val Formazza to the south of the Griespass will be reminded of Goms: the hamlets with sun-browned wooden houses still bear Walser-German names. Riale's German name is Chärbäch.
Riale is located in the Val Formazza (German Pomatt), the upper part of the valley in northern Piemont (Italy) that was shaped by the River Toce and has a Walser history. The Griespass (border crossing to Switzerland) provides a link to the Nufenenpass, from where you can reach Goms or the Val Bedretto. To the south, the continuation of the valley to Domodossola is called the Valle Antigorio. The Val Formazza was an important trading route in earlier times; a mule track led from the Valais over the Griespass into the Lombardy.

The valley is the only Walser colony directly bordering Goms, the original home of the Walser people. The Val Formazza was settled by the German-speaking Walsers in the Middle Ages, evidenced by the local dialect (Walserdeutsch) still sometimes spoken, the style of the houses and many German place names and names of geographical features. The Pomatt was twice settled by the Walsers. After the Battle of Marignano in 1515, the Swiss finally had to cede the valley to the Duchy of Milan.

The romantic valley landscape has been shaped by former glaciers and is rich in natural and dammed mountain lakes as well as waterfalls. The most impressive of these is the Toce Fall in the upper part of the valley, where the waters plunge 143 metres into the depths.

With their sun-browned chalets and storehouses, the hamlets that form the municipality of Formazza are strongly reminiscent of Goms. Ponte (Zumstäg) was the seat of the Walser community in Pomatt until 1837 and is still the valley centre. The valley museum in the Casa Forte is well worth a visit. The village of Riale is in the uppermost part of the valley. Its Walser-German name «Chärbäch», comes from the Toce, the mountain stream that winds at a right angle over the swampy plain («chert»). In winter, Riale is famous for its cross-country ski piste.

Valdo (Wald), also a picturesque Walser settlement, has skilifts for Alpine sport as well as the Sagersboden chairlift. More cross-country-skiing options are found in San Michele (Tuffald).

Highlights

  • Pomatt Walser colony - in the 13th century the Walsers immigrated from neighbouring Goms to settle in the rugged and romantic countryside.
  • Riale Formazza - one of Italy's most beautiful cross-country ski pistes, a training magnet for international teams of athletes.
  • Casa Forte in Ponte - a small, lovingly designed valley museum on the history of the Walser colony in today's Val Formazza.
  • Toce waterfall - near the hamlet of La Frua, plunges 143 metres into the depths, however no longer an all-year- round attraction since the construction of the Morasco reservoir.

Arrival and return Riale-Ponte (I)

Adresse

Ufficio Turistico - Proloco Formazza
Fraz. Ponte
28863 Formazza
Tel. +39 0324 63059
prolocoformazza@libero.it
www.valformazza.it

Services

Accommodation

Hotel Garni Oberrhein
Hotel Garni Oberrhein
Rheinfelden - Baden (D)
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Hiking in

Riale-Ponte (I)
ViaSbrinz
ViaSbrinz
Stage 5, Obergesteln–Ponte (I)
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