From San Domenico di Varzo to the Natural Park of Alpe Veglia
From summer to winter nature, charm and ancient traditions
The Divedro Valley: a mountain area like you do not expect it
The Divedro Valley is located due north of Domodossola, on the right bank of the Toce River, where it receives the Diveria stream’s waters, near Crevola. The Valley divides the Pennine Alps from the Lepontine Alps and geographically ends at the Simplon Pass. The political border is located about 16 km away from the edge of the Valley, therefore most of the Diveria basin is in Switzerland.
The whole Valley, considered as a whole, both in terms of landscape and morphology, with the wild gorges of Gondo, magnificent Simplon Pass, superb Napoleonic road, and colossal railway tunnel, is the most evocative of the Ossola and one of the most interesting from a visitor’s point of view across the entire Alpine range.
The Valley at the beginning develops in a north-west direction and then, almost as an arc, towards the west, and in this stretch, where Varzo rises, the bottom of the Cairasca Valley branches off, which is the only one on the Italian side of the Divedro Valley.
The freeway that runs through the Ossola in the middle section leads quickly through the tunnel that crosses the Colmine, just over 2 km long, to the Divedro Valley and its capital, Varzo. With its 2,200 inhabitants, the town extends over the sunny terraces on the left side of the Diveria River. The “Varzo” name perhaps derives from the Celtic “vargo” which means “opening, widening,” and here, in fact, the Divedro Valley, after the dark and wild gorges of Gondo, widens into a sunny landscape.
From Varzo, passing through the village, take the provincial road that climbs to the north of the town and enters the Cairasca Valley. The Valley, crossed by the stream by the same name, is rich in tall vegetation and chestnut trees. After the first hairpin bends, it is possible to reach San Carlo’s oratory and, a little further on, the chapel of Maulone. The broad-leaf tree forest is replaced by those of conifers: larches, pines, and firs. After a plateau, the road reaches a crossroads: crossing the Cairasca it is possible to reach Trasquera, while continuing along the river it is possible to reach San Domenico.
A few kilometers away from Varzo stands San Domenico with its San Domenico Ski resort dedicated to winter sports, thanks to the modern ski lifts that lead to the beautiful Alpe Ciamporino.
San Domenico is also the starting point of the footpath that leads to the splendid and unspoiled Natural Park of Alpe Veglia, a true natural paradise for families and hikers.
Instead, going along the Sempione state road 33, it is possible to leave Varzo and reach, through the new freeway, the Iselle station. A little further on, the village perched along the road. After going past the Italian customs, the Valley becomes narrow, and in a short time, it reaches the Swiss-Italian border. On the other side of the border, there is the small village of Gondo, with several stores, gas stations, and currency exchange venues. The imposing and square Stockalper tower stands out immediately. Built in the seventeenth century and used as a shelter by travelers passing through the Simplon pass. Gondo rises at the confluence of the Val Vaira, which opens to the left and is crossed by a scenic road. After passing the gorges of Gondo, the road continues to climb up to an altitude of 2,006 meters, where the Simplon Pass is located, from which you can enjoy views of rare beauty.
- 30 km long
- Verbano Cusio Ossola Province (Piedmont)
- Ski Resort: San Domenico Ski
The main mountains that surround the Valley are:
Weissmies – 4.023 m
Lagginhorn – 4. 010 m
Fletschhorn – 3.993 m
Monte Leone – 3.552 m
Pizzo Pioltone – 2.610 m
Pizzo Diei – 2.906 m
Monte Cistella – 2.880 m