The Vigezzina Railway: a magical holiday through history and traditions that you have to do at least once in your life!
With the end of the quarantine and the beginning of the summer season, the desire for a vacation or even just a short escape on our lake begins to be felt. For a day full of food and wine and unspoiled nature, I will tell you my itinerary on the panoramic train that connects Italy with Switzerland. Since 1923 the Vigezzina railway connects Domodossola with Locarno through a 52 km route, 2 countries, 83 bridges and 31 tunnels surrounded by architectural masterpieces and nature trails.
From mid-April to mid-October, the Lake Maggiore Express ticket offers the possibility to leave from any of the locations touched on the entire route both by rail and by boat.
My itinerary starts from Stresa in the morning with the Trenitalia train bound for Domodossola.
Once in Domodossola, the panoramic train of the Vigezzina-Centovalli railway awaits me, which will take us through small villages to Locarno.
Entering the Ossola Valley, past Masera and Creggio, where you can admire the valley of the Toce river, we will reach Trontano, surrounded by vineyards and gneiss and serizzo buildings, where the annual mushroom festival is celebrated. Here you can find the vineyards from which they derive the wine produced by Cantine Garrone, the Prünent.
Continuing the path immersed in unspoiled nature, among rocky mountains and spectacular waterfalls, to which a splendid and rich vegetation sets the scene, we enter the Vigezzo Valley where after passing Coimo, where the homonymous bread made with rye flour is produced, you reach Santa Maria Maggiore, the highest point of the railway which offers numerous major events during the year, including the International Chimney Sweeps Meeting, Fuori di Zucca and the Christmas Markets. Since 2019, the Birrificio Ossolano (Ossolano Brewery) has inaugurated its first store where the young master brewers offer their 7 types of unfiltered and pasteurized beer using the water from the Vigezzo springs, in Malesco, at gates of the Val Grande National Park.
From Folsogno and Dissimo, it is possible to reach Monte Gridone where large expanses well sheltered from the winds host the pasture of the animals, and from these characteristics the local alpigiani over the centuries have been able to create cheeses of great value, including the Toma d’Alpeggio, Antigorio cheese and Grasso d’Alpe.
Continuing towards Switzerland, we will cross Camedo which is the last hamlet of the municipality of Centovalli, the border station of our railway line, in Swiss territory.
Intragna, the door that gives access to the Centovalli, houses the Regional Museum of Centovalli and Pedemonte, dedicated to the enhancement of the local historical, cultural and artistic heritage.
Between these two countries there was the only street, called Via del Mercato, the only connection of the high Centovalli that connected traders with the cities.
From Tegna, immersed in a river landscape, you can go into nature, exploring the botanical peculiarities of the region, edible wild herbs used after a slow cold maceration to produce the Amaro Valgrande.
Once in Locarno, walking through the streets of the old town you will reach Piazza Grande, renowned worldwide thanks to the International Film Festival, you can take the ferry and in about three hours will make you admire the castles of Cannero and the islands Borromee, taking you back to Stresa in the evening.
By purchasing a ticket valid for two days, you will also have the possibility to travel on the entire Navigazione Lago Maggiore network.
Don’t worry if you can’t stop at all the stations, we at Piedmont Delights offer you the opportunity to taste all these products made in these unspoiled places!
– Until next time, With Love