Detox? Nowadays it has become an overused term that means everything and nothing. What we are talking about is following a specific diet, purifying energy that needs to be replenished, reclaiming lost concentration, putting your mood in the right position and kickstarting your metabolism, in short, giving you the means to make a change or take a step back. In Alagna we have a suggestion: spend a few days suspended between nature, well-being and passive activities and it will reduce all symptoms because most of the time, the secret lies in knowing how to unplug.
Let’s start with accommodation:
B&B 3 Alberi Liberi, 3 Km from Alagna centre, in the hamlet of Riva Valdobbia. It overlooks Monte Rosa, has a large garden with hammock and flowers in summer and a sauna and hay baths in winter. Elena, the hostess, who works magic in the kitchen, knows how to spoil you with cakes and homemade jam and is obsessive in the choice of local products, especially cheeses, which she personally looks for in the mountain pastures during the summer. It is said that Elena, at the age of 6, asked for Grandma Duck’s cookbook as a gift for Christmas and that’s what she got. And that’s how a legend was born.
Alagna Experience Resort in via Dei Martiri in the centre of Alagna, is a 4-star hotel with character with a crackling fire in the stove managed by Michela, who pays careful attention to her guests and pampers them with courtesy and discretion and it has a large indoor and outdoor heated swimming pool with a beauty parlour, Turkish bath and wellness area, where massages and beauty treatments are available daily.
Relais Regina at the entrance of the Vogna Valley, is a historical building built in the early 1900s that still retains all the charm of the past. It was used as a base for Prince Umberto of Savoy on his visit to Valsesia. It was also chosen by Sibilla Aleramo for a detox week after yet another fight with Campana. Today, however, it has great added value: the wellness area with sauna overlooking the larch wood of the Vogna Valley, a Gessi hydromassage system and relaxation area with 0 km organically homegrown herbal tea, because here the tradition of collecting mountain herbs for brewing tea is rooted among the inhabitants. The Vogna Valley was home to the great botanist Carestia whose herbarium, collected in Valsesia between 1854 and 1900, is now kept in part in the Botanical Garden in Turin and in part in the “Carestia – Tirozzo” Herbarium Museum in Fobello.
Tips for your detox routine
In the morning, after waking up in your room in the mountains, ask to be taken to Riva’s Market Square. It is within walking distance from the B&B 3 Alberi Liberi, while from the Alagna Experience Resort, you can take the shuttle that connects Alagna and Riva and from the Relais Regina, you can take the shuttle provided by the hotel to get to the market square.
From Piazza del Mercato, take the path through the houses of Riva and follow it. Don’t worry about getting lost: there is only one. The road will lead you to the highway just before reaching the tunnel Alzarella. To the left of the tunnel, there is a path that runs alongside it and if you take it, you won’t have to walk through the tunnel. You will reach the Isolella bridge, which is rather in a sad state of neglect, but until a few years ago it was the only point of passage on the Sesia to get to Alagna. Today it is closed to traffic, but it is not dangerous at all, and after 200 years it is only waiting for someone to make it accessible again.
You can reach it on foot or by bike without any difficulty. Immediately after the bridge, it turns back in the direction of Alagna on the left bank of the Sesia. A long walk lies before you on a comfortable, flat path, among the birches and beech trees of Gabbio. In this section in the summer, you will also find sections of a guided route with sports exercises.
By the time you reach Ponte del Gabbio, it will be lunchtime and when you cross the bridge you will be at the Chalet restaurant in less than a minute. We suggest you sit in the private room with the fireplace and a view of Monte Rosa because we know that the view while detoxing, is very important!
Your hostess Erika is the person to best recommend a well-balanced lunch, which will help you find your equilibrium. Tell her that we at Alagna.it are the ones who led you to her, and she will lay out her best culinary creations for you.
After lunch? Be tempted by the deck chairs aptly positioned in the sun in the garden of the restaurant. Rest is essential for your physical and mental well-being.
The route back to Riva from the Chalet is via the old trail that led to “super ripam” (from where the name of the village originates). This is also because in the past, the village was, more or less, in the area where you find yourself, but after a terrible flood in 1400, it was purposefully moved “super ripam / over the ridge” which was considered safer.
All you have to do now is return to your hotel and treat yourself to the hay bath if you are staying at the 3 Alberi Liberi, or blissfully relax with the detoxifying massages, if you are at the Alagna Experience Resort. And if, on the other hand, you have chosen the Regina Relais, rush off to the sauna and immerse yourself in the breathtaking views of the woods visible from the large windows.
Do you want to extend your stay by another day?
This is the time for you to see Alagna up close. Go to the police station and take their parking lot as a reference point. It is in walking distance from the resort Experience; from Riva, you have to take the shuttle and get off at the buss-stop for Camping. Follow the road to Fum D’Ekku and immediately after the army barracks turn left and you will find the hamlet Resiga with its few houses, a small square, the small church of San Defendente and behind it the waterfall of Otro. You can reach it without any difficulties by following the path that leads to the sawmill from which the hamlet takes its name.
In the past, this was the location where timber was gathered and then cut by the water sawmill, which can still be visited today. Sit on the sawmill stairs and listen to the sound of the waterfall. This is a perfect start to your day.
Next, head in the direction of Alagna centre, retracing your steps and continuing past the army barracks on the way to Fum d’Ekku. You will see the narrow streets that enter the hamlet, Reale. Choose one at random as they all lead to the same place: the small village square. This is the model on which Alagna was built: small groups of houses gathered around a small square with a fountain in the centre, a communal oven, and a church.
Small self-sufficient communities that managed to survive without the need for great mobility during the winters of past centuries. From the Piazzetta del Reale the trail leads you to the centre of Alagna. Following it, you will reach an imposing stone building: the Unione Alagnese theatre which was inaugurated in 1900 with the scenography of Ercole Sormani, the lively cultural centre of the community. The Unione restaurant is located inside the theatre. It is an informal setting that has welcomed theatre guests for over 120 years.
Ask Paola, the lady of the house, if she could give you a sneak peek at the theatre hall, because it will undoubtedly be a magnificent experience. If you stop to eat at the restaurant, we would obviously suggest you do not choose the raclette if you are here for a true detox weekend, but if you do, we will not breathe a word to anyone, because we are strongly convinced that bending the rules also has a purifying effect.