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Valley of the Heart

Otro, sweet steep valley'.

This is how the valley is mentioned in a village song

The valley we are about to get to know is in the heart of every people in Alagna.

It is a lush green valley, lived in for centuries and a popular destination for every one.

Our journey begins here, driven by curiosity about the place that enchants everyone.

We start with the Alagnese Union Theatre, a perfectly preserved historic theatre from the early 1900s.

One hundred and twenty-four years and not feeling it!

In the hamlet of Reale di Sopra, we pass a beautiful house with a fresco on the façade depicting the Madonna and Child. How much grace and skill if we think that these ancestors of ours lived from farming and stockbreeding.

Up we go!

We take the well-marked path 203. The steps impose silence, breath must be saved and

after 10 minutes, here is the first stop.

The view that opens up between the trees lets us admire the whole of Alagna. A sign indicates 'Der Spiegel', the mirror, a very apt name! As we follow the path, we come across huts and the remains of terraces used as fields.

Every corner, every clearing shows signs of man's work

Signs and Faith

About halfway along the route we find a stone fountain engraved with some bizarre signs or runes.

These are the 'Huszaiche' symbols of the Houses of the Alagnese Families. They are signs that we find in all old houses, on door jambs but also on everyday objects, furnishings and work tools.

We realise more and more that the Walser were tireless workers, accustomed to the altitude and harsh climate but also artists, painters and sculptors.

And men of faith, ancestral faith. And, indeed, in a moment we come upon the" Stone of the Madonna" , where tradition says the hand of the Blessed Virgin is imprinted.

Our friendly Dolfi, an inhabitant of Otro, has honoured the place with an original painting and a prayer in Titszchu, the Walser language.

The never-ending forest

The route climbs through coniferous and beech forests.

If you pay attention, you can see squirrels scampering over the trunks in search of the seeds of the spruce cones (of which they are greedy). They are the acrobats of the forest and you will recognise them by their thick tail, which acts as a parachute and a balance.

The green basin and its festive people

We arrive at the edge of the forest and the valley basin of Valle di Otro appears to us with its beautifully arranged larch houses and the little church of the Madonna della Neve, which is celebrated by the hamlets on 5 August.

Mark the date because the feast is accompanied by the songs and dances of the Folkloristic Group and it is possible to win some excellent dairy products at the offering auction that follows the Mass.

And if the aromas of the kitchen at Rifugio Zar Senni tickle your nose, you'll find the indefatigable Ivana intent on preparing some excellent game.

The polenta, on the other hand, is prepared directly in the cauldron outside; a field kitchen run by her husband Marco, and between drinks and laughter, no one is left empty-mouthed!

And now we learn the names of the fractions

The names of the hamlets in the basin are not Italianised but are in such recurring use that you won't be able to forget them:

Feljeretsch the easternmost hamlet. In the old days, there was a tavern that has now come back to life as an accommodation facility

Follu (milk strainer) perhaps so called because there was the old dairy, now converted into a hut

Fum Tschukke (On the rock) and in fact directly built on the rock overlooking the valley.

(Passing between the houses from the hamlet you can reach the Belvedere from which you can enjoy the best view of Alagna).

Dorf, with its houses facing south, in line with the modern idea of energy saving in the third millennium.

The bread oven at the entrance to the hamlet has been restored and is fully functional.

We continue on and arrive at the last hamlet

Zar Skorpiu, the houses have engraved construction dates and we find some really old ones


Here, too, the oven is used for the traditional Bread Festival organised by the people of the hamlet.

Our journey ends here!

The Otro Valley, on the other hand, continues and you can reach alpine pastures, hills and passes, creating your own heart's route.

Get inspired
Book with Monterosa Booking, call the number 0163 1900925
Tourist Office of Alagna Valsesia
0163 922 988

Alagna Tourist Office is open every day from 9am to 12.30pm and from 3pm to 5.30pm
December 25th Christmas - Closed
1 January - Closed all day
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