You can get up comfortably in the morning and after breakfast ask your hotelier to take you to Vogna Valley, as many hotels have a private shuttle service. Otherwise, you can ask for a taxi or go there with your own car, because it is only 5 km from Alagna. Go to the parking lot of Ca di Janzo from where begins a splendid walk through the Walser hamlets of the Vogna Valley. The road is comfortable and mostly flat and not at all tiring. But the landscape is alpine and very wild and even though it will feel as if you are facing a hike of epic difficulty - we can guarantee it’s the complete opposite. The Vogna stream creeps into the mountains creating real canyons and the environment looks imposing.
You are going to do 3 km hike on a wide, well maintained road, without any difficulty! Walking through villages of wooden houses rich in history, you will reach the hamlet of Peccia with a small lake and the church of San Grato, which witnessed the passage of Napoleon's soldiers.
Here you can have lunch at the farmstay Edelwieiss: a warm and well-kept room with a few tables where Flavia, the hostess, cooks polenta with a myriad of sauces and makes sure to take lots of care of her guests. It will seem as if you’ve stepped back in time There are few other places where you can feel so much at home. Remember to book. Everyone likes farmstay Edelweiss and its polenta is a must for those who choose to spend a weekend in Alagna.
Return home at sundown and when you reach your car in Ca di Janzo, realise that in between all the laughing and joking you will have walked 7 km. You will have reached the daily goal of 10,000 recommended steps without any effort. If you reached the Vogna Valley by car, before returning to Alagna make a stop in Riva Valdobbia, the small village at the end of the road. You cannot pass by and not visit the splendid church of San Michele which overlooks the town square with its huge sixteenth-century fresco depicting the Last Judgment.
You could stop at Da Mario, the bar overlooking the square where an aperitif with gin and tonic is a must. Remember to book your table if you want to be sure to relax at one of the vintage tables in the lounge inside.
The second day you can dedicate to visiting the centre of Alagna. It is a very small village with a central road only 2 km long.
Before starting your trip, we recommend stopping for a coffee at Bar del Centro It is the favourite coffee of the people from Alagna and here you can meet them discussing weather and snow. It is the right place to enter the mood of Alagna: at a slow pace and in a sociable manner.
After reading the newspaper (at the Caffè del Centro, where you can find them all) spend some time visiting the parish church: the seventeenth-century altar in gold leaf and the "portable" Walser altarpiece found in the chapel to the right of the altar are well worth a visit. The Walser, a population in perpetual movement, built an altar, which would religiously be taken with them on their seasonal wanderings.
When you leave the church, do continue on towards the cemetery. In 1990 the engineer Arialdo Daverio, patron and benefactor with a great passion for Walser architecture, died in Alagna. His grave was built as a miniature Walser house in memory of the great work done by Daverio for the census of the huts in Alagna. Since then all the tombs have that shape and the small cemetery now resembles a miniature village.
For lunch there is only one choice if you have followed the path we have suggested: The Refuge of Zam Tachi. Situated beyond the river Sesia, the restaurant is housed in a beautiful original 1600 Walser hut, and overlooks Alagna from its privileged position. Here you will truly find typical dishes. Try masarai potatoes (leeks, milk and potatoes) or Walser soup. Maybe they are not too light on the stomach, but the honestly, the experience is worth it and after lunch, we will guide you to the Walser museum which is one km from here and the walk willdefinitelyhelp with your digestion.
From Zam Tachi, if you keep to the orographic left of the river Sesia, you will arrive at the hamlet Pedemonte. It is a small group of Walser houses gathered around a poetic square, with the monolithic fountain in the centre, which has been bubbling for 500 years. This square faces the Walser museum, which invites you to enter a 600 year old Walser house and peek through the walls of a past life. It is worth it. After the museum, if you still want to walk, go up to the hamlet of Ronco. It is only 200 m far, but it’s all uphill (the final step to burn those extra 100 kcal that always makes the difference). From there you can look at Alagna from above, between houses where time has crystallized, and the present seems light years away.
And today as well, in between laughing and joking, we made you reach 10,000 steps so now, you just have to go back to Alagna. When you are near the church, at the height of the café in the centre where our day together started, enter the old mule track.
In the middle of this road you can stop at the Dairy: it is an old shop selling cheese "in the way God commands"; it is the farm shop of the Muretto farm, a place where you can still find authentic rich and flavourful products. Make sure you taste the most seasoned toma cheeses. They hold near forgotten flavours that will absolutely surprise your taste buds. And if cholesterol is not a problem for you, ask for whipped lard and garlic ... yes, we know that it is a mortal sin, but maybe, once a year, it can be done!
The query what to do in Alagna in a weekend is still in the list of your doubt?