Sesia Valley

In the past this valley was considered as not a key territory but this was a choise of the inhabitants because it guarantieed freedom and self-management from the XI to the XVII century. Today the valley is part of Piedmont but the inhabitants feel more from Lombardy because they were part of Milan duchy from the 1400 to the 1700.


In this territory there is also an other peculiarity the presence of Walser: it was a german population that was based from the 1300 on the top of the valley that were not used all the year. The arrival of Napoleon army will end this “gold” period and the industrial developlment brought an evolution of the business network, a leaving of the little villages and collapsing of the agricoltural works.


Today this Valley is still evolving: it is present a strong engineering manifacturing, a return to the pastoralism life and a new touristic development. Tourism is a key sector because the Sesia River is perfect for the river sports, the mountain for the outdoor sports and the ski complex Monterosa Ski, known also as Freeride Paradise for the winder sports.


Valsesian culture expands between two main strands that intertwine endlessly: agro-pastoral culture and religious tradition. From the agro-pastoral tradition we can now enjoy a dense network of paths and pastures set in these green valleys from which to enjoy breathtaking views. From the deep-rooted religious cult we can visit a thousand and more chapels, oratories and churches, each with a particularity and a reference to the territory and its history. The pride of this area is the Sacro Monte di Varallo, a UNESCO site.

Sacro Monte of Varallo

This religious monument, built from the end of the fifteenth century by the will of Blessed Bernardino Caimi, is today a place of pilgrimage but also of cultural visits. This is because the path of chapels and its life-size statues, in addition to narrating the story of Jesus, embodies valuable artistic testimonies, in particular, but not only, of Gaudenzio Ferrari and Tanzio da Varallo. To this it is added the historical relevance with respect to the local territorial context and beyond, so much so as to have been taken as a model for all the other "Sacri Monti".


In addition to the Sacro Monte, there are numerous cultural sites that can be visited: the Pinacoteca di Varallo is the second most important in Piedmont; the Parete Gaudenziana, National Monument; the Museum of Campertogno; the Gipsoteca Pietro della Vedova of Alta Sermenza; the Permanent Exhibition of the Puncetto in Fobello; the Walser Museum of Alagna and many others! Here is the link to the ATL Valsesia and Vercelli website dedicated to them.

Food and Wine

Given the agro-pastoral culture, Valsesian cuisine is characterized by simplicity and substance: the miaccia reigns supreme, crispy waffle cooked in red-hot iron plates whose pasta is based on eggs, flour and milk (or cream), served salted with Valsesian cheese called Toma or sweet with jam or honey. It cannot be missed also polenta or trout, cooked with butter and sage. They must be eat drinking a good full-bodied glass of local wine (Gattinara, Boca, Vespolina, etc.,). From the Piedmontese tradition it is easy to find in the menu ravioli and bagna cauda, ​​that is like a sause based on anchovy where you can immerse vegetables. There are also salami and different types of cheese made with cow and goat milks .. in short, a heritage that will satisfy every palate!

Local Craftsmanship

The Valsesian Craftsmanship focuses on its mountain agro-pastoral tradition: therefore mainly we find objects used in common life and in the mountain pastures and in the embellishment of the few livelihoods. An example of this are the "scapin" used as shoes in the past and today as "slippers" at home: they are entirely handmade and using only natural fibers (fabric and rope). Then we have the "puncetto": a unique lace of its kind that can be found in both the colored and the white version to decorate (not only) the traditional female costumes in a thousand variations. These are combined with the mastery in the carving of wood that can be found applied to tools and furniture.

Trekking Routes

Valsesia with its Monte Rosa, the second highest peak in Italy (4634 m a.s.l.), has always been a milestone for mountaineering tourism since its inception. Today the dense trail network that connected the valley floor to the mountain pastures is a unique resource for experiencing excursions immersed in nature and breathing clean air. Thanks to the commitment of the local communities and the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) of Varallo this heritage is accessible, freely accessible and offers routes with varying degrees of difficulty. A small curiosity: not many know that the CAI section of Varallo is the third oldest section in Italy, founded in 1867.