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A loop itinerary to explore the numerous hamlets located around Varzo. The excursion unfolds along pretty mule tracks, stretches of trails and roads within the towns. Be extra vigilant between Coggia and Staggiolo: the trail is narrow and uneven.
Departing from the car park behind the pretty parish church of San Giorgio (St. George) in Varzo, take the road to arrive at Cattagna. Nearly to the end of the hamlet, following the signs for the “Sentiero dei Tassi” trail, turn left for the paved lanes, then head up the steep mule path that climbs to the right between two houses and which almost immediately crosses the street for Durogna. Continue on the mule track that rises into the woods, always following the “Sentiero dei Tassi” signs, and you will soon reach the characteristic oratory of Durogna. Descend on the pretty paved mule path along Via Crucis (second half of the 1700s) with its impressive chapels, to quickly reach La Colla and the oratory of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist). Walk along the plain to cross the stream and begin the climb up the pretty mule track, passing Bassogno to reach Coggia with its oratory dedicated to the Assumption (Assunta in Italian) and the impressive fresco painted by Giuseppe Borgnis on its eastern facade. Climb the steep stairway that leads to the upper part of the hamlet with a pretty, noble house called “del Vescovo” for the fresco depicting the emblems of bishops (vescovo in Italian means “bishop”). Cross through the entire village, follow along the plain until reaching a curious wooden bridge and immediately after, where the fork in the trail is, turn left to follow the arrow indicating the bicycle route. In this stretch until Staggiolo, the trail is a bit narrow and uneven.

From the Staggiolo oratory (dating to 1615), continue along the hillside to reach Case Giorgio, then descend until you cross the street for San Domenico in the hamlet of Porta. Keep going downhill through pretty clearings until crossing the street once again, this time in the hamlet of Piaggio (the washhouse). Descend through the hamlet, following the green arrows drawn on the road. Pass the oratory of Piaggio dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits (Madonna degli Eremiti) and in the village of Mugnè (the washhouse) take the paved street that shortly leads to the oratory of Pasquè dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto.

From the oratory, continue along the plain until Case Stanga to then arrive at the hamlet of Bertonio and its oratory dedicated to St. Peter and St. John the Baptist (San Pietro e San Giovanni Battista, d. 1665). Cross through the hamlet to take Via Galtarossa, pass alongside Villa Dresco and Villa Galtarossa and you’ll come to the hamlet of Fontana with its characteristic series of washhouses. A short detour leads to Villa Nante. In the centre of Fontana, an old sign which marks a trattoria on the ancient Napoleonic road of Sempione – shortly thereafter you’ll reach the oratory of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). Returning on Via Galtarossa, pass alongside Villa Gentinetta, seat of the entity that manages the protected wilderness areas of Ossola and the archaeological museum with its multimedia exhibitions on the history of these valleys and, in particular, the Mesolithic hunters that 8,000 years ago roamed the Veglia basin in search of their prey. Continue on the flat plain crossing the hamlet of Alneda with the oratory of Saint Roch and Saint Sebastian (San Rocco and San Sebastiano) (1644). The hike concludes by returning to the centre of Varzo with its nice medieval tower and church.

Last update: 06/03/2019 ore 13:20:16

Itinerary informations

Starting Point

Varzo, the square in front of the church


F00 + F06 + F10 + connections + F00

Altitude Difference Going Up

330 m

Altitude Difference Going Down

330 m

Track Length

8,0 km

Elapsed Track Traversal Time

2 h 45 min

Difficulty Level

T (easy)


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