Places to visit in the mountains

The Formazza Valley, noted for its Alpine meadows and for its abundant waters and waterfalls, was the place of the first Walser settlement. The Walsers were a people who came from the valley of the Valais in Switzerland, crossing the border in the 13th century to settle in the Western Alps. The Walser culture expresses itself in the architecture of its wooden chalets with hand-built stone roofs and in the traditional clothes.

The waterfall regarded as the most spectacular in the Alps, the Toce Falls, is in the Formazza Valley at the place called La Frua (1861 m. a.s.l.), an excellent departure point for long hikes. The water of this impressive natural spectacle falls for 143 metres, and spreads out at the bottom to a breadth of 60 metres.

As the river is diverted to be used for hydroelectric power, the falls can be seen only on certain days and at certain times during the summer. A hotel built at the top of the falls in 1863 to accommodate climbers and hikers is still patronised by tourists to the area. The little church next to the hotel is dedicated to the Virgin of the Snow, and dates from 1621.