The Val Formazza it can be an excellent idea for those who love trekking and excursions, immersion in mountain nature and local gastronomy. Sure to find yourself in a place far from mass tourism.
Where you can also run (the Bettelmatt Ultra Trail takes place here), do bike and walking routes, between the scenic Toce waterfall and the splendid alpine lakes. Without forgetting the mountain pastures where the Bettelmatt “treasure” was born.
A point of reference for a trip to Val Formazza this summer could be Rialein the heart of the Lepontine Alps, an ideal destination for a holiday characterized by uncontaminated nature, the flavors of other times and outdoor sporting activities, from a walk to a mountain bike or e-bike excursionto discover the countless treasures of nature.
Walking and cycling paths in Val Formazza
Riale, in the upper Val Formazza in the far north of Piedmont, a few kilometers from Switzerland, is one small town, at 1780 meters above sea level, which preserves an invaluable naturalistic, cultural and gastronomic heritage, the perfect destination for a stay in which to combine the adrenaline-filled emotions of the high mountains with the relaxation of a place where time seems to have stopped.
Sport in Riale also means climbing the countless mountain paths on foot to discover suggestive and unexpected views, venturing by bicycle along the brand new route that leads from Riale to Switzerlandin Val Bedretto and Val Maggia, through the San Giacomo Pass, or along the itinerary more adventurous riding e-bikes with pedal assistance to experience special emotions in complete safety.
Surrounded by glaciers, waterways and numerous alpine lakes, Riale is the starting point for excursions to discover the surrounding mountain panoramas. Very rich in bodies of water, many natural basins can be found above 2000 meters above sea level, while at low altitude, the spectacular Morasco dam it serves as a basin for the Toce Waterfall and supplies water for the production of electricity to the entire Valley.
Among the many interesting destinations in the area, ideal for an excursion, the Arbola peak (3,300), theater of the first documented ascent on skis in Italy by 11 formazzini in the early 1900s, the itinerary of Boden lakesa ring circuit that touches the two lakes of the same name and that Kastelhome to the largest spontaneous botanical garden in Europe and the Gries Alpine passone of the oldest in Italy, crossed already in the Middle Ages to transport goods from Milan to Bern and, in 1852, crossed by the German composer Richard Wagner.
Without forgetting that in the peaks surrounding the village there is one of the largest natural botanical gardens in Italy which in these seasons offers an infinite variety of flowers, scents and colours.
However, the real excellence of the territory is its imposing nature Toce waterfallwhich with its almost 150 meters is among the waterfalls with the highest drop in Europe.
Particularly fascinating to visit are the numerous Walser settlements still present in the area: a population of Valais origin who in 1200 ventured beyond Switzerland to colonize this strip of land. A very particular culture that still influences the traditions and customs of the area.
Mountain running, Bettelmat Ultra Trail
The most anticipated event of the year is always the thrilling Bettelmatt Ultra Trail skirunning race has now become an unmissable event on the international calendar, scheduled for July with departure and arrival from the Riale plain.
Three different routes (56, 37 and 26 km) which will touch some of the most evocative points of the area such as the Toce waterfall and the mountain pastures where the legendary Bettelmatt cheese is made, at over 2,000 meters above sea level. An opportunity, for the most daring, to test their limits and, for everyone else, to enjoy a day immersed in nature, encouraging the participants and letting themselves be kissed by the sun.
Gastronomy, Bettelmatt cheese
Another great excellence of the area is the cuisine. The gastronomic treasure of Riale and Val Formazza is Bettelmatt, semi-cooked cheese which requires a short maturation.
It is one of the rarest Italian cheeses, defined as “heroic” because it is produced exclusively by eight producers in seven mountain pastures above 2,000 metres in the months of July and August, for a niche production of around 5,000 wheels per year.
By some it is considered “the Rolls Royce of cheeses” due to its limited availability which makes it extremely coveted and sought after.
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