Medium-length stage with good height difference (both to climb and to descend). The first half of the path is, unfortunately, "polluted" by the presence of ski resorts.
The panorama that opens from the suggestive Passo di Bosco is remarkable. After a detour in Swiss territory, we return to Italy, in the beautiful Val Formazza.
Some very short equipped parts in the cross path from Passo Quadrella to Capanna Grossalp, still easy.
Water points are absent from Capanna Grossalp up to Fondovalle.
After a first stretch on the road, up to the locality of Cava, we take the GTA path that climbs into the woods towards Passo Quadrella (approximately 700 m height difference), without particular difficulties. Once at the pass (2,137 m), a long cross path (with some short sections slightly exposed and therefore equipped with chains. Be careful, especially if wet: you can easily slide) leads us to Capanna Grossalp, where several cable cars arrive. In the valley, we see the village of Bosco Gurin.
From Grossalp, we continue the climb (approximately 350 m height difference) towards the Passo di Bosco without major difficulties, following a ski lift. From the pass (2,323 m), just above Lake Bosco, we enjoy a beautiful view of the nosediving steep valley: we are back on Italian territory. After catching our breath, instead of descending into the valley, we cross slightly uphill towards Passo Della Foglia (2,350 m), dominated to the east by Pizzo Stella (2,688 m).
We face the long descent (approximately 1,100 m drop), initially steep and decisive, mostly in the woods. Once in Fondovalle, the GTA follows the Val Formazza on an almost flat track, keeping the Toce river on our left. Soon we are in Ponte, with its large and historic hydroelectric power plant. If we have time, it is worth going and admiring the Toce Waterfall, just above Sotto Frua.
In Formazza, also called Pomatt in the local dialect, there is one of the oldest Walser settlements.
The Walser is a population of Germanic origins, settled around the Monte Rosa massif. The lineage is that of the Alemanni, the ancient inhabitants of the Canton of Valais (a region of Switzerland), who in the early Middle Ages due to overpopulation, began to emigrate, settling in various Alpine locations between Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and France.
Thanks to the protection of the surrounding mountains, the proud Walser culture has been able to preserve itself over the centuries: in Val Formazza, the Alps and woods were and still are governed by a community system, so that the various settlements in the valley are assigned community ownership of the territory.
Even the beautiful houses are a distinctive element, characterized by the stone base and the main body all in wood (which in the Alps was almost not used to build houses).
At the beginning of the 20th century, Val Formazza became the object of the so-called “hydroelectric colonization”, that represented the greatest historical transformation of the Alpine landscape of the area.
If on the one hand, the process has meant a significant increase in the employment rate in the upper valley (affected by the very low productivity of the land, due to the high altitude), on the other hand, the construction of a dam has a violent impact on the surrounding ecosystem (even in the long-range): therefore the issue of hydroelectricity is delicate and subject to controversy.
Even today, the largest lakes in the area are all artificial basins: of the 32 basins, only 14 were built on pre-existing natural basins. Among these stands out the Sabbione one that, with an altitude of 2,460 meters and 26 million cubic meters reservoir, represents the largest hydroelectric basin in Piedmont and the second in all the Alps.
Its waters feed the spectacular Toce Waterfall, which boasts a fall of 143 meters. Its flow is regulated thanks to the Morasco dam: from June to September it is possible to enjoy the show for a few hours a day.
At the top of the waterfall is a historic hotel, founded in 1863, a wonderful example of the belle époque.
The Formazza cheese, called bettelmat, heated and served on black bread, is an explosion of taste. This alpine cheese is produced exclusively in the summer, with a minimum maturation of two months.
The black bread is also typical of these areas and is often enriched with nuts and raisins.
Very particular is the krosti brie, a typical polenta of the Val Formazza, prepared with white flour.
Campeggio Sagersboden, in the hamlet of Ponte. Tel. +39 388 428 2975
Campeggio Pineta, in the Fondovalle hamlet. Tel. +39 389 160 4313 - +39 347 089 4664
Campeggio Punta Sabbioni,in the hamlet of Brendo. Tel. +39 339 883 9479 - +39 333 908 9373
In Formazza there are several accommodation facilities
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.