Long stage and with an important positive difference in height: the first climb, to Passo da Val Mera, should not be underestimated for its length and some (albeit few) difficulties.
We trespass in Val Poschiavo, in Switzerland, to admire the incredible Lake Saoseo (one of the most magical scenarios in the Alps!) and return afterward to Italian ground.
Preferred for the much more variety of views and the unmissable Lake of Saoseo, this stage is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which from Livigno runs through the entire Val delle Mine, Valle Minestra, and Val Viola).
Some stretches of the scree towards Lake Valletta require experience, because of their steepness and slight exposure.
Water points are absent from Alpe Vago to Malga di Campo.
We travel the entire Livigno Valley to the south, on the beautiful flat cycle path, running alongside the Spol stream. Arriving at the plain of Le Motte, we head towards Alpe Lago and from there we take the path and begin the ascent (approximately 650 m height difference). We travel through Valle Vago: at the crossroads with the Val di Campo, the suspended Tibetan bridge over the stream is worth a small detour and from here we admire a beautiful waterfall.
We retrace our steps and continue going up Val di Campo: the climb is constant, but without rifts. Arriving almost at the head of the valley, we change gears going up the Valletta, in the direction of the homonymous lake: the first part, on scree, requires stamina and firm steps. Once you have overcome the rift, you gradually go up again, still on scree, enjoying the view of some small glacial lakes.
Once we reach Passo Val Mera (2,671 m), the border point, we are preparing for the rapid descent (approximately 600 m drop) into Swiss territory. We quickly lose altitude towards Lagh da Roan, that we bypass from above: the stretch is a bit slippery. After a second, steep descent, we reach a beautiful peaty plateau (Plan da Val Mera). We descend gently to Malga Camp, where we spot the imperious outline of Pizzo Scalino (3,323 m), which will accompany us for numerous subsequent stages.
From the mountain hut, we head towards Lake Saoseo (2,028 m), one of the most evocative places in the Alps: the color, the shape of the rocks on the bottom of the lake, the surrounding woods and, beyond, the severe peaks ... We continue the journey entering Val Viola and returning to climb (approximately 400 m height difference) surrounded by the rhododendrons: north stands the steep wall of Piz Paradisin. We glimpse several small lakes, up to the largest lake Val Viola. From there, we take the path that reaches Passo da Val Viola (2,432 m), crossing the small Lagh dal Dügüral halfway up: we return to Italy. A last, short, descent (about 100 m drop) brings us to Rifugio Val Viola.
Aldo's family has been managing Rifugio Val Viola since 1972.
On November 6, 1985, Rifugio Viola was the target of mortar fire from nearby Switzerland. In fact, that day, during a drill, the Swiss army shockingly missed the trajectory of the bullets, but luckily it did not hit the mountain lodge. Aldo, the historic host of the mountain lodge, was there: at the beginning the Carabinieri were incredulous and the following day the mountain lodge was surrounded by the Italian army.
The proverbial Swiss precision ...
Along the ascent to Passo Viola, in Switzerland, it is possible to see the spectacular Lake Saoseo. Its bright colors and fairytale atmosphere make this place an authentic paradise on earth: not to be missed.
At Rifugio Viola, you have to try polenta and stew, made with simplicity and love: a tasty way to recover from all the efforts.
Rifugio Saoseo, at the bottom of Val Mera (Switzerland). Tel. +41 81 844 07 66
Rifugio Viola, in Val Viola. Tel. +39 0342 985136
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the town of Tirano with a change in Bormio.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Departure point NOT reachable by train.
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.