Challenging stage, marked by the intense climb to Passo di Variola, with an important difference in height (although without technical difficulties).
The pass is followed by a long cross path in a very panoramic environment, with beautiful views of the immense massif of Monte Rosa.
The climb to the Variola Pass is very long and tiring: suitable for well-trained legs.
In the final part of the climb, sometimes the path is not very clear and it is necessary to look carefully to locate the trail signs and monitor the GPS.
Walking on the road, we reach Rosso. From there, passing the Diveria stream near the dams, we start the very long climb (approximately 1,700 m height difference). First in the woods, in the shade, with a changing slope (some small climbs make us struggle). Once at Alpe Selvanera di Dentro (1,169 m), we stock up on water.
We then continue to climb and reach Alpe Wolf, cross the wide plateau and resume the climb towards Alpe Lorino (1,820), where we discover the rustic Bivacco Stefanetti. We continue the climb and, shortly after, we leave the woods; the route is more and more on the scree. The slope decreases giving us a little break. After having slightly lost altitude in a glacial basin, we start the last stretch towards Passo di Variola (2,252 m) and upon arrival, we are finally rewarded by the stunning view of the immense Monte Rosa, to the south-east.
After catching our breath, we quickly lose altitude (about 200 m drop) and reach the head of Val Variola, where we begin a very long cross path that goes down slowly. Although long, the stretch is very smooth. We recommend a stop at Alpe Dorca, where Luigi, the local shepherd, and also the symbol of these places, lives. While losing altitude, we reach Rifugio San Bernardo, where a beautiful mule track starts and leads us to La Gomba.
The Ecomuseo della Memoria di Boco Dipinta was established in 2009.
It is an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics: arranged in an open space and on the external walls of the houses. The works are made by artists, professionals, and non-professionals, who donate them to the museum for free. Each year a specific theme is chosen for the new works - in 2019, the theme was “Trees and Stones”.
The idea, by Tino Malino (manager of a historic Magenta bookshop), was born with the aim of reviving the village by bringing a new vital impulse through art.
For more info, timetables and tickets, follow the LINK.
The Thermal Baths of Bognanco have a long history: it was in 1863 that a woman, while drinking at the source of San Lorenzo, noticed the strong tingling of the water, wondering if it was not brandy.
The field where the source flowed was bought by the woman's confessor (to whom she had told the experience) and thus began the commercial exploitation of the water. In the 1920s, Bognanco was turned into a spa, and water bottling was automated. Subsequently, during the economic boom, its effervescent waters rich in beneficial properties brought many tourists to Bognanco and made it a renowned spa.
The polenta alla Bognanchese is as delicious, as it is…challenging: it is prepared with meat sauce, cheese, béchamel, and mushrooms.
The Albergo Ristorante Edelweiss in Bognanco still resists, despite the drastic drop in tourists number in recent years. Here you can eat local specialties, in a beautiful and welcoming place.
Rifugio San Bernardo, in San Bernardo (40 minutes before Gomba).
Tel. +39 345 521 2966
Camping Yolki Palki, in Gomba. Tel. +39 0324 234245 - +39 349 344 6007
Bivacco Marigonda, on the way to the next stage, about 4 kilometers from Rifugio San Bernardo (from where you can proceed sideways, avoiding to lose altitude while descending to Gomba, staying on the GTA) 12 beds, blankets, stove, gas stove, water. Always Open.
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.