San Domenico di Varzo in summer
In the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola there is one of the most enchanting and intimate places in Piedmont: it is San Domenico of Varzo, a small village part of the municipality of Varzo, located at 1410 meters above sea level, on a small promontory in the heart of the Cairasca Valley, surrounded all around by the Lepontine Alps.
San Domenico di Varzo is in fact found at the foot of high slopes, in the shadow of peaks that reach 3000 meters in height, from Monte Teggiolo to Pizzo Diei to Monte Cistella. The village is then one step away from the beautiful "Natural Park of Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero" and from the sunny basin of Alpe Ciamporino: there is therefore no better season than summer to discover the area and its unspoiled nature, in a form of green and eco-sustainable tourism that is more relevant than ever in San Domenico di Varzo .
What to do and what to see
In San Domenico di Varzo, renowned in winter as a ski resort thanks to the nearby slopes of Alpe Ciamporino, in summer it blooms like a flower, with nature that is a real explosion of scents and colors.
During the summer you can dedicate yourself to simple walks around the village or to outdoor sports activities like nordic walking o trail running.
In this regard, San Domenico di Varzo offers spectacular scenarios for running in nature, on the shores of streams or in the woods, contributing to physical but also mental well-being. It is no coincidence that this is where the very popular race takes place at the end of August Rampigada, which allows amateur runners to cross Alpe Ciamporino and Alpe Veglia.
There is no summer without excursions and in San Domenico di Varzo the paths that can be traveled are many and spectacular, both on foot and by mountain bike: for lovers of two wheels, young and old, there is also the Sando Bike Park, with 6 routes of different difficulty levels that can be reached via 3 modern ski lifts.
Il Sando Adventure Park instead it is a real amusement park surrounded by greenery where young and old can take on the role of Indiana Jones and climb the trees via Tibetan bridges, lianas, nets and cableways: the park is immersed in the thick of a larch forest and has been designed in such a way as to observe all the paths from above, perhaps allowing parents to admire the skills of the their children.
Among the most beautiful excursions to do starting from San Domenico di Varzo is the Path of Flowers which leads straight to Alpe Veglia walking at a height of about 2000 meters.
Once you have reached Alpe Ciamporino by chairlift (where the 2000 Refuge is located), take the path F50 towards the mountain village of Balma, crossing meadows dotted with flowers and larch woods, among which it is also possible to see some chamois or ibex.
Continue towards Cornù and then pass on path F10, which allows you to admire the Rio Frua waterfalls and to skirt the Cairasca stream up to the Casa del Parco Porteia. The path then continues downhill towards Ponte Campo and San Domenico, passing through the beautiful Grappello Chapel. This small stone church dates back to the XNUMXth century and inside there are ancient frescoes.
Very scenic is the excursion that from Ponte Campo leads to 2385 meters high Mount Teggiolo: once you pass through huts and green pastures, you reach the summit where you can enjoy a wonderful view of Mount Cistella, Pizzo Diei, Alpe Veglia and the entire Cairasca Valley below.
From Ponte Campo, along the path F30, you can reach one of the most evocative places of the "Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Natural Park": this is the Lake of the Witch and is located right on the border with the Switzerland, in the heart of the Valdeserta Pass. The lake waters are emerald and do nothing but reflect the pristine vegetation, silent and mysterious in light of the legend that cloaks this lake. It is said that this body of water is one of the two wells that in the distant past were located in a witches' den and that it reveals the truth to those who observe its waters.
Along the road to reach the Lago delle Streghe you will find, at the pasture of Aione, a megalithic area of Mesolithic origin, complete with mammoth stones to form what must have been a place of worship.
From San Domenico di Varzo you can also reach the Crosta Refuge, located right on the Altavia of the Divedro Valley: to reach it, take the path F14 and cross fir woods, clearings and the Coatè and Crosi pastures. From Rifugio Crosta the view sweeps over the peaks of the Valgrande National Park, Pizzo Boni and the panoramic Vallone di Solcio.
A summer vacation a San Domenico of Varzo it cannot fail to include relaxing walks through the village, to discover the beauty Church of San Domenico: stands at 1384 meters high and was built on the remains of an oratory dating back to the eighteenth century.
Varzo rises a little less than 9 km and is located in the Val Divedro: its historic center, arranged on terraces, is of medieval origin and is dominated by the bulk of the Medieval Tower erected in 1300 in granite. Also worth seeing Church of St. George dating back to the year 1100, the Oratory of the Madonna del Carmelo with the fresco of the Virgin and Child on the facade and the Roman bridge, which actually dates back to 1300 AD, replacing the previous version desired by the emperor Augustus.
Il Devil's Bridge it is found instead at Trasquera, about 8 km from San Domenico di Varzo and rises on the slopes of Monte Teggiolo: being 1096 meters high, the village offers breathtaking views of the Andolla and the Weissmies peak. Legend has it that the Trasquera bridge, which crosses the Ri stream, was built by the Devil: in reality it is a valuable engineering work dating back to the end of the 800th century, built in stone and 100 meters high.
Among the naturalistic wonders present in the surroundings of San Domenico di Varzo there are the famous ones Uriezzo gorges, located in the Antigorio Valley: these are gorges dug between 12.000 and 14.000 years ago by the Toce glacier which, melting, gave birth to these erosive phenomena of overwhelming beauty. Visiting them means entering dark places, with a microclimate that has favored the proliferation of mosses and ferns that have made these ravines even more bucolic. Not far away are the Toce waterfalls, among the most colossal of the Lepontine Alps and of all Europe: they are found among dense coniferous forests at 1657 meters high and have a mighty jump of 145 meters.
Holidays in San Domenico di Varzo
There are many things to do and see in the summer in San Domenico di Varzo and surroundings: it would be useful at least one week full to discover all its beauties, to explore the area on spectacular excursions and also to dedicate yourself to tasting typical dishes.
In fact, a long holiday does not require fleeting lunches between one walk and the next: there are many characteristic refuges and restaurants where you can taste typical dishes such as Ossola gnocchi, crespelle al Grasso d'Alpe, thin-sheeted bread. shins and the tasty crescenzin based on dried fruit and raisins.
Having more time available you also have the opportunity to enjoy the cultural heritage of the place and its most ancient traditions: how can we forget the nice Palio of Donkeys which animates the village of Varzo at the end of September. It is not a race of donkeys but between teams of contenders who, representing each fraction of Varzo, challenge each other to bring a fellow villager on a sedan chair.
There are many accommodation of San Domenico di Varzo and in general of Val Cairasca, suitable for all needs, from those of the youngest to the needs of the most sporty or families with small children. In fact, there is no shortage of B & Bs, residences and holiday homes, family-run hotels and luxury hotels where guests are pampered like principles: it is also possible to stay in high-altitude shelters, to rest a step away from the celestial vault in a natural and absolutely uncontaminated environment. .
Summer holidays San Domenico di Varzo
If you are considering a summer holiday in San Domenico di Varzo, below you can find useful links to find hotels and holiday apartments.
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