Before you get to the border checkpoint in Ponte Tresa, take the main road on the right along the river until you find signs directing you down to the river trail. Walk along the river to a vast field and across it to the trail on the opposite side where you will enter the wood. The Tresa River gorges are a WWF-proposed Emerald site, i.e. an area rich in animal and plant Emerald species. Besides these rare species, you may encounter interesting wetland birds, such as the grey heron. Cross the several bridges along the trail and walk up to the main road a couple of times, namely by the Madonna del Piano neighbourhood, After that the trail will take you back down to the river bank. This area is an important ecological corridor for animals, although their migrations are made difficult and dangerous by the road. After a while you will get to Monteggio biotopes and will have to walk back up to the main road to get to the village of Molinazzo. Turn right by the gas station and follow the signs to Termine. Walk on the paved road and leave the village behind. Continue along the dirt road on the right by the vineyard until you reach the centre of a nice village with a small church. The path to Sessa follows the main road to the educational trail “Sentiero dell’acqua ripensata” (Trail of reinvented water). Along the trail you will pass a few cattle farms. Where the road branches, make a left along the educational trail.
Beyond the aqueduct building the road bends to the left and down through the Bolle wetland to the river. You will get onto the main road by the Sessa bridge. Turn left and, after the crossroads, walk up to the village. In the little square follow the signs to the trails and to the “Grappoli” hotel. Once you reach the hotel parking lot you will find a path to the river. You are now on the “Sentiero della vigna” (“Vineyard Trail”) that will take you up to Beride. Walk through the village, on the main road till you get to the path in the woods. Follow the signs to Bedigliora. In the village square you will see one of the many beautiful Malcantone sundials. Beyond the square follow the small cobblestone trail between the houses. After a few underpasses you will once more be on the main road.
Leave Bedigliora behind and reach the nature reserve of the Cava Rivaccia pond. When you are in front of the school walk down to the main road and follow it to a nice chapel. Take the Via Gerò to the village centre. After that you will have to take the Via Bressanela to get to the trail to Astano and Novaggio.
Trail description: Edita Uckar, Manuela Varini
Environment, NATURA2000, Protected areas
Environment and nature
67% of Malcantone is covered by forests. Diverse climatic and landscape differences created a very high natural diversity. The mountain areas are basically beech woods and pasture, with extensive birch patches bordering clearings and common whitebeam. In seldom used pastures bracken fern and scotch broom prevail. Dry acidic grassland also occurs frequently and is dominated by matgrass. Two predominant plant associations exist, from 800 to 1400 amsl and from 1400 to 1700 m respectively: on poor acidic soils the snowy woodrush prevails. On less acidic soils, in shady locations the sycamore maple prevails among trees. (source: Roland Hochstrasser, Geografia del Malcantone).
Protected areas, proposed Emerald sites, Natura 2000 sites
- Croglio, Tresa river gorges Emerald site
- Monteggio biotopes
- Cava Rivaccia pond Natural Reserve
- This area belongs to the WWF European Alpine Programme designated Priority Conservation Areas
Fauna, Emerald species
Fish: Landlocked shad (Alosa fallax lacustris), Danube roach (Rutilus pigus), savetta (Chondrostoma soetta)
Amphibians: Lataste frog (Rana latastei), Italia crested newt (Triturus carnifex)
Birds: Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), Common krestel (Falco tinnunculus), Eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), Black kite (Milvus migrans), Green woodpecker (Picus viridis), Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), Common whitethroat (Sylvia communis), Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Bats: Greater horseshoe bat (Rhynolophus ferrumequinum), Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)
Wildlife, Emerald species in the Croglio, Gole della Tresa site
Astacus astacus, Gomphus vulgatissimus, Onychogomphus forcipatus, Oxygastra curtisii, Oedipoda caerulescens, Everes argiades, Barbus meridionalis, Blennius fluviatilis, Cobitis taenia, Rutilus pigus, Rutilus rubilio, Salmo trutta
Other species of interest
Mammals: fox, badger, chamois, red deer, wild boar
Other information on the region’s wildlife
- Roland Hochstrasser, Geography of the Malcantone, nature and landscape study of the region
WWF’s tips for hikers
Plan each stage carefully, purchase a 1:25000 map, use light but sturdy equipment (hiking boots, rain cape, binoculars…). Be sure to carry a small supply of water and food. We suggest you taste local food (possibly organic) at resting places and restaurants.
Do not litter, do not pick up flowers or rocks and in no way disturb the local fauna. It is unsafe for inexperienced hikers to leave the marked trails and it may cause disturbance to wildlife.
History and ethnography
Museum of the Malcantone
Tel. 0041 91 6063172
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