You will walk from picturesque Monteviasco through both sides of the Val Veddasca and the villages of Piero, Biegno, Cangili and the Forcora Gap to Lake Delio. You will follow the “goat road” or ‘Strà di Caver’, drawn and maintained by the Comunità Montana delle Valli del Luinese, that is also ideal for horse riding and mountain biking.
From Monteviasco walk down towards the valley floor. Past the Madonna della Serta Church follow the signs to “Ponte di Piero”. Walk down the 1350 steps of the mule track, the only access to the village up until 1985. If you want to save time you can use the cable car from Monteviasco to Ponte di Piero.
In ponte di Piero stay on the left back of the Giona River and follow the signs to the “Mulini di Piero”. After an easy 20 minute walk you will stand in a flat area by the river where old stone building can be visited, among them the water mills and their infrastructure (canals, millstones, etc). The mills, made of local stone and wood, had enormous economic importance for the entire valley. Double back to the Ponte di Piero now and cross the bridge. Take the stone road on the right to the village of Piero. From there continue towards Biegno on a steep and relatively uncomfortable track. After a while you will get to a paved road and to Biegno (local rural church of the Beata Vergine degli Angeli). Continue uphill for 2 more kilometres to the Cangili pasture (farmsteads, fountains, resting facility). From Cangili the trail is easier and less steep. Walk up to where the road branches and follow the Monterecchio direction (where farmsteads and a fountain are found). Among birch and pinewoods you will reach the Pian dü Lares B&B. Continue in the direction of the Forcora Gap where a cross-country ski track will take you up to the Alpe Quadra pasture. Take the road by the chapel to get to the Forcora hut and then to the Alpe Féed pasture. From there you will enter a beech wood and quickly arrive at the northern dam of Lake Deglio, a glacial lake that was enlarged to produce hydro-energy for the Ronco Valgrande plant. From there in a few minutes you will be in the Monti di Bassano pastures and by the Diana Hotel.
Trail description: Cinzia Summermatter with information on the ‘Stra di Caver’ horse and mountain bike tracks, from the Comunità Montana delle Valli del Luinese, CAI Alpine Club Luino.
Landscape, NATURA2000, Protected areas
The Val Veddasca is in the northernmost area of Varese province. It is a wild and secluded valley with many vestiges of a rural Alpine society. Human presence in the valley is very old, as was shown by archaeological finds and prehistoric graffiti (Source: ilvaresotto.it). Furthermore the entire Val Veddasca is a Natura 2000 site (SIC IT2010016, Habitat map, Site description).
Wildlife, Emerald species
Insects and crustaceans: Cerambyx cerdo, Lucanus cervus, Euphidrias aurinia, Euplagia quadripunctaria, Astropotamobius pallipes
Fishes: Barbus plebejus, Cottus gobio, Leuciscus souffia, Rutilus pigus
Birds: Pernis apivorus, Milvus migrans, Circaetus gallicus, Circus cyaneus, Aquila chrysaetos,
Falco peregrinus, Tetrao tetrix, Alectoris graeca, Caprimulgus europaeus, Dryocopus martius, Anthus campestris, Lanius collurio, Emberiza hortulana, Bonasia bonasia
Bats: Myotis emarginatus
Other species of interest
Mammals: fox, badger, chamois, red deer, wild boar
Protected aereas, Emerald and Natura 2000 sites
- Val Veddasca Natura 2000 site
Priority conservation area of the WWF European Alpine Programme
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
- Houses of Monteviasco
- Serta Sanctuary in Monteviasco
- Piero Mills
- Biegno, Alpine rural church
Next stage: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 15
Stage before: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 13
or: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 13a