Bavona Valley, which branches off from the Maggia Valley, is characterized by its wilderness. To this day it is deprived of electricity (except in San Carlo) and populated only during the summer. The magic of nature combined with the work of mankind has bestowed peace and harmony to this valley, one of Ticino’s most beautiful. Consisting of extremely high cliffs and remains of colossal landslides it is also one of the steepest and rockiest valleys of the entire Alpine region. An enchanting walk that goes through twelve villages, including Foroglio with its spectacular waterfall, allows the visitor to appreciate its charm.
Itinerary: Bavona Valley (5h, see map)
The route is fascinating not only from an environmental point of view but also for the testimonials of human intervention found along the way, that prove how through an adequate interpretation of the territory it is possible to turn even the most hostile of natural elements into an ally. Very interesting are the so-called splüi, buildings under the rock that have made it possible to adapt nature to the needs of humans, creating shelters, housing and stables. Also very surprising is the ingenuity behind the transformation of the upper part of massive boulders into small gardens, protected from the voracious goats that stroll about the valley.
The itinerary that runs through the entire Bavona Valley can start either in Bignasco or in Cavergno. Along the course you will encounter a number of splüi and go through woods of chestnut trees - once considered to be "the tree of life" because of its vital role for the survival of the population. In Foroglio, the best known village of the valley because of the spectacular waterfall, you can spot a few houses with a wide arcade and a number of torbe gathered around a small church. Inside the church, you can admire the interesting altar from the 16th century. Also in town, the excellent Grotto Froda (a tavern) that offers traditional Ticino dishes and is run by Martino Giovanettina, a local intellectual.
Another point of interest is the centre of Sonlerto, where to avoid taking land from the pastures the houses were built between the boulders of a prehistoric landslide. The graceful oratory of Gannariente, with precious frescoes from the 16th century, has been a destination from time immemorial of a historical procession that occurs the first Sunday of May. The excursion ends in San Carlo, the last village of the Bavona Valley and departure point of the cableway that goes up to Robiei (below the Basodino glacier). From there you may choose to return by bus to Bignasco or Cavergno.