Strada Alta in the Leventina Valley
The "Strada Alta" is one of the classics of Ticino's walks. Thanks to the rich heritage still present in the area it brings you back to interesting chapters in the history of the Leventina Valley. Marked by the hardships of a rural lifestyle in the mountains, numerous still are the old traditional wooden homes. Graceful little churches are scattered here and there giving the landscape a particularly pleasant look. Along the trail you will cross pristine woods with a lingering scent of resin and charming villages. The proposed itinerary is the first stop of a three-day trek.
Itinerary: Strada Alta in the Leventina Valley (5h, see map)
The walk starts at Airolo's train station where the Tourist Office is located. The Office is equipped with a comprehensive flyer about the itinerary (details 1, 2, 3).
Following the main street of the station, southwards, you will cross Via San Gottardo, that runs through the village centre. You then continue on this road as far as the cemetery, where you turn left towards the hamlet of Valle. Going on the old mule track of Canaria Valley you arrive then in Madrano, with a view on the Stalvedro Gorge.
The "Strada Alta" continues in the direction of Brugnasco and Altanca where the intermediate station of one of the world's steepest funiculars is located, the Ritom. In the vicinity of the funicular you can admire the beautiful church of the village built on a rock and rich with inside-decorations. The village also safeguards an old restored mill.
After crossing Altanca, you reach Cresta di Sopra, the highest point of the walk (1,419 m). From here the "Strada Alta" is downhill and crosses the beautiful hamlet of Ronco, leading to Deggio. By going slightly uphill you reach San Martino were an 11th century church stands, one of the oldest of the valley. Proceed all the way to Lurengo and enter the forest Bosco d’Öss that leads to Freggio. Following this final segment of the trail, located above the Gola del Piottino (Piottino Gorge), you leave the High Valley to enter Middle Leventina. Having passed the village's little church, go up in the direction of Osco, destination of the first stop. From Osco you can go to Faido by bus and from there you may take a train back.
The complete route of the "Strada Alta" includes two further segments: Osco-Anzonico, 3 hours and 30 minutes (particularly recommended) and Anzonico-Biasca, 4 hours and 45 minutes. Along the way, there are a number of charming little hotels where it is possible to stay overnight.