It is difficult to escape Rasa's charm, in the Centovalli Valley. The calm of the village, accessible only on foot or via the cable car mounting up from Verdasio, the harmony of its stone buildings and the silence that lingers in the lovingly cared-for vegetable gardens and yards are what make this a very special place. Surrounding the little church dedicated to Saint Anne stand old rural and noblemen's homes. A stop at the grotto (tavern) is a must before descending with the cable car or before starting the walk to the beautiful village of Palagnedra, through the old hamlet of Bordei.
In the past, the village of Rasa was located lower, in the area now called Terra Vecchia, which you will cross when following the itinerary to Palagnedra. Over the centuries the inhabitants abandoned the old village and moved to the one we know today. The reason for this move is intriguing and is related to emigration. In 1631, after about fifty Bergamese and Valtellina laborers quit their jobs at the Livorno border, some emigrants from Rasa together with others from Palagnedra, Ronco and Terree di Pedemonte, were fortunate to take their place marking the beginning of an era of prosperity and well-being in the little town of Rasa. In fact, those emigrants built elegant houses and financed religious buildings in the village's new abode located on a plain in a beautiful position. The church of Saint Anne dates back to the first half of the 1700s.
As in the case of the other hamlet Bordei, over time the ancient village of Terra Vecchia was being reclaimed by nature and reduced to a collection of ruins, but both villages have been renovated by the Terra Vecchia Foundation dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
Up to 1958, when the current cable car was built, the village was isolated from the world and still today the atmosphere in Rasa is far removed from our society's frenetic lifestyle.
If you have more time…
Itinerary: From Rasa to Palagnedra (4h, see map)
If you still have some time left after visiting Rasa, we recommend the interesting walk to Palagnedra, a village rich in rustic and noble architecture, beyond the pictorial art. Go down towards Terra Vecchia, where the namesake Foundation has carried out the reconstruction of the old centre. When you reach the creek, climb up towards Bordei - another hamlet that breathes a new life thanks to the work coordinated by the Foundation - finally arriving in Palagnedra. The village counts numerous rustic houses adjacent to noble ones, a tangible trace of a successful emigration. In the choir of the old church of San Michele an impressive collection of frescoes by Antonio da Tradate from the 1400s is preserved. Descend towards the remarkably green artificial lake and along the road you will have a chance to admire metal sculptures of the artist Alain Garnier. Once you reach the train station, you may return to Locarno with the Centovallina or go back to the starting point at the Verdasio cable car.
It is important to highlight that the walk from the village of Palagnedra to the train station takes about 1 hour (no public transport available).