The Charm of Valle Onsernone

Immerse yourself in the wild and start the adventure

Considered amongst the wildest of the region, the Onsernone Valley is an ideal destination for those who seek something different, and for those who love adventure and sport. Excursions to the top of Monte Pilone at 2,192 metres, limpid rivers and streams for fishermen, and for cyclists challenging curve-filled routes with astonishing scenery, are all on offer.

A mere 10 kilometres from Ascona you can immerse yourself in a landscape where the continuing dialogue between nature, culture and history still astonishes the visitor. This is the Onsernone Valley; profound, enigmatic, and hitherto impassable, it has been gently shaped and eroded over centuries by its river, the Isorno. It is reached through its winding road, a road already synonymous with adventure. 

The architecture, that of the villages founded on the sun graced terraces, evokes the hard and exhausting daily life of the rural workers of Ticino. A few grand and beautiful seigneurial houses dating to the 18th century were built by emigrants who sought and found a fortune abroad. The local people knew how to welcome artists and writers such as Max Frisch who, in Berzona, transformed a stables into his preferred residence. Let yourselves be surprised by the enchantment of the Onsernone Valley whether for an excursion or simply for a culinary experience. Authentic polenta Ticinese made with ‘farina bona’ – ‘good flour’, is a typical product of the area, where maize flour ground to the rhythm of times past in one of the valley’s two restored water mills.

For the more curious, the “Bagni di Craveggia’ – ‘Craveggia’s Baths’ deserve a visit; the thermal waters have warmed both body and soul for centuries.