The Vigezzo Valley lies in the north-west of the Ossola area of Piedmont, between the Antigorio-Formazza and Cannobina Valleys. The valley continues into Switzerland, and the two countries are linked by the historic “Vigezzina” railway which runs through the valley to Locarno over a 55 km route of tunnels, high viaducts and spectacular landscape.
Vigezzo is a broad sunny valley with settlements on both sides. Beginning at Masera, the road crosses seven municipalities before reaching the Swiss border. The main centres are Druogno and Santa Maria Maggiore, popular holiday resorts where art, culture and nature happily coexist.
Well-known as the Painters’ Valley, Val Vigezzo has been home to many artists and has inspired landscape and portrait painters who over the years have had a strong impact on the art and culture of the area. The Painting School in Santa Maria Maggiore was started in the 19th century as a unique school of mountain painting.
The little churches and wayside shrines throughout the valley offer examples of devotional art, paintings or frescoes. Art and piety come together in the imposing Sanctuary of Re at the end of the valley, built in Gothic-Byzantine style in 1922 to recall the miracle of the Madonna del Sangue (Virgin of the Blood), said to have occurred in 1494.
Vigezzo has a rich tradition of food and wine, typified by the wide selection of salumi (cured meat) like the renowned local raw ham, honey, preserves and traditional cakes: try them in the valley’s restaurants!