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Hike to Toce Waterfall from Valdo in Formazza

Along the Sbrinz Route and the Via Francisca among ancient Walser towns

Val D'Ossola - Val Formazza

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length icon Streckenlänge:
11 Km
time icon Gehzeit:
3h30' zu Fuß
climb icon Höhenunterschied:
430 mt
height icon mind. und max. Höhenmeter:
1277 mt - 1680 mt
track there and back icon Art der route:
Hin- und Rückweg
surface icon Oberfläche:
panorama icon Panorama:
mountains - towns - waterfall
coverage icon Netzvempfang:
winter icon Im Winter:
bike icon Mit dem Fahrrad:

The Toce Waterfall, the most beautiful, most formidable among the waterfalls of the Alps… it has something solemn. An immense amphitheatre of black cliffs unfolds in front of the astonished sight.” - Antonio Stoppani, “Il Bel Paese”, 1876

“But the climb is strenuous to reach the hotel: even though it’s there, ogling from atop and luring us, just as if it was saying: come on passenger, come on. Here you will find cool and rest… in addition to a good plate of Kastelsee trouts.” - Guido Bustico, “Verbania”, 1911

These are some of the many testimonies that came to the present day, with the feelings of those who found themselves in front of the formidable Toce Waterfall and, even today, reaching its feet one can’t be but amazed by this thunderous natural phenomenon of Val Formazza.

This itinerary reaches the Toce Waterfall by foot, covering part of the ancient track of Via Francisca, the trail that has been a connection among Lombardy, Switzerland and France for five centuries. Since 2002, part of this trails is among the 12 Itineraries of National Interest of Switzerland and, with the name Sbrinz Route, is currently retraces yearly, circa at the end of August, by a large group of mule shepherds, with a 7-legs walk from Lucerne to Domodossola.

One after the other, the hiker meets the Walser towns of Ponte, Brendo, Grovella, Canza, Sotto Frua and Frua, where the famous Hotel Cascata, whose expansion project was cured by Architect Piero Portaluppi.

The Toce, after having run on the plain of Riale and having left part of its water to the electric power plants, reaches Frua where, with a 143 meters jump, gives birth to what is defined as the most beautiful waterfall of Europe: the Toce Waterfall, Früttfall in Walser dialect.

The water of Toce has been used, for more than a century, to make electricity and for this reason the Toce Waterfall is “opened” just a few months every year. Thanks to the scientist and mountaineer Giorgio Spezia we can enjoy the natural show of this waterfall. Giorgio Spezia, first and only president of Italian Alpine Club coming from Ossola, with his pamphlet “Pro Cascata del Toce”, published in 1906, fought harshly so that the income of hydroelectric industry did not overtake the prosperity of the growing tourism in Ossola and, moreover, did not interfere with the beauty of the “best alpine landscape… which draws so many visitors, that is the Toce Waterfall”. Spezia supported an association to protect the landscape and achieved the intangibility of the “great Toce Waterfall”. “The Government of Italy is a firm supporter of not only the large remains but also of the small debris of the ancient works of our forefathers, and why shouldn’t it protect some amazing works of nature as it happens in other nations?” - Giorgio Spezia, “Pro Cascata del Toce”, 1906

Erwandert am: 23. Jul 2023
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