737 - Via Calanca

23.4 km
7:40 h
1052 mhd
321 mhd
737 - ViaCalanca
The origin of the Calanca Valley lies in the Adula massif, in the heart of the Alps, and opens to the south in the Mediterranean climate of the Merlott grape of the lower Misox.
Technique 0/6
Fitness 0/6
Highest Point  1071 m
Lowest Point  339 m
Best Season
Rossa (Calanca Valley)
46.246531, 9.143056



The river Calancasca, whose springs are at the foot of the Zapporthorn (3152 m above sea level), runs through the valley. The two villages of Castaneda and Santa Maria are located on the orographically right side of the Misox. In the Calanca Valley, the settlements are located at the foot of steep wooded slopes or on higher terraces. A wealth of wood and stone and a nature of the highest quality The landscape of the outer Calanca Valley has a lush and diverse vegetation characterized by the chestnut culture. Further north, spruce and larch dominate, giving the valley an alpine character. The many terraces, built in recent centuries, testify to an intensive cultivation of cereals. Wood and stone not only shape the landscape, but also the culture of this valley. The settlement History of Castaneda and Santa Maria begins at the end of the Neolithic period (c. 2500 BC) and is strongly linked to the passage through the San Bernardino Pass, the transition between the Mediterranean and continental worlds. The first settlements of the inner Calanca Valley took place after the year 1000. The transhumance on the three levels of the valley floor, Maiensäss and Alps and the contact via the passes to the neighboring valleys have shaped the character of the people until the last century.


ViaCalanca in three stages

1st stage Grono - Santa Maria

From Grono, the route climbs to Nadro before winding along the path of the Menö and the old valley road, built around 1830 for timber transport. You will reach the suggestive complex of the Pisella mills, surrounded by centuries-old agricultural terraces and dominated by the chestnut forest of Mola. Slightly above, the Castanda terrace (800 m above sea level) bears witness to agriculture dating back over 4500 years ago.

From Castaneda, an old mule track lined with dry stone walls leads to the village of Santa Maria, dominated by an architectural complex reminiscent of a majestic past due to its unique beauty. Santa Maria with its parish church, documented as early as 1219, was the religious and political capital of the whole Calanca. The present appearance of the church dates back to the early 17th century, when the Capuchin priests settled in the adjacent hospice. The medieval tower was built in the 13th-14th centuries by the Counts of Sacco. In a dominant position on the Misox valley floor, this was part of a territorial control system.

2h running time, 4 km, 615 m difference in altitude

2nd stage Santa Maria - Selma

From Santa Maria to Buseno-Molina (710 meters above sea level), the historic circular path acts as a bridge between the outer and inner Calanca. The route is dominated by the spectacular rock formations of the Crap de Maria and crosses a completely unique landscape, dominated by broom, juniper and hawthorn. Buseno is home to the last lush chestnut groves, whose fruits have been the basis of the rural diet for centuries.

The stoneIn the valley, the extraction of gneiss has a centuries-old tradition. Along the route that connects Buseno with Arvigo (820 metres above sea level), on the right bank of the Calancasca, there is an imposing gneiss extraction and processing sector that has been active for a century.

Water and airBetween Arvigo and Selma, the route runs along the left bank of the Calancasca and offers fairytale natural landscapes. From the humpback bridge, mentioned in the sixteenth century, the old mule track suddenly leads into a spectacular alpine environment dominated by rushing water. The cable cars Arvigo and Selma connect the valley floor with the terraces of Braggio (1320 m) and Landarenca (1280 m above sea level), which can also be reached on foot via historic mule tracks. The hamlets of Braggio reflect the compact rural core of Landarenca, a jewel of stone and wood architecture.

3h30' running time, 10.3 km, 291 m difference in altitude

Variant 2nd stage: Santa Maria - Braggio: 3.5 ore, 7.3 km:

From Santa Maria, a path leads to the Bare Mountains (1220 m above sea level), from where the view sweeps over the side valleys of the Mesolcina and the Piano di Magadino. The path climbs to the peat bog of Pian di Scignan (1500 meters above sea level) and to the plateau of the chapel of Sant'Antoni de Bolada (1674 meters above sea level), from where you have an unobstructed view of the Calanca before descending to Braggio (1320 meters above sea level).

3rd stage Selma - Rossa

From Selma to Cauco (981 m above sea level) the path meets the first real level. Cauco was a processing center for soapstone. This craftsmanship, whose origins in the area of Moesano date back to Roman times, played a leading role in the 18th century.

North of the

village of Cauco you cross the Pian di Alne floodplain, which takes its name from the white alder that partially covers it. In the past, when timber was transported on the river, vast amounts of mudflats stopped here, which were held back by a lock built near the current bridge.

The parish church of Santa Domenica (1035 m above sea level) is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. Together with the mother church of Santa Maria, it was the only one that already bore the title of a parish in the middle of the 16th century. In Santa Domenica and Augio (1039 metres above sea level), the positive effects of emigration from the inhabitants of the Calanca Valley on European cities can be seen in both religious and private buildings, such as Casa Spadino, an 18th century building, and the Hotel Cascata with its beautiful Hall of Mirrors from the beginning of the 20th century.

From Rossa, the hiking routes that have been appreciated for centuries lead to the Alps, while in the past, in the woods of Valbella, in addition to the lumberjacks, Ragiaioli, resin craftsmen who were in demand as far as Bavaria, were active.

The Giümela Pass (2117 m a.s.l.), the Pass de Buffalora (2261 m a.s.l

.), the Btta de Trescolmen (2161 m a.s.l.) and the Pass de Passit (2082 m a.s.l.) have always been the main crossings to the nearby valleys.

2h running time, 6.7 km, 171 m difference in altitude

Responsible for this content: Ente Turistico Regionale del Moesano (ETRM).
This content has been translated automatically.

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