|Comune di Alagna Valsesia|
Walser houses in the frazione Pedemonte
|Frazioni||Dorf, Fum d'Boudma, Fum Diss, Fum Tschukke, Fun d'Rùfinu, Im Adelstodal, Im Felleretsch, Im Garrài, Im Oubre Grobe, Im Oubre Rong, Im Rong, Im Undre Grobe, Im Wold, In d'Bundu, In d'Ekku, In d'Follu, In d'Mèrlette, In d'Stütz, In d'Weng, In d'Wittine, Purratz Hus, Scarpia, Uttershus, Wittwosma, Z'am Steg, Zar Chilchu, Zar Sogu, Z'Jakmuls Hus, Z'Kantmud, Z'Pudelenn, Z'San Niklòs, Z'Yuassis Hus|
|• Mayor||Sandro Bergamo|
|• Total||72 km2 (28 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,154 m (3,786 ft)|
|• Density||6.0/km2 (16/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||St. John the Baptist|
Alagna Valsesia (Walser German: Im Land, Piedmontese: Alagna, Valsesiano: Lagna) is a comune and small village high in the Valsesia alpine valley in the province of Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy. It was originally settled by Walser. It is located at the upper tip of Val Grande, in Piedmont Region of Italy, at an altitude of 1,191 m just south of the Monte Rosa 4638m (the second tallest peak in the Alps); it is a tourist site for mountaineering and winter sports, and is internationally known for the freeride off-piste skiing. Since December 2005 a new cable car connects Alagna with Gressoney through the Passo dei Salati.
Founded in the 13th century by a German population ("Walser") descending from the north into the Italian valleys around Monte Rosa, it has preserved today its charming atmosphere with several buildings built around 1500-1600 in a pure "Walser Style" which are still in perfect condition. These magnificent architectures can be appreciated especially in one of the small hamlets of Alagna, called Pedemonte. Here, you can find an entire hamlet totally preserved and the Walser Museum which is housed in a 17th century building. In town, the Church of Saint John Baptist was built in 1511 and it has got inside some beautiful sculptures by Giovanni d'Enrico a famous Italian artist (1559-1644). At the entrance of the town, there is the native house of Tanzio da Varallo (1575-1633), one of the most important Italian artists and brother of Giovanni d'Enrico. In the centre, you can find the historical Hotel Monte Rosa Gugliermina, the first built in the town in 1865.
History of Mountaineering
Alagna is one of the Alpine towns which have played a crucial role in the history of the mountaineering. The Guides Association was founded in 1872 and it is the oldest in Italy second only to that of Courmayeur (1870). From the town started all the first expeditions on the close Monte Rosa; the first one was on 23 July 1801 when Pietro Giordani, a native of Alagna, reached the summit of the peak which now is called by his name (Giordani peak, 4046m). On 1819 Zumstein reached the third highest Monte Rosa peak (Zumstein peak, 4563m). Finally between August the 8th and the 9th, the Alagna parish priest, reached, after three attempts, the fourth tallest peak of Monte Rosa and the highest in the Alagna Valley, the today called Gnifetti Peak (4559m). The mountaineering tradition is still alive: Silvio Mondinelli the second Italian climber to reach all the 14 8000m peaks of the world, has done several challenging climbs on the Alagna side of Monte Rosa. In September 2011, Hervè Barmasse and his father, have opened a new route on the south-east face of the Gnifetti peak m.4559, which is at the moment the most difficult route on this side of the massif and one of the most challenging in the entire group (+800m, VI, ED). Finally Alagna is the starting point for reaching the Capanna Margherita, the highest hut in Europe, on the Gnifetti Peak top (4559m).
The Freeride world capital
Alagna is internationally famous for being the freeride capital of the Alps. Its claim "freeride paradise" strongly testifies this. This claim was given by the American Review Powder which wrote: "Is Alagna, Italy, a freeride Paradise ?" (quotation from the book "Polvere Rosa" by A.Gallo, Ediz. Idee Verticali). There are endless routes for freeriders in a breathtaking landscape. The reason for this great quantity of possibilities is in the particular morphological shape of the main valley, steep but at the same time with several lateral smaller valleys "Comb shape" which permit a huge exploitation of the territory. Plus, thanks of the amazing difference in height form the top of the ridges (Monte Rosa is 4600m) to the bottom of the valley (Alagna itself is only at 1191m) you have a huge slope to cover. It is very difficult to name the best rides: however the majority of the itineraries are around the Punta Giordani 4046m and the wild area of the Malfatta 2914m; these are probably some of the best freeride itineraries in the entire Alps. The ride Balma which crosses the entire Bors Valley form Indren 3260m to Pastore Hut 1575m is one of the most famous, like all the other alternatives routes starting from Passo dei Salati 2979m: Canale a Y, Canale Rettilineo, Canale Obliquo, Canale Longhez, all around the 45°. The Balma itself, from its starting point at Indren 3260m has the first part in a narrow couloir around 45°-50° of steepness, then you have around 2500m of difference in height from the beginning to the end of the route in a breathtaking, wild landascape, close to Monte Rosa 4638m the second highest peak in the Alps. There are other itineraries in the fantastic Otro Valley (Passo Zube S3+, Passo della Coppa S3+, Canale Jschechette S4+), close to Corno Bianco m 3,320. By Eliski the most famous itineraries are Il Cavallo (starting point around 3600m), Rizzetti and Il Turlo. Extreme rides are Perazzi Couloir along Punta Parrot 4436m (55°) and Sesia Couloir between Punta Gnifetti 4559m and Punta Parrot.