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The valley is dotted with small picturesque villages with traditional stone houses, vineyards and dairy farms. In the mid-19th century due to food shortage, economic hardship and an unsustainable population, many families emigrated to Australia and the Americas.
For example, the villages of Lodano and Giumaglio presently have a combined population of around 200 people as compared to 500 in the 19th century. The largest industries of the valley after tourism are stone quarrying and dairy production.
The road from Locarno through the valley leads to further remote valleys: Valle di Bosco Gurin, Valle di Campo, Val Bavona, Val Lavizzara, Valle di Peccia, Val Sambuco, Val di Prato, all part of the Vallemaggia district.
Tall waterfalls are a common sight in the valley as many mountain streams feed the Maggia throughout its course. In a distance of less than 40 kilometers the Maggia runs from the foot of an alpine glacier to Lake Maggiore. Beginning with tundra plants at its source and finishing with tropical palm trees at its mouth.
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