For the first time, during a recent long weekend, we traveled to the Canton of Ticino. It lies in the south of Switzerland in its Italian part, and like other Swiss cantons, this one also has its unique charm. Our destination was the magic Verzasca Valley, where flows the river of the same name with crystal clear water, which someone describes as azure, turquoise, emerald or jade green. And everyone is basically right 🙂
How to get there
If you do not want to drive through the Alpine passes, the most direct route to Ticino is via the Gotthard Tunnel, that is 17 kilometers long. Be prepared for a traffic jam, that can be sometimes the same length as the length of the tunnel. Though we set off very early in the morning and we approached the tunnel about half past six, we spent nearly half an hour later in the tailback. The entrance to the tunnel is controlled by traffic lights, and traffic is reduced to one lane. (Just for the idea: on the way back from the weekend, we spent an hour and a half in the traffic jam in front of the tunnel, and we were quite fortunate because they reported on the radio that we would stay there for almost three hours!).
After leaving the highway, keep driving to Lavertezzo. We left the car in one of the small parking lots (one is south of the bridge, the other as if behind it). Both are paid with a three-hour limit (for 6 francs).
Ponte dei Salti
We started our hike (and then ended) at the most impressed bridge in Switzerland – Ponte dei Salti. This medieval double arch stone bridge has become a landmark of the entire valley.
As we crossed it, I was quite nervous, especially because of the children (the bridge has very low “railings”) and I was scared they slip on the rocks and end up in the deep water below us. After crossing the bridge, we turned left and followed the yellow signs in the direction of Corippo.
The path led mainly through the forest following the river, it was lumpy and rocky and therefore definitely not suitable for strollers. The Manduca baby carrier has proved useful again.
A few times the trail left the river bank and led through the settlement of the traditional “rustico” stone houses.
Short ahead of Ponte di Corippo, we enjoyed the look at the foamy river rapids. Small droplets of water even reached out to us.
As we left the forest path, we turned right and followed the asphalt road up. It took us about ten minutes walking to reach the village of Corippo.
This charming village, whose houses are glued to each other like a swallow’s nest, is with its only 13 inhabitants the smallest in Switzerland. *
Stone houses with slate roofs are built on a steep slope.
The village is considered a monument of national importance and is therefore rigorously protected.
If your children get too tired, you can take the bus (Auto Postale) to get back to Lavertezzo. The get to the “Bivio di Corippo” stop you have to walk back down to the river and cross the bridge. However, buses run only once an hour, so you need to check the times here. We hiked back to Lavertezzo the same way we came.
Bathing in the river
After the hike, it was very refreshing to soak sore feet in the river, whose water remains quite cold (better to say icy) even in the warmest summer months. I admire those who plunged in the water bathed in the river. Although in some parts there are small shallow ponds where small children can bathe, one must still be careful. The river is quite wild and its currents and rapids can be unpredictable, and even the stones can be quite slippery.
- The valley and especially the bridge attract, of course, many tourists for its beauty. So if you want to make nice photos of the bridge without crowds of tourists crossing the bridge, I recommend arriving here in the morning. I recommend the same for parking.
- Although on the page where I found our hiking route, they say it’s suitable for any kind of shoes, it’s definitely not the case. I recommend sturdy shoes with a good sole because of the uneven terrain. I would also recommend this his for children older than four years.
- If you would like to go on a hike in the opposite direction (Sonogno-Lavertezzo), check out Tanya´s blog www.momstotoszurich.com where the hike is very well described.