Highlights and tour details
Historic inter-valley footpath link between Alta Valle Cervo (Piedmont) and Valle di Gressoney (Aosta Valley) used since 1400.
From Biella, the route climbs Valle Cervo to Rosazza, where you turn left immediately after the bridge over the Pragnetta stream, taking via Federico Rosazza. There is a big car park at the end of the road, from where you take path E30, a characteristic mule track lined with rock engravings. After about a kilometre, you reach the junction with path E32, which leads to the Desate huts, and staying on path E30, you cross Alpe Borrione until you intersect path E34. Ignore the fork that leads to the Chapel of San Giovannino and continue to the right instead. The path becomes steeper from this point. After passing a point where a fixed rope helps to overcome a rock drop, you arrive at the last section of the path, which, after the buildings of the lower and upper Alpe Gragliasca, reaches the panoramic Colle della Gragliasca.
Points of interest
Originally it was a simple trail used primarily by the women of the valley who travelled it with heavy baskets on their shoulders. In the late 19th century, it was transformed into a mule track by the philanthropist Federico Rosazza Pistolet from Rosazza. Works began on 26 July 1886 under Battista Rosazza Bertina and with a team of bricklayers, stonecutters and 38 women. The first section of the route to Case Borrione, celebrates local female figures: the Siunere who collected the mowing grass (siun) on the peak to feed the few cattle, and the women carriers, employed at the worksites to transport solid material with the basket and liquid with the buz dal cheine. The latter is a container made of slats with shoulder straps made from chains, an example can be admired in “La Valligiana” fountain of the municipal park of Rosazza
Fine artefacts carved out of local stone are present along the mule track. They are high-reliefs of female faces and rupestrian inscriptions with messages of greeting and good wishes: the gnigna (great-aunt), the mare (mother), the nonna del Dasè, as well as the history of the young grass cutter Agnesetta. There are also shelters made in the rock and high stone chairs created to allow the women to rest their basket during the short stops. Close to the streams, there are fords paved with square and raised stones to facilitate crossing in times of flooding.
After Case Borrione, towards Colle della Gragliasca, you can admire a fine high-relief depicting St. John the Baptist to whom the Chapel of San Giovannino is also dedicated, located a little further on and built in 1872 with a fresco of the saint by Giuseppe Maffei.
The House Museum, open to visitors in summer, is located in a traditional dwelling in via Pietro Micca 25, Rosazza. The typical environments of rural civilisation are reconstructed in the fifteen rooms, distributed on four floors, and tell the remarkable history of the Upper Cervo Valley (in dialect Bürsch: the den, the house).
In the municipality of Rosazza there is a rest area in “La Valligiana” Municipal Park.
Historical interest: Yes
Provinces crossed: Biella Valsesia Vercelli