Updated: Feb 9, 2019
A few years back on a trip to Switzerland and a cruise leaving Venice, I decided to include an overnight stay along the Valle Verzasca to experience the unique natural beauty there. This area of Switzerland is very close to Italy and the area of Switzerland that recognizes Italian as the official language. We stayed at a cozy hotel with spectacular views of the river and old stone buildings with slate/rock roofs. The drive up the small winding road is well worth the trip.
The host at the hotel was very helpful and prepared a custom dinner for us that evening. I came close to ordering the horse, but I decided I wasn't quite up for that yet. The homemade mushroom risotto and cheese ravioli were delicious, as were the desserts, including panna cotta.
In the morning we took a short walk up to the double arched bridge (Ponte dei Salti). It is fun to get out on the boulders and hop from spot to spot. As the day warmed up there were swimmers and even some SCUBA divers! The water is so clear and beautiful in color. But very cold.
A very unique location and one that we are glad we included in our visit.
On our way back down the valley I tried to keep up with the Porsche but was unsuccessful. I have driven in a number of places in Europe, but this was my first experience with very narrow roads. And as we entered Italy, the roads narrowed even further.
Prior to leaving Switzerland we stopped at the temporary AlpTransit museum to see information about the recently completed Gotthard Base Tunnel. This tunnel now runs 57 km (35 miles) long and allows rail traffic to quickly and efficiently travel under the mighty Alps. Switzerland has hundreds of large and small tunnels that facilitate easy transportation through the rugged Alps. I love driving through the tunnels of Switzerland.
As we entered Italy it was obvious where we were. The country side was beautiful and green, with vineyards everywhere. The rain helped to brighten the colors.
Our first stop in Italy was to a store to get an additional SD card for my camera. We found the perfect place. Not only did they have unique Italian foods and souvenirs,
they also had Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon!! In vinyl. I had recently started a vinyl records collection and this was seen as a warm welcome to Italy and a sign that our visit was going to be great!
The drive over to Venice was mostly motorway and uneventful. I will cover Venice in a separate blog post.
Hotels: Osteria Vittoria, Albergo Familienhotel Campagna,
Restaurants: Osteria Vittoria, Osteria Corippo
Must See Places: Valle Verzasca, Ponte dei Salti, Verzasca Dam
Note: The Bungee Jump from Verzasca Dam where James Bond jumped off in Golden Eye is highly recommended, but not one I have first hand experience with.
Extended Day-Trips: Bellinzona: The three ancient castles of Castelgrande, Castello Sasso Corbaro, and Montebello. Ponte Tibetano Carasc (suspension bridge).
Alternate Locations: Locarno is a larger city at the shores of Lake Maggiore with beautiful views of the Alps. Hotesl: Hotel Belvedere Locarno, Caffè dell'Arte Boutique Rooms.