Itinerary: Loderio – Semione – Castello di Serravalle – Malvaglia – Loderio
The famous Valle del Sole (Sun Valley) can be reached by car (along the motorway, Biasca exit) or by public transport (from Biasca). It is best to visit it when the sun is shining, so we usually wait for a sunny Sunday before heading there.
The way we chose for our excursion was lovely: we parked our car by the side of the road, right after the bridge in the village of Loderio.
Take the first trail that we find on the right side, and it takes us to a beach along the Brenno River. The place is stunning, and we are tempted to skip the walk and stay here for the day, picnic included. Eventually we decide to stick to our original plan and walk to the Castle of Serravalle.
The trail is actually a dirt path, it is all flat which makes it very pleasant to walk, but if you go in summer bring a hat, as there is no shade.
Once you reach Semione you see the first farms. There are plenty of baby animals, goats, lambs and calves – and we are enchanted. Everyone wants to bring home one to cuddle, but since it is not possible, we keep on walking. In each farm, you can buy local products (so truly locally sourced) whereas the holiday farm Agriturismo Il Mugnaio organizes delicious Sunday brunches and activities for children.
After almost 1 hour and 30 minutes walking time we reach the castle of Serravalle, we are quite tired and hungry (the last 100 meters are all uphill). In the shadow of the little church, we open our backpacks and prepare the picnic. The church provides shade and from there we can enjoy a magnificent view over the valley.
The kids wander around to discover the hidden corners of the castle ruins, and have fun imagining what life could have been like in the past. In the meantime, we (parents) walk to the nearest fountain and full our water bottles (the fountain is a two-minute walk north of the castle).
We continue our journey along an ancient mule track that once used to go as far as Lucomagno, and descend to the Grotto della Ganna (possibly closed) in Malvaglia.
From here you have several possibilities to return to Loderio: either you go back following the road which runs along the river (on the Semione side, as one your way here), return to Malvaglia and take a bus back from there, or else follow the river banks on the side of Malvaglia and walk to Loderio.
We chose the last one but I do not recommend it unless you really are up to something adventurous). Our trip ended up with dad carrying the kids across the river to the other side, on his back (Amazon River style)… and I navigating across the river in underwear (do not tell anyone, ok?) because dad had forgotten where the official river crossing was. And then, still in underwear (with soaked trousers tied around the neck) finishing up the last leg of the trail…
My children will not forget this trip easily, you can bet on that!