Casa Forte of Ponte Formazza
How to get
By train: the nearest railway station is Domodossola, from where there is a public bus service to Formazza.
One of the most interesting attractions of the Formazza Valley must be the Casa Forte, or Fortified House, in the village of Pomat, the historic and skiing centre of the valley.
The Casa Forte is a stone-built house dating from 1569; it was originally the residence of the ammano or head of the community, and later was used as a storehouse for goods in transit between the Ossola and Switzerland. Fortified houses are a characteristic feature of the civil and military architecture of the whole Ossola area, along with the fortifications and the towers also seen in the valley, and are a reminder of the extent to which this land was disputed by rival factions, also by virtue of its function as an obligatory transit route for people coming from the north.
Today the Casa Forte houses the local Folk Museum (open from June to August). The Museum focuses on the Walser civilization and the origins of skiing, and is furnished with articles typical of the life of the country people. During the tourist season it also hosts temporary exhibitions on themes connected to the mountains and Walser traditions.
A curiosity: the name “Formazza” derives from the word “Pomat”, the ancient name given by the Walsers (the Germanic ethnic group which came from the Valais area in Switzerland to settle in different areas of the Alps between Italy and Switzerland) to the settlements founded in the high valley of the Toce between 1200 and 1300.
Tel. +39 0324 63059