Macugnaga is a pretty mountain village in a marvellous setting at the foot of the awe-inspiring east face of Monte Rosa at the end of the Anzasca Valley.
It was founded in the 13th century by the Walsers, a people of Germanic origin who came from the Canton Valais in Switzerland to settle in the high valleys around Monte Rosa, Formazza, Simplon and Aosta.
This so-called “people of the Alps” learned how to make the most of what the high mountain pastures had to offer, stubbornly exploiting their extraordinary capacity for adaptation to the rigours and harsh conditions of the environment, and giving rise to their characteristic communities.
Macugnaga is today still defined by the Walser culture and traditions: you can see this in the distinctive architecture of the houses, in the traditional costumes worn by the women of the village on special occasions like St Bernard’s Fair, in the Titsch language still spoken by the old people of the village, or in the care of the people for the “Dorf”, the tiny 13th century heart of the village.
Well worth a visit is the Walser House Museum in Borca, one of the outlying hamlets. The house, dating from the 17th century, has been open to the public since 1983, thanks to donations and restoration work performed by the local people. The three-storey house houses a permanent collection of reproductions, antique prints, photographs and everyday objects used in the Walser colony of Macugnaga.
Macugnaga today is a modern tourist centre, equipped for both winter and summer holidays. In winter snow sports enthusiasts can choose from the 35 km of downhill ski runs, two Nordic skiing circuits, a snowpark and a variety of snowshoeing trails. Summer offers walks in the woods, hikes to explore the high pastures and the Wildlife Oasis, and high-level mountaineering on the peaks of Monte Rosa.