The hydro-electric power stations of the Ossola

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How to get

By car: the A26 motorway continues as the Simplon dual carriageway. Follow this road to Val Formazza.


The Verbano Cusio Ossola province has a long tradition of producing hydro-electric power, harnessing the many mountain streams in the area.

The hydro-electric power stations in the Ossola and Formazza valleys were designed largely by the architect Piero Portaluppi, and their construction was completed between 1921 and 1929. These great “cathedrals of energy”, in the words of the futurist architect Antonio Sant’Elia, can be seen at Verampio, Crego, Valdo, Sottofrua, Crevoladossola and Caderese; they show a mixture of styles, with Neoclassical and Baroque features that give them the appearance of massive fortified castles.

The houses of the inspector general in Baceno (1920) and of the director are simpler, typically Walser in design with wooden balconies and the lower part in stone. Worth a visit are also the plant of Piedimulera (1906), by the Milan architect Gaetano Moretti, and the power stations of Pallanzeno (1926) and Varzo, built in 1910 using local stone to a design by Ugo Monneret de Villard.