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but the road now, though steep, is practicable for light carriages. Those, however, who hope for health from the miraculous power of the block, must walk up. A series of steep tourniquets leads to the church dedicated to the Virgin, which is a fine structure of the 14th and 15th centuries. Painting and sculpture have adorned and enriched it; and among the artists employed are found the names of Gaudenzio Ferrari and Luino. At the angles, in the zigzag ascent to the church, there are erected chapels, dedicated to the Virgin, and named after some event in her life, as, the Chapel or Oratory of the Annunciation of the Purification of the Assumption, etc. A few are dedicated to saints in the Romish calendar; and the whole number of these chapels exceeds 24.

One benefit to the traveller who may choose to wander by Biella, a little out of the high course from Varallo to Turin, arises from this miserable superstition, for it has caused the establishment of good inns necessary for the accommodation of the numerous pilgrims who visit it; and he will have no reason to complain of a want of comfort at Biella. There is a communication by diligence, three times a week, between Biella and Turin, distant 33 miles.

From Biella to Turin there are two roads, one by Saluzzola, Cigliano and Chivasse, the other by Ivrea; the distance is nearly equal; but by the former the traveller descends at once to the plains; by Ivrea, a more picturesque road leads across valleys and open commons, by Mongrando, and over the Monte Bolengo, famous for the vineyards on its slopes. The views presented from the heights, of the plans and valleys spread out below the traveller on the left, and of the richly wooded mountain slopes, the lowest buttresses of the Alps towards the side of Piedmont, on the right, well recompense the traveller for the worse road, and lead him to

Ivrea, at the entrance of the celebrated valley of Aosta, about 20 miles from Turin. See page 349.

ROUTE 104.


From Varallo, the ascent of the Val Sesia can best be made on mules, though it is not altogether impracticable for chars as far as Riva, distant 9 hours. The Val Sesia offers scenes of less rugged grandeur than some of its lateral valleys; but in its course, many of great beauty are passed, chiefly render

ed so by the fine wooding of the slopes, the grand forms of the trees, and the sometimes tranquil, often furious course of the Sesia. Before arriving at Scopello, the villages of Balmuccias and Rua are passed, and the wild valley of Sermento opens on the right.

At Scopello there are many smelting houses, where the copper ore, already washed and crushed, is reduced. About 50 tons annually are raised at Alagna, at the head of the Val Sesia, 4 leagues above Scopello.

There is not much variation in the scenery, though the whole is pleasing. The route passes by the villages of Campertongo and Mollis, to Riva, the chief of the high villages in the valley. Within the district known as the Val Sesia there are reckoned two bourgs and 30 villages, evidence of a thickly-populated country in the valleys of the Alps. Riva is situated at the confluence of the torrents of the Dobbia and the Sesia, and about half a league below the village of Alagna, where the mines of copper are wrought. From Alagna, a pass by the Mont Turloz leads in six hours from the Val Sesia to Pesterana in the Val Anzasca.

Riva is a miserable place of rest; the inn affording only wretched accommodation, and its inmates little civility, but there is no other. The church of Riva will surprise the traveller by its structure, its excessive decoration, and the real talent with which it is painted within and without, chiefly by one of the numerous painters which the Val Sesia has produced-Tanzio, or Antonio d'Enrico, a native of Alagna. The external paintings have a remarkable freshness, though they have been painted more than 200 years, and exposed to the weather in this high valley.

The view of Monte Rosa from Riva is very sublime; its enormous masses clothed in glaciers, close the head of the Val de Lys, and offer a scene of extraordinary grandeur.

The course into the Val de Lys from Riva is up the narrow ravine of the Dobbia, by a wretched and difficult path, in some places overhanging the torrent, in others disputing with the river the narrow course through which both must struggle. After passing the miserable hamlet of Grato, near to which there is a fine waterfall gushing out of the black ravine, the abrupt ascent to the Col de val Dobbia is up through a pine forest, and thence over alpine pasturages by a long and fatiguing path, which offers no object of particular interest to the traveller.

The distance from Riva to the Col, which is 8200 feet above the level of the sea, requires 6 hours. On the summit there is a stone hovel for the shelter of travellers who may be unfortunate enough to require it; it existed in Sanssure's time it consists of two apartments, a chapel and a

place of refuge within. It was built at the joint expense of the commune of Riva and of an individual of Gressoney named Luscos. Steep slopes of snow lie near the summit unmelted throughout the year. The view of Monte Rosa is concealed for some time from the traveller, but in the course of his descent the deep valley of the Lys, and the sublime masses of Monte Rosa, offer views rivalling any in the great chain.

From the summit to Gressoney requires three hours. At this retired village the traveller will be agreeably surprised on arriving at an excellent inn, kept by the family Luscos; where a harpsichord, German music, a tolerable library of Latin, German, and some French authors, portraits of Joseph II. and Maria Theresa, and a formidable array of many generations of the Luscoses' half-length ancestors, in "curled white wigs" hung around to recal their virtues to the memory of their descendants-is an unexpected finding in a village so retired that it almost touches the glaciers of Monte Rosa.

It is a singular fact, that in all the communes at the heads of the Piedmontese valleys of Monte Rosa, the German language is spoken; at Riva and Alagna in the Val Sesia, above Pesterana in the Val Anzasca, and at St. Giacomo in the Val Challant. The manners of these communities is as dise tinct as their language, from that of their neighbours lower down the valleys, with whom they hold little intercourse: they encourage a pride of birth and birthplace which strongly keeps up the separation. At Gressoney, in the Val de Lys, this is perhaps more strongly exemplified than in any other of the valleys. Here their characters are distinguished for honesty and industry, and few communities have a higher moral tone. Crime is almost unknown among them, and if disputes arise the syndic or magistrate elected by themselves hears the complaint, and effects an amicable settlement.

They possess many of those comforts which an Englishman appreciates, and which are unknown to the lower inhabitants of the valleys. Their education and attainments are of a higher order than is usually found in such a class, especially in such a place.

Many of their young men have distinguished themselves by the abilities which they have displayed when they have gone abroad in the world. They have become merchants and bankers, and many from among them have become eminent for learning and science, and reflected honour on the little community located in this alpine solitude. Among these is Herr zum Stein, better known in the Val Sesia as M. De la Pierre, who has made several ascents of the Monte

Rosa, and gave great assistance to Colonel Von Welder in his Topography of Monte Rosa. Zum Stein holds the appointment of inspector of the forests of the Val Sesia.

From Gressoney St. Jean, the descent to St.Martin, in the Val d'Aosta, by the valley of the Lys, is a journey of about 26 miles; passing through many villages and hamlets-of which the principal are Gaby, Issime, Fontainemore, and Lillianes, and through some scenes of wildness and beauty, which, however, become common to the traveller in the Val d'Aosta and its lateral valleys. Above Gressoney St. Jean are the hamlets of Gressoney la Trinitè, san Giacomo, and St. Pietro.

The excellent accommodations afforded at Gressoney St. Jean make it desirable head-quarters to those who would visit the magnificent glaciers at the head of the Val de Lys, or make excursions around Monte Rosaby the Col d'Ollen. which connects the heads of the valleys of the Sesia and the Lys, and the Col de Betta between the Val de Lys and the Val Challant. Excellent guides may be found at Gressoney, and there are few valleys in proximity with the glaciers which offer so many alpine wonders to the examination of the traveller.

In continuing the route direct to Châtillon, in the Val d'Aosta, it is necessary to ascend the steep forest-paths and slopes of the mountain on the side of the valley opposite to the Col de Val Dobbia: it is an extremely difficult and fatiguing path the whole way up to the Col de Ranzola, the sumunit of the ridge which divides the valleys of the Lys and Challant.

On emerging in the ascent from the pine forest, the finest perhaps of the views of Monte Rosa is presented, especially when taken in connection with the beautiful Val de Lys, which lies far below the traveller, with its quiet villages and fertile pasturages. The Lys, like a silver thread, may be traced up to its glaciers. On either side of the valley the vast mountains belted with forests offer, at the depression of their ridges, the paths by which the most frequent intercourse takes place with the neighbouring valleys. The scene is imperishable from the memory whilst any of the recollections of the Alps remain to the traveller.

After passing the Col de Ranzola the descent is gradual to the little hamlet of St. Grat. Nor is it either steep or difficult to Brussone, in the Val Challant. The distance from Gressoney to Brussone is 6 hours. In the descent, the Val Challant may be traced in its course far down towards Verrex, where it joins the Val d'Aosta; except at the lowest part of the valley it fails in striking objects of interest, but near its termination there are some fine scenes. Above Brus

sone the valley ascends through several hamlets to St. Giacomo d'Ayas, whence a pass leads to the head of the Val Tournanche and the pass of the Cervin.

At Brussone there is one of the most detestable inns in Piedmont. Filth and its accompanying goitre, disgust in every direction, and the Cheval Blanc with its dirty hostess cannot be forgotten. Sleeping here may be avoided, as the journey from Gressoney to Chatillon in the Val d'Aosta may be easily accomplished in a day, and from Gressoney to Varallo may be performed in another, and thus the bad inns at Brussone and at Riva may be avoided.

From Brussone another mountain range must be crossed to reach the Val d'Aosta at Châtillon; or the traveller may descend to Verrex in the Val d'Aosta, which requires 5 hours, passing through Challant and Challard. The road across the mountain presents some glorious views, and Châtillon, by the Col de Jon, is reached as soon as Verrex by the Val de Challant. After crossing some meadows beyond Brussone, the road winds steeply up through a forest of pines and larches, and then opens upon one of the most beautiful pasturages in the Alps the Col de Jon, which is a fine greensward, broad and luxuriant.

On reaching the descent towards the Val d'Aosta this beautiful valley is seen in all its length, from Châtillon to the Mont Blanc; not traced quite to the base of the latter, for its summit only is seen towering over the lower abutments into the Val d'Aosta, and showing a glorious termination to this vast and beautiful view, which, in the descent, constantly varies. A series of steep tourniquets brings the traveller down to the forests of chestnut and walnut-trees, for which the Val d'Aosta is celebrated. These offer to him their shade and soon the vines and figs and their luxuriant foliage to the cool and refreshing path which leads through the village and baths of St. Vincent, and the valley of Aosta is entered at one of its finest points near Châtillon.

ROUTE 105.



Vogogna (Route 59) is situated in the plain of the Val d'Ossola, 2 posts below Domo d'Ossola, and on the confluence of the torrent of the Anza with the Toccia. The valley of Anzasca leads directly up to the Monte Rosa; the village of Macugnaga, the highest in the valley, is a day's journey from Vogogna; thence the pass over the Moro, and by the valley

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