Alagna and the World of the Walsers 

Alagna is a great place for a ski vacation in Italy and offers a rich cultural heritage too. The village is home to a fascinating museum dedicated to the Walsers, a Germanic people who moved to the area many centuries ago. The town offers a glimpse into the unique history and traditions of this hardy and resilient community.

Walser cottage near Alagna

Where to Stay in Alagna

I would suggest the friendly MH Olen Boutique  HotelThis stunning hotel is a true gem of the region and offers guests an unforgettable stay in the heart of the Italian Alps.

As you step into the hotel, you will be immediately struck by the warm and inviting atmosphere. The decor is a perfect blend of traditional alpine style and modern design, with wooden accents and cozy furnishings that create a welcoming ambiance.

The rooms at MH Olen Boutique Hotel are spacious and beautifully decorated, with comfortable beds, plush linens, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Each room is equipped with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and luxurious toiletries.

Prefer to stay in another of Piedmont's ski resorts? Visit my guide here .

About Alagna

This tiny little town of around 500 inhabitants is located on the slopes of the second highest mountain in Europe, Monte Rosa, and is still relatively unknown by skiers and anybody else, for that matter.

Alagna is slowly becoming more popular among Piedmont's locals for its great skiing and hiking. Whitewater rafters and climbers too have started to discover the area, which is a true mecca for summer and winter sports lovers.

With over 2,500 meters of piste at 45-degree angles, intermediate and advanced off-piste skiers are in for an unforgettable experience. However, the resort is not just for advanced skiers. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate slopes available, as well as ski schools for those who are new to the sport.

The resort's development has been carried out in an environmentally-friendly manner, setting a new standard for future ski resorts. In fact, Alagna is already seen as a model for sustainable tourism in the region. The village's commitment to sustainability is evident in everything from the building materials used in construction to the energy-efficient systems powering the resort.

In addition to the amazing skiing opportunities, Alagna is also a great destination for cross-country skiing. The Valsesia National Park, located nearby, is the highest national park in Europe and offers spectacular scenery whether you're skiing, snowboarding, climbing, or hiking. There are many well-maintained cross-country skiing trails throughout the park, offering a great way to explore the area and take in the stunning mountain views.

The resort is home to the highest lift in Italy (3700 meters) and offers some of the longest ski runs to be found anywhere in Europe. The off-piste powder skiing is among the best available in the region, making Alagna a must-visit destination for experienced skiers.

The Walsers

As you wander through the winding streets of Alagna, you might well notice that the wooden and stone houses are particularly characteristic and very Germanic in style. The architecture is a reflection of the fascinating history of the region and its people, the Walsers. This community of Germanic origin moved here many centuries ago and has managed to preserve its unique culture and traditions through the ages. The Walsers are known for their resilience, and their ability to adapt to the challenging alpine environment that surrounds them.

Despite being in Italy, the language spoken in Alagna is still a strange sounding, at least to me, medieval German. It is a testament to the Walsers' tenacity and the strength of their cultural identity that they have been able to maintain their language and traditions for so long. For those interested in learning more about the history and culture of the Walsers, a visit to the museum in Alagna is a must. The museum is dedicated to this hardy and unique community, and its exhibits provide a fascinating insight into their way of life.

Visitors to the museum can learn about the Walsers' traditional crafts, such as woodcarving and embroidery, and their distinctive dress. The exhibits also delve into the Walsers' history, tracing their migration from Switzerland and Austria to the Italian Alps, and their struggles and triumphs in this challenging environment. Watching the video, you'll get a glimpse of the beauty and culture of this unique community, and understand why they have become such an important part of the cultural landscape of the region.

Where to Eat

Alagna may only be a small village nestled in the beautiful mountains of northern Italy, but despite its size, it offers a range of dining options that will satisfy any palate. Here are a few restaurants that come highly recommended:

Ristorante Indren Hus - This cozy restaurant is located in the heart of Alagna and serves up delicious traditional Italian cuisine with a modern twist. The menu features homemade pastas, fresh seafood, and locally sourced meats. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list, featuring some of the best wines from the Piedmont region.

Rifugio Vieux Crest - For a unique dining experience, head up to the Rifugio Vieux Crest, located high up in the mountains. This rustic mountain hut offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and serves hearty dishes such as polenta, stews, and grilled meats. Make sure to try the homemade cheese, made right on the premises.

Ristorante Genzianella - This family-run restaurant is located in the nearby village of Riva Valdobbia, just a short drive from Alagna. The menu features traditional local dishes such as polenta, game meats, and mountain cheeses. The restaurant also has a great selection of wines from the Piedmont region.

La Baracca - This laid-back pizzeria is the perfect spot for a casual meal after a day on the slopes. The pizza is made in a wood-fired oven and is topped with fresh local ingredients. The restaurant also serves salads, sandwiches, and homemade desserts.

Osteria La Balma - This charming restaurant is located in the nearby village of Scopello and serves up delicious traditional Italian dishes in a cozy atmosphere. The menu features homemade pastas, grilled meats, and fresh seafood. Make sure to save room for dessert - the homemade tiramisu is a must-try!

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