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Art, Culture & Faith

Malesco - Small town of excellence

Valli dell'Ossola

ITC Orange Flag

761 a.s.l.

Patron Saint
29 June, Saints Pietro and Paolo

Market Day

Tourist Informations

Over the centuries, Malesco has been the most populous village in the Vigezzo Valley and is still one of the valley's main towns. Its origins are thought to date back to prehistoric times, and it was certainly a Roman settlement, of which tombs, furnishings and the paving of an ancient street have been found. In the village, declared an Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club, the architectural tradition of Vigezzo is confirmed by its elegant beauty, while the frescoes by Giovanni Valtorta in the parish church of SS. Pietro and Paolo(18th century) and the paintings by Giuseppe Maria Borgnis in the Oratorio del Gabbio (18th century) remind us that we are in the "Painters' Valley". In the Val Grande National Park Museum, part of the Ecomuseum of Soapstone and Stonemasons, a permanent exhibition is dedicated to the history of soapstone. The hamlet of Zornasco boasts, in addition to the Church of San Bernardo di Mentone (15th-16th centuries), the presence of another "cell" of the eco-museum, the Mulin dul Tacc, equipped with a mill once used to crush hemp fibre, which was very precious in the valley because it was used to weave the cloth used to make shirts and sheets. Also linked to the eco-museum is the thematic exhibition on the Malesque Giovan Maria Salati, the first man to swim across the English Channel, in the municipal wash house. With its rich historical-artistic, traditional and environmental heritage, the Malesco Eco-museum, recognised by the Piedmont Region since 2007, is part of the Ossola Museums Association network. Its presence makes Malesco an important cultural destination in the panorama of Alpine villages. This is the ideal place to hold the International Short Film Festival, an event with an international flavour, now firmly established in Vigezzo in July. The "Malescorto” festival, features every evening at the Cinema Comunale the projection of quality short films from all over the world, followed by the awards ceremony for the winning short films.
Malesco belongs to the Val Grande National Park area. The nearby Loana Valley, the gateway to the park for those coming from the Vigezzo Valley, is one of the most popular places to enter the wilderness with fairly accessible excursions or to make the crossing of the park, the latter only for the most experienced trekkers. Val Loana is also interesting from a geological standpoint, with its white marble outcrops and black limestone quarries, once used to produce lime by firing in kilns, which have been recently restored. This small valley hosted soapstone quarries, traces of which can still be seen along the road that climbs from Malesco to Fondo li Gabbi. Here, above the retaining wall of the road, one can see a boulder bearing clear signs of the extraction of blocks for lathe work, which appear as large circular holes of varying depths. Other upper blocks were not fully extracted, suggesting the precision with which the craftsman worked to prevent them from shattering.
Before reaching Finero, another hamlet of Malesco, you come to Pian dei Sali, a typical damp mountain environment that opens with a flat stretch after the Scopello hairpin bends. This is the perfect habitat for the temporaria frog, an amphibian species whose special features are its orange-brown coat and its adaptability to high altitudes, allowing it to live at altitudes of over 2,500 metres.

Typical food and wine
Among the outstanding Ossola cured meats are the Prosciutto Crudo di Vigezzo with its elegantly smoked flavour; the goat's violin with its atavistic scent and hints of wild, oak and juniper; the delicately spiced Brisaula Val d'Ossola. Hints of animals, woodland and undergrowth and dried fruit, accompanied by sensations of softness and sweetness.
The bread and milk cake is the mountain cake par excellence. It is typically made from a mixture of milk and black bread, originally from Coimo in the Vigezzo Valley, to which cocoa and sultanas are added, with a garnish of rosemary or bay leaves. It is then cooked in the oven inside a clay pot. True simplicity with an inimitable taste.
In Ossola, these delicacies are accompanied not only by wine but also by fresh water from pure natural springs. In Malesco there is the Fonte Alpia with its low-mineral water that is very light and pleasant to the taste thanks to its balanced mineralisation and the quality of its components. Acqua Vigezzo is thus bottled as it flows from the spring and offered in still, sparkling and lightly sparkling versions. Its bottles have become famous for the artistic label depicting works from the Vigezzo painting school, a touch of aesthetic appeal and promotion of the area.


Trekking Routes
Recommended Treks: Vigezzo Valley: MUINO LAKES

Bike Routes
Recommended Bike Routes: Vigezzo in bici: Vigezzo by bike: route 1 Druogno - Re Pineta

Soapstone, "laugera" in the Ossola language and "leuźèrie" in the Maleschese dialect, is a rocky composition of an opaque green colour, easily workable and with extraordinary fire resistance. The name itself, from the Latin "olla" or “oil container”, suggests its typical use throughout history. Malesco soapstone was quarried in the adjacent Loana Valley. The artefacts collected in the Val Grande National Park Museum are mainly hand crafted on lathes and used for domestic purposes (preserving and cooking food, making stoves and fireplaces). In many restaurants in the Vigezzo Valley it is still possible to taste food, especially meat, exquisitely grilled on laugera. There is no lack of soapstone finds for civil (aqueducts and buildings), urban (fountains) and architectural (ornaments) use, worked by the skilled Vigezzo stonemasons of the past.

Archivio Fotografico Distretto Turistico dei Laghi
Foto di Marco Benedetto Cerini

+39 (0)32492261
Light rain
Via Conte Mellerio n.54
28854 - Malesco (VB)

46.127515513636, 8.5014116764069

46.127515513636, 8.5014116764069