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Image 0 - Via della pietra - Working the stone
Image 1 - Via della pietra - Working the stone
Image 2 - Via della pietra - Working the stone
Image 3 - Via della pietra - Working the stone
Image 4 - Via della pietra - Working the stone
Image 5 - Via della pietra - Working the stone

Via della pietra - Working the stone

The Stone was for millennia the construction element of predilection in the alpine valleys of the Southern Alps. Discover the many facets of the natural stone works, the artifacts created thanks to it, as the Man was able to shape it and exploit it.

This itinerary runs throughout the lower Leventina Valley and part of the right side of the Riviera. The way entirely on the valley floor follows the cycling national route number 3. The pedestrian path between Iragna and Lodrino passing from the “monti” (5.7 km in 3h00) is particularly suggestive because it allows discovering some of the hidden treasures of the Riviera and permits to closely observe the activity of one of the largest quarries in the region.

The territory of the Via della Pietra, including the whole Riviera, the lower parts of Leventina and Blenio valleys and the northern part of Bellinzona region, is double-stranded with the stone, both under its purely naturalistic sense and in terms of historical and social aspects related with this natural resource.

From an exclusively geological point of view, we are indeed in the deepest core of the Alps. The stone marked profoundly this territory since the Prehistory; it is located since the late Middle Ages along the “Via delle Genti” and is connoted by its linkage with the building stone since the modern era. Considering the volume of quarried material, the Riviera is today the most important extraction region for natural stone in Switzerland.

With the construction of the Gotthard railway at the end of the nineteenth century, the natural stone of the Riviera has spread throughout Switzerland. Throughout the country, monuments and public buildings – especially railway stations, banks and administrative buildings – were built and decorated with Riviera gneisses or Castione marbles. The Riviera stone has also crossed oceans, steppes and deserts. Indeed, we can find it for example in New York, in Moscow, in Saudi Arabia or also in the almost inaccessible Kazakhstan and as well in many European countries.

Tips

The itinerary can be done also in stages; the stages on the valley floor can be travelled by bike.

  • Hiking boots
  • Sun cap
  • Water-bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Hiking map
  • Camera

Montagnepulite: This project was born to promote an effective management and sustainable use of mountain huts in Ticino, and in particular the litter management. The responsible management of litter in the mountains is a matter of common sense. We can all contribute: https://www.montagnepulite.ch/en/golden-rules

Alternative routes

Living with the stone: path in Blenio Valley, preferably to be walked by foot (13 km, 4h30), is a circular route among historical monuments, traditional vineyards and rupestrian archaeology.

The nature of stone: between Castione and Biasca, this itinerary allows discovering some of the most remarkable natural sites of the Riviera.