Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the most important alpine tourist destinations of Piedmont. This small town is situated in the centre of Valle Vigezzo – also known as Valley of Painters or Valley of Chimney Sweeps – on the border with Parco Nazionale Val Grande.
Alpine culture, excellent wine and food tradition, outdoor activities in every season, a wide choice of shops: this is the ideal resort for an unforgettable holiday, between Italy and Switzerland, between the Alps and Lake Maggiore.
“Scuola di Belle Arti Rossetti Valentini” was founded by the painter Giovanni Maria Rossetti Valentini, who decided to open this free school of drawing and painting for the young people of the valley, who wanted to learn the basics of this art. Nowadays, a wide room of the museum houses a gallery of works painted by the pupils of the school. Courses of painting, wood-carving, comics are organized by this school during the year.
“Museo dello Spazzacamino” is the only one existing in Italy, a unique collection that portrays the history of chimney-sweeps. It is situated in the park of Villa Antonia. In the museum objects, tools, clothes and images are displayed to tell the sad history of hundreds of people (mainly children), who left their homes to go abroad and work as chimney sweeps.
“Casa del Profumo” is a new museum in Santa Maria Maggiore that will be completed in 2018. This new project aims to recall the histories of two famous emigrants and celebrates the invention of Eau De Cologne. This exhibition area represents a journey through the history of Eau de Cologne. You can discover here the officinal herbs, which compose Aqua Mirabilis, a fascinating winter garden and an interactive tour through perfumes and traditional costumes.
In every season numerous outstanding events are organised: the literary festival Sentieri e Pensieri, the famous International Meeting of Chimney Sweeps, the wine and food tasting during Fuori di Zucca and the fascinating Christmas Markets, the largest of Italy. Dozens of interesting and amusing events will enrich your holiday experience in Santa Maria Maggiore: click here to discover them.
NATURE AND SPORT
Valle Vigezzo and Santa Maria Maggiore are greatly appreciated by tourists thanks to the wide choice of sports and outdoor activities: dozens of trails for hiking, wonderful cycle paths, horse riding routes and mountain bike downhill tracks, as well as the take-off area of Piana di Vigezzo for paragliding and hang-gliding. In the area of Pineta you can find numerous sports facilities: tennis courts, a miniature golf course, an open-air swimming pool, archery fields, riding stables, the golf course Golf Santa Maria and the Praudina Adventure Park. A cycle-pedestrian path connects some of the villages of the valley.
In winter Valle Vigezzo is covered with snow and it is the ideal place for an exciting holiday in the heart of the Alps. Alpine skiing lovers will find different slopes at Piana di Vigezzo or Baitina di Druogno. Enjoy also the numerous snowshoeing trails of Valle Vigezzo. Centro Fondo Vigezzo in Santa Maria Maggiore is the main attraction of the valley: 15 kilometres of cross-country ski-trails connect different villages of the valley. A 2,5 km long track is lit for night skiing.
WINE AND FOOD
Santa Maria Maggiore offers its visitors an excellent food tradition that is strongly influenced by the ancient alpine recipes. These are some of the traditional food products that you can taste here: “Prosciutto Montano Vigezzino” is the traditional smoked ham produced in Valle Vigezzo following an ancient family recipe; the Cheese of “Latteria Vigezzina”, where the milk produced by all the partners is transformed into cheese; the traditional goat kid of Valle Vigezzo; “Torta pan e lac” and “Fiacia”, two delicious cakes; the traditional Stinchéet, a thin sheet made of a mixture of flour and water that is cooked on a hot iron plate and that is then buttered and salted. Gnoch da la chigiàa (gnocchi from the spoon) made of flour and water. Enjoy your meal!
Enjoy the genuine mountain hospitality! Come and visit the numerous shops and workshops and discover the traditional alpine handy-crafts! Surrounded by mountains and pasture, everyone can enjoy exciting outdoor activities and sports. Between Italy and Switzerland, between Lake Maggiore and the Alps, Valle Vigezzo is the ideal resort for an unforgettable holiday. If you want to enjoy a relaxing and leisurely visit of Valle Vigezzo, go on board the Vigezzina-Centovalli trains, the Railway Line which offers one of the most fascinating and scenic journeys of Italy!