Macugnaga is a small mountain village located in the Piedmont region of Italy in the province of Verbania-Cusio-Ossola. The village is located along the Anzasca valley in the Monte Rosa mountain range. The village was first inhabited by the Walser, which are German natives belonging to the Swiss Canton Wallis.
The area is generally famous for winter sports, skiing and hiking and mountaineering activities in summer. The village is also famous for its gold mine, which is no longer active. Macugnaga is located at an altitude of 1324 meters above sea level, it is spread over an area of 98 sq km and has a population of only 650 people.
Attractions in Macugnaga
Museo Della Montagna e Del Contrabbando
The Museo Della Montagna Del Contrabbando is a small museum located in the village. The museum provides information on the surrounding mountain ranges to the locals and the tourists. Although the museum is quite small, it is interesting to visit, since it provides much information on the ecological, historical and geographical aspects of the famous mountain ranges in the area.
Miniera Aurifera Della Guja
The village of Macugnaga is famous for its ancient gold mine. The mine was originally set up in 1710 and testifies the story of the hundreds of people that had come to the village in search of gold in the past. For centuries, people continued in their efforts for finding gold and, although the mine is no longer operating, it is still open for visitors who want to explore it. Visitors can see all the caves, tunnels and the arcades that were dug into the mountains in the past centuries in search of gold.
Casa Museo Walser
The Casa Museo Walser is another interesting museum to visit in Macugnaga. The village had originally been inhabited by the Walser people for decades before the Piedmontese discovered the region. The Casa Museo Walser is a house museum that represents the roots of the village. The museum showcases typical Walser houses that were normally seen in the village in the past centuries. It gives information on the construction, masonry, design and other aspects of these ancient homes that were typical to the mountain villages of Piedmont in those times. The museum is quite interesting because it allows visitors to get a glimpse into what the village must have looked like in the past centuries.
Getting to Macugnaga
Macugnaga is located quite close to Domodossola, Varese and Stresa but there are only a few transport facilities in the area. The easiest way to reach the town is by bus. The state buses that operate in the region depart a few times every week to Macugnaga from the bus stations in these three cities and from the other smaller towns and villages in the region. Visitors who have their own cars can easily drive to town. There isn’t a train station or an airport in the village so the only option is to reach the village by road. However, since all of these three cities are located quite close to Macugnaga it is easy to drive here.
Moving Around Macugnaga
The best way to explore Macugnaga is on foot. Since the village is very small, most tourists walk around to explore the few monuments and attractions that are located in Macugnaga. Visitors who have their own cars can also drive around the village easily. The streets in Macugnaga are relatively traffic free so driving is not a problem. However, most streets in the village are very narrow so it might be a little difficult to navigate cars around. Since there are only a few places to visit in the village, it is easier to park cars in one of the parking lots and just walk around the streets.
Stay and Accommodation
Macugnaga is quite small, but it attracts many tourists because of the famous ski resorts in the surrounding region. For this reason, there are many accommodation options in the village. There are quite a lot of Bed & Breakfasts, mountain cabins, country homes and farm houses that offer good rooms to visitors. Except for peak tourist seasons, the hotels are not very expensive. Some of the best hotels in Macugnaga are hotel Alpi, hotel Cristallo, hotel Dufour, hotel Girasour, hotel Signal, hotel Zumstein, hotel Nuovo Pecetto, Meuble Flora, Residence Cima Jazzi, hotel Edelweiss and hotel Chez Felice. There are also several villas and farm houses which can be rented by tourists if they plan to stay longer in Macugnaga.
Eating in Macugnaga
Macugnaga has many good restaurants and pizzerias where visitors can eat. Most of the restaurants in the village are small and traditional in nature. The cuisine is traditional Italian and dishes are typical to this region. The food is simple and wholesome with heavy cream and cheese based dishes because of the climate. There are also a few bars and cafés located in the village. Some of the best restaurants in Macugnaga are Ristorante Flizzi, Ristorante Seggiovia, Ristorante Alpino, Ristorante bar Edina, Ristorante bar Miramonti, Ristorante Paradiso and Taverna Del Rosa.
Shopping in Macugnaga
There are only a few places in Macugnaga where visitors can shop. There are a few small shops located close to the main square of the village and in the old quarters where visitors can purchase locally made clothes, jewelry, pottery and souvenirs. However, there are plenty of shops in the village that sell their products at very high rates to tourists. In the older section there are a few food stores that sell excellent quality locally made cheese, pastries, traditional desserts and olive oil. The best thing to purchase in Macugnaga is local pastries, cheese and wine since the village is mainly known to be agriculture and dairy based village. The cheeses available in the village are especially good.