The Parco delle Gole della Breggia is located in the Lower Muggio Valley and develops along the river of the same name, between the municipalities of Balerna, Castel San Pietro, Morbio Inferiore and Breggia.
The Breggia river discovers, in just one and a half kilometres, rocks that open a unique window on the Earth's past. It is the geology that makes this Park one of the most important geotypes in Switzerland; but this place is also a treasure chest of biodiversity and a silent witness of the local economic and industrial history.
A visit to the Park takes you on a journey through 200 million years of geological history and 2000 years of human history.
The itinerary starts on the hill of Castel San Pietro, where there are the remains of the medieval castle and the Red Church dating back to the 14th century, which preserves beautiful Gothic frescoes (the church is normally closed. The visit is possible and must be agreed with the Cottarelli-Günther family (+41 79 685 26 31 / +41 76 560 19 37). Possibility to reach Castel San Pietro by post bus (stop Castel San Pietro Posta).
Going down along the marked path, you will reach the Punt da Canaa and the remains of the Canaa Mill. The water seems to mark a time line, it slides and digs in this point the flint limestone, the oldest marine sediments of the Park. Going down towards the south, these are enriched with clay and fossils (ammonites), they change colour and as you get closer to the Ghitello Mill, they become more recent.
Reached the "Prato delle Streghe", a welcoming clearing equipped for stopping, here is the Ponte del Farügin (or Punt dal Diavul). This passage between the two banks of the valley is the best point, as well as the highest, for observing the gorges dug by the Breggia river.
At the end of the descent, attention inevitably falls on the imposing structure of the former cement factory, evidence of an industrial past that today can be deepened by participating in the Cement Trail.
The path continues until it reaches the Ghitello Mill, one of the most complete and best preserved hydraulic factories in Switzerland. Dating back to 1606, it remained active until the 1960s and was then restored. It currently houses two multifunctional spaces, the educational support laboratory, a garden set up as a picnic area and the Casa del Vino Ticino restaurant, which promotes Ticino wine in the local gastronomic culture. A place for meetings, training, events and wine tastings.
The itinerary ends in Morbio Inferiore, where one of the Park's car parks is located behind the Breggia Shopping Centre.
To explore the route, we recommend buying the official maps of the Federal Office of Topography Swisstopo. In addition, the following website map.geo.admin.ch offers constantly updated data.
- Hiking boots
- Sun cap
- Sun cream
- Hiking map
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: www.montagnepulite.ch/en/golden-rules
The Cement Trail
In the heart of the Parco delle Gole della Breggia, the imposing structures of the Saceba cement factory, now in disuse, have been redeveloped and renovated in order to offer a testimony to Ticino's economic history.
The Cement Trail, offers the possibility to make the same route that one and a half million cubic metres of majolica and flakes, the main ingredients for the production of cement, have made from the open-air quarries and tunnels to the oil mill and finally to the Forni Tower.
The latter has been converted to a new use that includes exhibition and educational, multi-purpose and cultural spaces.
NOTES: The Cement Trail is suitable for everyone, it is necessary to make a reservation and requires the accompaniment of two guides. The extraction galleries are very large but the visit is not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, epilepsy and severe motor difficulties. The temperature in the galleries is about 13 degrees constant and the humidity is high; it is recommended to dress appropriately.
Helmet, lamp and reflective jacket are provided by the Park. The Forni Tower, the exhibition space, can also be visited individually. The refurbished outdoor spaces are freely accessible.