Santa Maria Maggiore

Age-old stories echo through the narrow streets and little squares of the main town in the Valle Vigezzo, with chimney sweeps, profumers, painters and… a little blue and white train!

The town of Santa Maria Maggiore, with its marvellous unspoilt mountain architecture, is in the Vigezzo Valley, also known as the Valle dei Pittori (Valley of Painters) or Valle degli Spazzacamini (Valley of Chimney Sweeps), and is the municipality of the Val Grande National Park.

Alpine culture, excellent food and wine, outdoor activities for every season and countless opportunities for shopping: the ideal mix for spending a truly special holiday in the heart of the Val d’Ossola, between Italy and Switzerland.

Not to be missed is a visit to the three museums in Santa Maria Maggiore, some of the most popular in the whole of the Ossola area.
The picture gallery of the “Rossetti Valentini” School of Fine Arts contains an authentic artistic treasure; the Museum of Chimney Sweeps, a unicum at national level, honours the stories of the little chimney sweeps who emigrated from this valley in the past centuries. Lastly, the Feminis-Farina House of Perfume, inaugurated in 2018, celebrates the creation of Eau de Cologne by two emigrants hailing from Santa Maria Maggiore.

From spring to winter, there are many nationally important events: from the literary festival “Sentieri e Pensieri” to the famous International Chimney Sweep Meeting, the delicacies of the Fuori di Zucca festival and the picturesque Christmas Markets, the largest and best-loved in all of Piedmont. Yet there are also dozens of events that, in every season, entertain passing visitors and tourists.

Santa Maria Maggiore and the whole Vigezzo Valley are highly-regarded destinations for outdoor activities: dozens of trails for excursions at every level of difficulty, marvellous cycle paths and tracks for horse-riding and downhill mountain bike enthusiasts, but also the flying sites of the Piana di Vigezzo, perfect for paragliding and hang gliding. Then there is a range of proposals for the winter: alpine skiing, splendid snow shoeing trails and the Centro Fondo Vigezzo, with its superb natural cross-country ski trails.

Local delicacies are not to be forgotten: from stincheét to local cheeses, from gnoch da la chigiàa to delicious local kid meat, salami and cold pork meat, as well as cakes made by traditional methods using quality ingredients.
A journey to discover local cuisine, memories of the past and culture: then why not travel to Santa Maria Maggiore on board the blue and white trains along the Vigezzina-Centovalli railway line? It will be a scenic trip on the line connecting Domodossola to Locarno, along the Swiss shore of Lake Maggiore, passing through the Valle Vigezzo.

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