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San Giovanni di Andorno – Refuge Rivetti

Tipologia percorso


Dislivello in salita

1800 m / 1.200 m

Dislivello in discesa

600 m / 150 m

Tempo complessivo

7.20 ore / 4.20 h

In senso inverso

5.30 ore / 3.15 h

San Giovanni d’Andorno 1020 m – Ponte Concresio Rosazza 882 m – Desate 1101 m – Selle di Rosazza 1450 m Piedicavallo 1037 m – Rifugio Rivetti 2201 m

or else

San Giovanni d’Andorno 1020 m – Ponte Concresio – Rosazza 882 m – Bus 340 – Piedicavallo 1037 m – Rifugio Rivetti 2201 m

A rather varied section through Valle Cervo, with a long final ascent to reach the refuge; to limit your effort and avoid an ascent in the afternoon sun you can use the bus service between Rosazza and Piedicavallo (thus giving up the ascent to the Sella) or else plan an intermediate overnight stay in a hotel in one of the villages down in the valley.

Once you leave the Sanctuary and travel about fifty meters on the road you come across a characteristic stone stele which marks a crossroads with the two destinations engraved in the stone of the base: the road goes down to the left but the GTA route follows the more pleasant mule track on the right (signpost E29). After about four hundred meters you come across a chapel with two high porticoes dedicated to Mary Magdalene, the last of the five chapels staggered along the bends of the beautiful and comfortable mule track that goes from Campiglia to San Giovanni. Here there is a crossroads on the right, marked with E23 the mule track called “la stra ‘d ourtüsc” from which with the bus service you can go back to Rosazza and Piedicavallo (0.30 hours from S. Giovanni a Campiglia).

On the left, instead, follow the old mule track, reduced to a path (E29), along the right orographic side of the Cervo valley, known by the people of the valley as “banda veja”; you touch the chapel of the Immaculate Conception, built by the inhabitants of the Ondini hamlet – (panoramic point at the back of the chapel from which you can admire the hamlets and groups of houses built on the sunny side of the valley); then cross the Rio Ondini, thus reaching the hamlet of Ondini. Once you have crossed the hamlet, you enter the asphalt road which after about seven hundred meters crosses the provincial road which goes from Biella to Piedicavallo near the Concresio Bridge. From the Concresio Bridge, note the narrow passage or gorge that encloses the Cervo stream between two banks of hard rock. The gorge continues upstream describing an almost right angle to the left: this stretch of gorge can be observed from the cemetery bridge, which branches off from the main road to Rosazza a few meters further on, then continue on the road to Rosazza, among the first houses of this important center of the Elvo Valley, until crossing the bridge over the Pragnetta stream: 0.50 hours from S. Giovanni.

From Rosazza 882 m it is possible to use the bus line up to Piedicavallo, thus saving the three-hour walk of the Rosazza-Desate-La Sella-Piedicavallo route, perhaps taking advantage of it to calmly visit the center of Rosazza, rich among other things in testimonies of the nineteenth-century passion of the sen. Pinkness for “neomedieval” towers and castles

Beyond the Pragnetta bridge it is necessary to leave the paved road that crosses the town to turn left onto the road that runs along the bank of the Pragnetta stream (with a castle on the right) up to the car parking area; cross it in the direction of the head of the Pragnetta valley, where the Camino, Punta della Barma, Punta del Lei Long and the slopes of Gragliasca stand, then take a beautiful, well-paved mule track (E30 trail sign). Along the mule track, now closer, now further away, it runs alongside the Pragnetta stream between smooth boulders.

Having crossed this tributary with an easy ford, on the right the small towering bell tower of the hamlet Desate 1101 m appears among the trees and pastures. At this point you must be careful to make a turn to the right (signposted E32 and GTA) and go up through open pasture up to the village, now inhabited only in summer. Cross it following the numerous signs. Once out of the hamlet, take the path again which continues to wind through the sparse forest with various serpentines, on a secondary ridge, and then crosses the Arial stream again in Jore. You go up through pastures along the orographic left bank of the stream and then cross to the right on a well-paved mule track which runs along stony ground; For a short stretch we continue along the edge of the secondary ridge on the orographic left of the Arial ad Jore up to approximately 1350 m altitude, and then cross with a very slight slope the slope that dominates the Pragnetta valley, in a north-east direction. Coming out of the sparse woods, you come across a spring, some huts called Cascine Vernetto, and then you reach the depression at around 1450 m which leads into the valley overlooking Piedicavallo; 1.45 hours.

The place is very pleasant and panoramic: a little higher (1481 m) to the west, stands the little church of the Madonna della Neve, with a portico, while to the east there is a hilltop with a pole around which on August 4th of every year – the eve of the feast of the Madonna della Neve – the bonfires are lit. From the hilltop you can see the Sella huts below, crumbling due to abandonment. The views are splendid, over the entire Valle del Cervo and the watersheds with the valleys of Gressoney, Val di Rassa, Val Sessera and Valle Oropa. Right in front towards the north-east is Valdescola and Cima di Bo 2556 m, while towards the north you can see Punta Tre Vescovi 2501 m, below which is the Rif. Rivetti, the destination of the stage.

From the depression between the church and the summit the E40 path descends, on the Piedicavallo side, up to the aforementioned Selle di Rosazza huts, leaving them on the right; at the last one it makes a conversion towards the west, traveling along the sides of the Gervas basin and then descending with several hairpin bends into the dense coppice forest. Having crossed the La Coda stream, it runs along its riverbed for a short stretch and, having the La Coda huts on the left at 990 m, enters the beech forest in a north-west direction until reaching the characteristic humpback bridge called “Pount ad la coua ” which crosses the Cervo stream. Beyond the bridge there is the Janutolo Park, and you are now at Piedicavallo 1037 m, 1.15 hours. A visit to the characteristic center may be interesting, but it is an opportunity especially for those who have used public transport from Rosazza; in fact, the long climb up to the ref still remains to be covered. Rivets.

From Janutolo Park, leaving the ring road on the right and reaching a small square, ignore the mule track on the left that goes up to Colle della Vecchia, and on the right the central road that crosses the town, to go up towards the mountain on a well-paved road, between houses and vegetable gardens, and then cross the Mologna stream, at the first crossroads between the houses on the orographic left bank, take the uphill road (left) which a little further on, among the last houses of the town, crosses the mule track coming from the church square parish church of Piedicavallo, which is where you start (left). Leaving the last houses in the town, the E60 mule track passes downstream from the ancient mill; a little further on it enters the sparse forest, skirting the stream from above with its riverbed dug into the rock and dotted with boulders. After a very dilapidated chapel and a shortcut through which you cross an old, now abandoned pasture, you reach the hamlet of Montà, approximately 1250 m, “a suggestive group of rustic houses, built right on the edge of the morainic plateau. The narrow passage ends at the village of the Mologna valley which now opens up to the eye and the panorama, the mule track continues on the left orographic side slightly uphill, leaving the mule track (E61) on the left which leads to the nearby hamlet of Piane, on the other bank of the Mologna. E60 continues alongside the Mologna, crosses some streams, often almost dry, and passes next to a hut for the Piedicavallo aqueduct, leaving path E64 on the right. You then pass the characteristic tower called “La Mitria” where there are some short climbing routes, and leave the path on the right which leads in a few minutes to the imposing building called “nistoro Olimpia 1539 m. The mule track, after passing other huts for drinking water, reaches the huts of the upper Anval 1634 m: 1.45 hours.

Leaving the E65 mule track on the left, continue up a steeper climb until you reach the plateau where Alpe Pianel 1743 m is located with buildings now in poor condition but interesting for the skilful construction of the shelters under boulders and balms. Here you cross the bed of the Mologna and then go up the steep orographic right side of the valley with numerous hairpin bends, until you come across a spring and, higher up, Alpe Lavazel 2048 m, a mountain pasture protected by a characteristic powerful avalanche barrier, located on a good shelf pasture land overlooked by the rubble of the Gemelli della Mologna. In this environment, now typically Alpine, the last stretch of the path takes place which, with a slight continuous climb towards the north, shortly leads to the Rivetti Refuge 2201 m: 1.45 hours.




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