- To discover the past of this locality
- To experience a day immersed in the nature of the Val Grande
- To know all the secrets of the art of grinding wheat
- To reach and find out what topia vineyards are
- To savor local foods
Trontano is a locality immersed in the nature of the Val Grande National Park, not far from Lake Maggiore and Domodossola, in Piedmont, which develops among chestnut, elder, oak, and vineyards woods and known for its ancient mills. We are in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
These are ancient works that after being abandoned, have now been recovered for educational purposes and historical memory. The six mills are located in the “mulit” area. They are stone structures that were used for the milling of grains and rye, which in these parts means raw material for the production of black bread. These are buildings dating back to the end of 1600, built on other older structures. They are ruins recovered by the Ossola Valley Mountain Community as part of a project called “The cycle of rye”.
In search of the mills
To get to the mills on the Rio Graglia that rise just outside the town of Trontano, we have to walk for a few minutes. In the distance, we hear the Centovalli train whistling as it passes by, while we set out in search of these ancient mills. From the station of the small mountain village, following the road that leads to Verigo, another tiny town where houses can be counted in the palm of one hand, we arrive in a few minutes at our destination.
The visit to the mills of Trontano
Once in the area of the mills, after crossing a stone bridge, we are greeted by a sign indicating that these structures are open to the public only for guided tours. It matters little. The area is still accessible and opens 24 hours a day. We will limit ourselves to admiring the mills from the outside. The image that appears before our eyes is enough to justify the trip.
To know everything about these buildings, we find some information signs that tell us their history and their importance for the place we are visiting.
These stone constructions are all small in size. The mill built in the upstream area has at its side a canal from which the water arrives which activates the blades to turn the stone wheel which in turn grinds the grain. In another (ruined) there are educational signs. They illustrate the transformation phase from flour to bread.
The mills of Trontano rise on an ancient mule track, so we take the opportunity to reach Verigo.
The topia vineyards
The visit to the mills on the Rio Graglia ends in a few minutes, so we continue our journey by continuing on the mule track through the woods. Along the way, we meet the “topia” vineyards. These are vines intertwined to form a trellis, a sort of natural gazebo. This is also an area of vineyards.
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN Trontano
Also admired this particularity of the area, and always accompanied by the whistle of the train that passes regularly on the tracks hidden among the vegetation, we notice along the way space for a picnic, but also some houses. We arrived in Verigo.
Continuing on the mule track you reach the stream and the town of Marone, or you can return to the starting point.
Here you can listen to the audio description (podcast in Italian) of a trek to discover the mills on the Rio Graglia:
How do I get to Trontano?
Trontano is located in Val Vigezzo, in Piedmont, and can be reached from the A26 Genoa – Gravellona in the direction of the latter, then following the Sempione state road, Masera exit, and continuing in the direction of the SS337 up to Ronco. Finally, follow the signs for Pello and Trontano.