Great Walser Trail is a great opportunity to explore ancient culture and traditions of Walser. It goes across Valtournenche, Ayas Valley and Gressoney Valley and offers an interesting mixture of local folklore, beautiful landscapes, a bit of a history, and a mountain experience.
The Walser came probably from the Wallis (Valais) region, the uppermost Rhône River valley where they lived in the middle ages. During so-called Walser migrations in the 12thand 13thcentury they moved to other parts of Alps: in Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Ancient Walser architecture and traditions shaped the cultural and natural landscapes of the Aosta and Ayas Valley, among others, where you can find many small Walser villages.
The walk follows signs of Walser life and culture in the region. You will go from one cultural center to another and some information boards will provide useful facts. Going the Great Walser Trail is a way to understand not only the history of the region, but also the some factors and nature that have shaped people’s lives here during several centuries.
During the Great Walser Trail you will visit the old houses built in typical Walser style of Stadel (in German dialect) or Rascard (in the local dialect). It is larch wooden buildings that lean on mushroom shaped short columns with a wooden stem and a cap built with a big disc of stone. Columns were used to keep cheese and other food.
The oldest Stadel (from 1547) you will find in Gressoney-Saint-Jean. It used to be a prison and court. Other examples of Walser architecture can be found in Alpenzu, as well as in the Lys Valley with houses dated back from 16th and 18th century. While in Resy village you will see how Walser people deforested slopes and terrain to build their settlements with farmhouses made of wood and stones.
The Great Walser Trail crosses also Alta Via trail and two highlights mentioned in our Top 5 of Alta Via Lakes Pinter and Rifugio Ferraro in the Resy Valley.
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