Far back in Ticino’s Verzasca Valley (Valle Verzasca) stands a dreamy village called Lavertezzo, which had gained an incredible presence in recent years thanks to social media. In this text we present you the most beautiful sights in Lavertezzo including hikes and the famous Roman bridge Ponte dei Salti.
Text and pictures by Marc Gottwald
Places to visit in Lavertezzo
Ponte dei Salti
Lavertezzo is a picture-perfect village in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Accordingly, like many of the other places in the Verzasca valley, it has a southern flair.
The most photographed sight in Lavertezzo is the Roman bridge Ponte dei Salti, although the name “Roman bridge” is very misleading. In fact, the bridge was built only in the 17th century and was equipped with two arches of 14 meters each. The arches were prepared to better support the weight on the bridge. The so-called mule track bridges, i.e. stone bridges with an arch, can be found in various places in Ticino, such as above Foroglio in the Maggia Valley. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.
The bridge is not really wide either. If you look today, a maximum of two people might pass at the same time. Because in the past it was mainly the donkeys that had to drag sacks across the bridge.
A flood in 1868 destroyed the right arch of the bridge, which was only rebuilt with stones about 100 years later.
Parish Church Madonna degli Angeli
If you stand at the well-known photo spot just before the village entrance at Lavertezzo, you will see the beautiful church Madonna degli Angeli protruding from the village center. The church dates from 1780 and is the only baroque church in the Verzasca Valley.
Swimming possibilities in Lavertezzo
Lavertezzo became famous through an Italian influencer, who called the Ticino Valley the “Maldives of Europe”. He is not entirely wrong, because the clear water combined with the limestone and granite is really unique and beautiful.
The biggest difference, however, is that the water, which comes mainly from glacial melt, remains ice-cold even in summer. Nevertheless, since the outside temperatures can get quite hot, especially in the months of June to August, a cooling down is often very welcome.
Most people can be found around the Roman bridge Ponte dei Salti. Sometimes people even jump from the 14-meter-high bridge into the cold water. Visitors also love to lie on the stones and sunbathe. Especially in summer, the parking spaces are quickly occupied. Therefore, it is worthwhile to travel from Locarno by bus.
Despite all the beauty, swimming and diving in the Verzasca is extremely dangerous.
The right time for photographers (winter and summer)
Lavertezzo is basically always photogenic. Both in winter and in summer, countless dreamlike pictures can be shot. Nevertheless, there are seasons and times which I would prefer for the perfect picture. Especially the morning light is very beautiful in Lavertezzo. Coming too early is not worth it, especially between October and May, but it depends on the season.
In winter, for example, in December, I would show up around 10 o’clock, when Lavertezzo is awakened directly from the shade. Especially on nice days, the sun is quickly too strong due to the reflection of the snow.
At the end of April, the sun is already around 9.30 a.m. perfect. The further toward June, the earlier Lavertezzo comes out of the shadow hole.
For photographers, the Verzasca Valley becomes really interesting from about mid-May, when the leaves are gradually back. It may well be that the deciduous trees at the valley entrance have already unfolded leaves, whereas at the end of the road there is still rather winter vegetation. This has to do with the fact that the difference in altitude between the valley entrance and end is about 500 meters.
Wonderful hikes from Lavertezzo
If you like hiking, you will get your money’s worth from Lavertezzo. Here we show you two of our favorite suggestions.
Hike from Lavertezzo to Sonogno
To start this hike, it is recommended to arrive by bus. Because especially in summer there can be quite a traffic jam due to the many cars, few parking spaces and narrow roads.
The dreamlike hike starts from Lavertezzo. Before you head towards Sonogno, it’s worth exploring the Ticino mountain village. Then you continue to Ponti dei Salti, which you cross. The 14.5 kilometer long hike has a lot to offer (duration: approx. 4.5-5h). Because the dreamlike waterfalls, the blue-green water and the wild forests and sandy beaches are a balm for the soul.
There are also various fireplaces along the way. Please check first if barbecuing is allowed or if there is a fire ban due to the dryness. Once you arrive in Sonogno, besides discovering the romantic village, it is also worth stopping at one of the two “grotto” to order a traditional minestrone.
Please be aware that especially on nice summer days from late June to mid-August, there can be a lot of people next to the place.
Hike from Lavertezzo to the ghost village of Corippo
Also a dreamlike hike with significantly fewer people goes from Lavertezzo to the ghost village of Corippo. Ghost village is truly exaggerated, in 2020 there were still 12 people living in the village. But the fact is that the young people move to larger cities and thus Corippo was almost extinct.
You walk from the road side over the Ponte dei Salti and then turn left and walk towards Locarno. The first part is flat and very comfortable. After about 1.5 hours you will find a road where you have to turn right to Corippo.
Due to an initiative, the community became a hotel and now offers various hotel rooms in different buildings. For this reason alone, the two-hour hike is worthwhile. By the way, first inhabitants were here already about 800 years ago.