The history

Val Vogna is a lateral valley of Valsesia inside the municipality of Riva Valdobbia, Italy.

West of Riva Valdobbia town, opens the Val Vogna, a side valley just in part served by paved road, on the old so-called Antica via d’Aosta “ancient Aosta Track”, that united Riva Valdobbia to Gressoney-Saint-Jean through the colle di Valdobbia, the Valdobbia Pass.

Val Vogna was an emigration route, connecting Valsesia and Val D’Aosta through the colle Valdobbia pass (2480 m.).

The Antica via d’Aosta, latter renamed via Regia (Royal path), follows the Vogna Valley up to the Napoleonic Bridge: here, the track left the main valley and climbed on the west bulkhead of the Rissuolo torrent valley, up to La MontataHamlet and then inside up to Colle Valdobbia and its Ospizio Sottile mountain hut.

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On the pass, the rifugio Ospizio Sottile was built in the XIX century to give shelter to the people moving in and out the valley.
The “Aosta Track” was a major emigration route for most of the Sesia Valley people going for seasonal works abroad, mostly in France. The Sesia Valley goes basically eastward from the Monte Rosa to Varallo and the plains, so it was much shorter to pass the mountains in this relative safe spot.

As the migrations period were early in spring and late in the autumn, accidents due to bad weather and avalanches were frequent. A small provisonary hut was built, then the more substanzial Ospizio in stone was built and dedicated to the canonic Nicolao Sottile,  a priest that worked hard to find the money and volunteers for the building.

The hut was finished in 1823. Thus the first and highest pilgrim hospice of the Alps was borned.

The hut hosted Princes and Regents, too. In 1871 the hospice gained more importance with the establishment of the Meteorological Observatory of the Colle di Valdobbia, the first in Piedmont.

In 2010 the building has been completly restored and the ancient chapel opened to the public.

A plaque on the wall was stuck in the wall commemorating the participation of the Queen Margherita of Savoy to a Holy Mass on 4th August 1890.

Today, the Ospizio Sottile is a common travelling point for hikers and mountaneers and it’s run by a young couple, who loves mountain and genuine cuisine.