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The “Antronesca Road” comprises the linkage between the bottom of the Ossola valley and the Vallese Saastal in Switzerland, via the crossing of the Saas Alpine passageway. The link traverses the Antrona Valley in its entirety. Such valley, known by the inhabitants of the Ossola valleys as the “Iron Way” (“valle del ferro”), due to its numerous mines which lead to the formation of the Villadossola siderurgical centre in the XIX century. Long caravans led by mules and donkeys would carry the iron to Villadossola which was the main centre dedicated to the trading of iron.

The high quality of the Antronese metal was well known and as a matter of fact such metal would also be exported to Switzerland.
The “Antronesca Road” was thus in ancient times treaded in order to pass from the Antrona Valley to theSaas Valley, through the Antrona Mountain Pass also known as the Saas Mountain Pass (2,883 m) thus leading to the Vallese town of Ossola, linking Villadossola with Visp. This road never reached the importance of the one of Sempione, protected by governments of the State of Milan and of Vallese and served by an important corporation of people transporting goods by pack animals. The main problem of course was that of maintaining the road, given that mountain roads are the ones to be most subjected to deterioration due to avalanches, mudslides, and landslides. The fact that in the XVI century the annual livestock trade centre was moved to Villadossola rather than to Macugnaga makes us think that in the XV and XVI centuries this road must have been very well-maintained and efficient. Its placement, characterized by various passages usable by commercial transportation remained alive up until the XVIII century, when its status was altered by the opening of the Napoleonic road which crossing the Sempione Mountain Pass would reach Geneva and thus the heart of Europe.

The route:

The “Antronesca Road”

Other legs:

Itinerary Code: ANT

Itinerary: 1

Difficulty Level: Escursioni (EE)

Track Length: 40.98 Km

Elapsed Track Traversal Time: 15h 30m

Arrival Address: Villadossola (VB) - IT

Departure Height: 250 m

Departure Address: Saas-Almagell - IT

Arrival Height: 1670 m

Altitude Difference Going Up: 3428 m

Altitude Difference Going Down: 3686 m

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