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    Millions of Years of History in the Breggia Gorge

    Mendrisio - Corteglia - Castel San Pietro - Breggia Gorge - Balerna

    Millions of Years of History in the Breggia Gorge

    Mendrisio - Corteglia - Castel San Pietro - Breggia Gorge - Balerna

    This tour to Switzerland’s first geopark and one of the most important geotopes in Switzerland starts with a walk through the vineyards of the Ticino, along the Wine Trail with the theme “Man and the Grapevine”. The stretch between Mendrisio and Castel San Pietro is the area with the most vineyards in the Canton of Ticino. Allow for extra time to take detours through Mendrisio and Castel San Pietro.

    Before heading into the Breggia Gorge at the eastern edge of Castel San Pietro, you can also take a short detour to the Chiesa Rossa (The Red Church), with its 14th century frescoes and red façade colouring, a dictate of the Bishop of Como for churches in the Ticino in the late 1500’s. The Red Church was also the site of a bloody family feud on Christmas Eve of 1390.

    From the junction of the trails near the Red Church, our tour continues into the Gorge along the leftmost trail (not directly downwards) in order to reach the Gorge at the bridge over the River Breggia at the oldest part of the park. Thanks to the river's natural excavation process, rocks from geological periods across several hundreds of millions of years have been exposed. All along the trail through the park are information boards explaining the history and geology of the area (also in English).

    At this point of the park, the top 100m of a 4km thick layer of the Earth's crust called Moltrasio Limestone is visible, dating back 190 million years. The diagonal rocks are divided by a fault, showing evidence of the movement of the Earth's crust. A few minutes further along the path is the site of a very old mill called the “Mulin da Canaa”. After reaching the picnic area in the center of the park, an old wood and steel bridge crosses the river again and the zigzag path takes you out of the gorge along the cliffs below the “Red Church” and past an old cement works (tours can be arranged).

    Before heading to the train station in Balerna, a detour to the old Ghitello Mill offers some additional historical insights. The mill complex dates from 1600 and has been recently restored into perfect running order.

     

    Published on 23.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 20.02.2016
    Published on 23.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 20.02.2016

    Route Details

    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Region
    Ticino
    Time Required
    2 hours 30 minutes
    Distance
    8 km
    Ascent
    255 m
    Descent
    314 m
    Season Start / Season End
    February - December
    Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
    Panorama
    Experience
    Points of Interest
    Chiesa Rossa near Castel San Pietro, Breggia Gorge, old cement plant, several old mills.
    Starting Point
    Mendrisio Train Station
    Starting Point with Public Transport
    Destination
    Balerna Train Station
    Return with Public Transport
    Places to Eat
    Mendrisio, Castel San Pietro, Balerna
    Things to Note
    To visit the Chiesa Rossa (which is locked) you must call the parish at the number 091 646 14 16

    Route Description

    00:00 Start at Mendrisio train station and head SE away from the station to the road junction where the trail markers are. Head in the direction of Corteglia and Castel San Pietro. Keep following these trail markers.

    00:10 Reach the next road junction and head straight uphill along the stone-paved path. You will cross the main road a couple of times as it zigzags up the hill.

    00:20 Reach the junction at the Via Redegonda, turn left, always heading to Corteglia.

    00:40 Reach Corteglia. Continue to Castel San Pietro

    00:55 Reach Castel San Pietro. You will see signs directing to the "Parco delle Gole della Breggia". A walk through Castel San Pietro is worth a detour, and also a short visit to the Chiesa Rossa, before heading into the Gorge.

    01:00 At the junction of the paths that lead one way to the Chiesa Rossa, are a couple of paths into the Gorge. Stay on the paved path to the left instead of heading straight down. Follow the directions to "Parco Gole della Breggia"

    01:15 Arrive at the bridge over the River Breggia. This is the oldest part of the park, dating to about 195 million years ago. The diagonal stone formations here are the top 100m of a 4km thick layer of the Earth's crust called Moltrasio Limestone. The rock is divided by a fault, showing evidence of the movement of the Earth's crust. From here follow the trail marker to "Balerna St.ne".

    01:20 Arrive at the remains of the old mill "Mulina da Canaa"

    01:25 Arrive at the picnic area in the Breggia Gorge Park. A few meters further on is the bridge called Punt dal Farügin, cross this and continue in the direction of Balerna.

    01:40 Arrive at the old cement plant (tours can be arranged beforehand). Continue along the river until the path meets the street, cross the street and continue till you pass under the building of one of the old mills. Shortly afterwards is a second old mill beside the river. A few meters more comes to the parking area for the Ghitello Mill.

    02:10 Detour to view the old Ghitello Mill. Then head back up the the parking lot and continue up into the town and toward the train station.

    02:30 Arrive Train Station in Balerna.

     

     

     

     

    Die "offizielle" Tour in den Naturpark Breggia fängt bei der Mühle Ghitello...
    Hiked on 20.02.2016 by GabrielleMerk
    Die "offizielle" Tour in den Naturpark Breggia fängt bei der Mühle Ghitello an und endet auch dort (Rundwanderung), aber somit haben wir auch den Weg "Mann und die Rebe" gesehen

     

     

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