Disentis Tourist Attractions
The holiday resort Disentis (accent on first syllable: Romansch Mustér) lies in a wide green valley on the upper reaches of the Surselva at the junction of the Upper Rhine with the Medelser Rhein or Mittelrhein (Middle Rhine). The development of summer tourism in Disentis is due mainly to the building of the former Hotel Disenterhof (1870), which as a bathing and spa hotel utilizes the waters of the St Placidus spring. This health and winter sports resort has over 150km/93mi of walks of varying difficulty, and offers the visitor attractions such as river trips, tennis, mountain excursions on the Glacier-Express, well-prepared pistes and long-distance runs for the skier.
Disentis (Mustér - Benedictine Abbey)
Above the town of Disentis is a Benedictine abbey founded by St Sigisbert about 720 and almost completely rebuilt at the end of the 17th C.; the abbey dominates the valley with its fine conventual buildings and St Martin's church (Vorarlberg Baroque, 1696-1712); it contains a collection of artistic and historical interest.
Sacred works of art and a natural history exhibition are on display along with the history of this monastery in Disentis.
Disentis (Mustér - Surroundings)
Sights of interest in the surrounding area of Disentis/Mustér are:Cableway (2,060 m/6,759ft, five minutes) from Funs (1,228 m/4,029ft) northwest to Caischavedra (1,842 m/6,044ft); from there ski-lifts to the slopes of Piz Ault (3,027 m/9,932ft).
Lucomagno Pass to Biasca
The distance over the Lucomagno pass to Biasca is 65km/40mi.
The road runs south from Disentis and climbs, with moderate gradients, through the Höllenschlucht (Hell's Gorge), a magnificent wooded defile. It then continues uphill, with numerous bends, and passes through a number of tunnels, between which there are views to the rear of Disentis Abbey and later impressive views of the foaming waterfalls in the gorge below.
Curaglia (alt. 1,332 m/4,370ft), with a church of 1672 (Late Gothic altar), is situated at the mouth of the Val Plattas, which runs down from Piz Medel (3,210 m/10,532ft: seven hours with guide).
East of Curaglia there is a rewarding climb (3.5-4 hours) up Piz Mauraun (2,897 m/9,505ft), from Monte Rosa to the Ortles (Ortler) group, and of the nearer Tödi group in the Glarus Alps.
Platta (1,380 m/4,528ft) is a straggling village (church with Romanesque tower) in an open part of the Val Medel.
Acla (1,476 m/4,843ft: off the road to the right) has an interesting chapel. Leaving Acla, the scenery now becomes wilder; Fumatschfalls, 30 m/98ft high, on the Medelser Rhein. To the rear there is a view of the valley around Platta, with the Tödi massif rearing up beyond the Vorderrhein.
From Pardatsch (or Perdatsch), 1,556 m/5,105ft, a hamlet with a small chapel, the road continues uphill under Piz Curvet (2,248 m/7,376ft) to Sogn Gion (1,615 m/5,299ft), a former hospice. It then climbs a lonely Alpine valley, with tumbles of rock, areas of sparse pasturage and rhododendrons. To the right are the pointed summit of Tgiern Sogn Gion (2,677 m/ 8,783ft) and Piz Ganneretsch (3,040 m/9,974ft).
Santa Maria Lake
From Sogn Gion the Santa Maria lake (formed by a dam completed in 1967) can be seen below the road on the right. On the old road on the west side of the lake, at Santa Maria (1,842 m/6,044ft), was the old hospice of "Sancta Maria in Luco Magno" which gave its name to the pass. Above the west side of the lake is Piz Rondadura (3,016 m/9,895ft; 3.5 hours), to the east the dark slaty peak of Scopi (3,187 m/10,457ft; 4-4.5 hours).
The Lucomagno pass (Romansch Cuolm Lucmagn, German Lukmanierpass: 1,978 m/6,492ft), with an inn, a large stone figure of the Virgin and a chapel, is the lowest road crossing of the central ridge of the Swiss Alps, over which there was already considerable traffic in medieval times. It is flanked on the left by Scopi and on the right by Scai (2,676 m/8,780ft). The pass marks the boundary between the cantons of Grisons and Ticino.
The road descends from the Lucomagno pass through a rocky valley, following the left bank of the Brenno, which is fed by numerous streams flowing down from Scai and Pizzo Lucomagno. To the left are the rock walls of Pizzo Curvo (2,510 m/8,235ft). Then it continues through an area of high Alpine meadows with scattered summer chalets. Ahead can be seen the Rheinwaldhorn (3,406 m/11,175ft). 4.5km/3mi beyond the pass, on the right, is the Aquacalda inn (1,780 m/5,850ft; Albergo del Paso, 20b.), surrounded by a forest of stone pines, with a beautiful waterfall on the Brenno.
Valle Santa Maria
The road traverses the Alpine meadows of the Piano di Segno, passing above the huts of Campra, continues down the north side of the beautiful Valle Santa Maria, high above the Brenno, and then through a wooded gorge, passes close to the Albergo Grande Venezia and comes to the former hospice of Camperio.
The road leaving the Valle Santa Maria runs down the Val Blenio, high up on the south side of the valley, with magnificent views of the valley itself, the precipitous buttresses of the Rheinwaldhorn, the Cima di Pinaderio and the Cima Giu (2,369 m/7,773ft), and Olivone in its fertile valley, with the jagged granite peak of Sosto rearing above it.
5.5km/3mi beyond Camperio there is a rewarding drive along a road which branches off on the left and after traversing a tunnel 1,490 m/4,889ft long, which bypasses the narrow Gola di Sosto, reaches the mountain village of Campo Blénio (1,228 m/4,029ft), 4.5km/3mi north, situated at the meeting of three valleys. Beyond this, 1.5km/1mi up the Val Camadra, is Ghirone (1,302 m/4,270ft), with a very picturesque old church; then 3km/2mi east up the Val Luzzone to a large artificial lake (1,590 m/5,217ft).
Museo di San Martino, Olivone
The main road from Val Luzzone runs down to the village of Olivone (Romansch Uorscha, 893 m/2,930ft), a summer holiday resort beautifully situated at the junction of two arms of the Brenno under the massive pyramid of Sosto (2,221 m/7,278ft), surrounded by fruit trees. It has a fine old house, still inhabited, the Casa Cesare Bolla (ca. 1500), once the residence of the governor, and an interesting local museum (opening hours given). Beyond Olivone the road to Biasca winds its way down the fertile Val Blénio, on the left bank of the Brenno, to the valley floor.
Aquila (788 m/2,585ft), with neat houses in the Ticinese style, lies at the foot of the Colma massif, which reaches its highest point in the Cima di Pinaderio (2,490 m/8170ft). From here there are alternative routes to Dongio: either on a narrow by-road (5km/3mi longer) which runs above the right bank of the Brenno through a series of pretty villages and chestnut groves (at Prugiasco, 7.5km/5mi), detour on right, 30minutes, up to the little Romanesque church of San Carlo Negrentino, with 13th-16th C. frescoes); or on the main road, which climbs up the left bank of the Brenno and beyond Dongio turns into the Val Soia, running down from the Rheinwaldhorn (3,406 m/11,175ft).
Torre (770 m/2,526ft) is prettily situated on a terrace, and here a southern vegetation of vines, mulberries and walnut-trees begins to feature more prominently in the landscape.
Down the valley from Torre, on the hillside to the left, is the village of Lottigna (695 m/2,280ft), the chief place in the Val Blenio, beautifully situated at the foot of Simano (2,580 m/8,465ft), with a church of the 15th and 17th centuries. Beyond this there is a superb view down the valley, with a view of the pyramidal peak of Sosto to the rear. Acquarossa (538 m/1,765ft), is a spa (mineral spring, 25.5 deg C / 78 deg F).
Dongio (470 m/1,542ft) is a long straggling village surrounded by orchards, where the by-road from Aquila comes in. To the southwest, on the other side of the Brenno, stands the chapel of San Reigio, with Romanesque wall-paintings.
Malvaglia (375 m/1,230ft), lies at the mouth of the deep Malvaglia Valley, with the church of San Martino (originally Romanesque, altered in 1603: beautiful campanile). A narrow mountain road runs 10.5km/7mi up the Val Malvaglia, passing an artificial lake, to Madra (1,086 m/3,563ft).
Mineral and Fossil Collection, Semione
Opposite Malvaglia, on the right bank of the Brenno, is the village of Semione (402 m/1,319ft), with the ruined castle of Seravalle (12th-14th C.). In the Casa San Carlo is the Collezione di minerali with fossils and minerals from Ticino and other areas of the country (opening hours given). Below Malvaglia the valley becomes wider and more regular, with large areas of tumbled rocks on the valley bottom. Below the narrow mouth of the Val Pontirone the road skirts the Buzza di Biasca, a great mass of debris the result of a tremendous landslide in 1512. The place from which the rock broke away can be seen high above the road on Pizzo Magno (2,298 m/ 7,540ft).
Biasca (305m/1,001ft; pop. 3,500) lies in a fertile basin in the Ticino valley, at the mouth of the Val Blenio (the valley of the Brenno), through which a road descends from the Passo del Lucomagno (Lukmanier pass); granite quarries, timber trade, railroad workshops. On the hillside is the beautiful Romanesque church of Santi Pietro e Paolo (11th-13th century; interior remodeled in 1685), from which a path with Stations of the Cross runs up to the Petronilla Chapel (384m/1,260ft) and a waterfall on the Frodalunga. To the east is the Pizzo Magno (2,298m/7,540ft).At Biasca the road from the St Gotthard runs down the Ticino valley to Bellinzona.