Raimonda and I had already been in touch several times over the phone and via email. She has even written some articles for this magazine in the past, but we had never got to know each other personally. A photo shoot in Valsesia with Dante and an invitation accepted at the very last moment by Raimonda Lanza di Trabia created the right occasion.
I had already read her beautiful book “I’ll have to dance”, telling the adventurous and eccentric life of her father, prince Raimondo di Trabia, so I was quite prepared for the meeting.
Raimonda has fly-fished for many years and has cast her flies in almost all well-known rivers in the world, from the Yokanga River on the Kola peninsula to the Rio Grande in Argentina, from Ireland to the Sustut river in British Columbia, and she has fished the best pools of the Cascapedia River together with Stan Bogdam. As the list of places and different fishing experiences would be endless, let’s move on for now.
Accompanied by Raimonda’s dog Mojo, a beautiful Shiba Inu that faithfully and carefully follows her everywhere she goes and a pleasant travel companion for us, we reached the Upper Valsesia Natural Park, which extends between an altitude of 900 and 4559 meters and is therefore the highest protected area in Europe.
Its territory encompasses the heads of the Sermenza, Landwasser, Egua and Mastallone valleys and condenses all of the environments of the Piedmont’s Alps: glaciers and moraines, high grasslands and shrubby areas populated with junipers and rhododendrons, forests of larches and firs. You can come across ibexes, chamois and roe deer, foxes, squirrels, martens, marmots and ermines and, above all, the golden eagle, which make the Park the excellent alpine point of reference for naturalistic tourism.
There are many signs of human presence and ancient cultures that have evolved, first of all the Walser people that colonized the territory around Monte Rosa. The possibilities are numerous, thanks to the network of marked trails and the presence of many shelters.
On our first day we fished in the “Gavala” reserve on the Sesia River, which has been successfully run for a couple of years now by our friend Silvano, thus proving that a properly managed river creates profit margins and tourist satellite activities on the territory. It is an excellent reserve with high quality fish in a beautiful environment ….Silvano surely did a great job.
The nice fall colors provide the background setting for a wonderful day spent between Raimonda’s fishing tales and excellent trout. In the evening, there was an unexpected surprise among these valleys: Hotel Laida Weg (www.laidaweghotel.com) in Rima San Giuseppe.
Immersed in a beautiful mountainous amphitheater overlooked by Mount Tagliaferro (2.964 m) and by the Marànc Falls, Rima is the highest village of the Valsesia and the last one of the Sermenza Valley, a lateral valley which takes its name from the stream. From the architectural point of view, the hotel is linked with the Walser genius loci of Rima and of these valleys, whose history represents a real discovery for whoever comes up here.
The food is so exquisite that even Dante was bewildered (those who know him know what I mean). In the building there is a pub where you can taste as many as 400 different whisky labels, in addition to an original Irish Guinness. The hotel is the ideal starting point to discover the Upper Valsesia and its Natural Park, to practice sport and taste the territory’s food products.
Staying there gave us the chance to go fishing the next day in a fishing reserve managed by the Carcoforo Rimasco Association together with the gamekeeper Stefano, who was extremely kind and helpful and spent the day with us as a guide. Now, that’s how good river management together with an excellent accommodation can turn this region into an international fishing destination which is very interesting for foreign tourists fond of good Italian food and high quality trout.
Contents NEW ZEALANDSOUTH ISLANDFEBRUARY 2012WEST OTAGO NEW ZEALAND New Zealand’s South Island is practically uninhabited; today, in an overpopulated
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