Chapel trail and Bodmeri irrigation channel in Visperterminen
Inspiring ascent of a “sacred mountain” via a series of historical chapels, followed by a delightful walk along an irrigation channel. A descent through forest and pastures completes the loop.
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The tradition of the “sacro monte”, or “sacred mountain”, evolved from the late-15th century in the region between Piedmont and Lombardy in Italy. Visperterminen has its own version: a sequence of ten historical chapels leading up to a hauntingly beautiful pilgrimage chapel in the forest dedicated to the Visitation of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Over the centuries, believers would walk from one rosary chapel to the next, stopping at each to pray. Each chapel contains life-size sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Christ; the pilgrimage church contains one of the oldest playable organs in existence, believed to date from the 16th century. Today, the climb up to the pilgrimage chapel offers one of the most uplifting and beautiful walks in Valais. The next stage of our round walk follows one of the region’s historical irrigation channels – known in Upper Valais as “Suonen”. Our circuit joins the Bodermi, built in 1915, at Muttji, where the water emerges from a tunnel that has brought it from the neighbouring Nanztal valley. The Bodmeri still carries water from early April to mid-September. The trail leads through the forest to an intersection with an older Suone that the Bodmeri replaced: the Niwa. This was one of the most spectacular Suonen in Valais, and our hike follows it for a short distance: look out for the ancient warder’s hut, the “Hüoterhüsi”, and the old walkways and conduits. Clearings in the forest offer gorgeous views of the Rhône valley and the snowy peaks beyond. The trail leaves the irrigation channel to turn south, leading gently downhill through forest and pastures back to Visperterminen. Highlights Uplifting walk via ten historical chapels to a beautiful pilgrimage chapel in the forest Next: a gentle, level walk along a working irrigation channel