28866 Premia VB.
SS 33 exit Montecrestese, turn right and at the SS659 right again, to Premia. At the end of the village is a brown sign to the right "Orridi di Uriezzo". Park at the Oratorio di Santa Lucia.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Orridi di Uriezzo, 28866 Premia VB, Tel: +39-, Fax: +39-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Orridi di Uriezzo (Gorges of Uriezzo) is plural, and that's for a reason. This is not a single gorge, it's actually a network of gorges in the Antigorio Valley which was cut into the rock by the melting waters of the Toce Glacier. During the last Ice Age the Antigorio Valley was filled by a glacier with the name Toce Glacier. Like today's glaciers it was at an equilibrium of growing from snow falling at the upper end and melting of the ice. The melting water flowed on the surface, then entered the ice through cracks until it finally reached the rocks at the ground and flowed in a glacier cave at the bottom of the glacier. Over time this melting water eroded the rock and formed a network of gorges under the glacier. The meandering gorges have vertical walls, only a few meters apart and are up to 30 m deep.
At the end of the last Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago the glacier finally melted away, and as there is no melting ice there is no water source anymore. The gorges have become dry, and are easily visited. Some even have a more or less flat floor, others were equipped with trails and staircases. Actually they have been discovered for tourism a century ago.
The Tomba d'Uriezzo or Orrido Sud (Southern Ravine) is the most spectacular gorge, it is 200 m long and between 20 m and 30 m deep. The Orrido Nord-Est (North-East ravine) is about 100 m long and about 10 m deep, but it is the narrowest gorge. The Orrido Ovest (West ravine) is less narrow, but has a huge boulder lying in the middle of the gorge, which is quite impressive. The fourth and last is Vallaccia, which is located just below the Church of Baceno. It is not only difficult to access, it also ends with a jump into Devero torrent. So this is actually a sort of canyoning tour.
Actually there is one gorge more, the Orrido di Balmasurda. This one is the gorge of the Toce river, and as this river still has water, the gorge is not easily visited. This is actualyl a canyoning tour, requires a wet suit and physical fitnaess, and the gorge is not even as spectacular as the other ones. But there is a special sight at the lower end of this gorge. It is called Marmitte dei giganti di Uriezzo (Potholes of the Giants). The flowing water has eroded huge holes into the rocky bed of the river, so-called dolly tubs. Some also call the glacier mills, but this term is actually used for a different kind of such holes which is created by glaciers, similar to the nearby gorges. It is accessible from the walking trail above the gorge, which leads down to the river and crosses the river on a bridge, right beneath the dolly tubs. So its fortunately not necessary to do the canyoning tour to visit the dolly tubs.
To see all the gorges and the Marmittes, we recommend to drive to the Oratorio di Santa Lucia church. Here is a small parking lot and the trailhead for all the gorges. There is no single trail, its actually necessary to walk to each of them and then back, but neverless it should be possible to see all the gorges in less than 2 h. They are actually very close together.