Wild falls and ghost factories? Ferrera is a small village in Valcuvia. Its name derives from Latin “ferrum”, probably because of the Medieval craft shops for metalworking, and it’s just 16 km from Varese, the provincial capital, and 10 km from Lake Maggiore’s shores in Luino. It’s a beautiful tiny nest – only 750 residents – but rich in surprises: here there’s the famous “Cascata Fermona”, maybe the most popular and photographed fall in Varese, the Calcaterra spinning mill and Roman tombs dating back to I century AD (here‘s a brief story of the village, in Italian). Let’s dive into the secrets hidden by Ferrera’s thick woods…
The Fermona Waterfall
Beautiful, wild, hidden in the woods: Fermona waterfall is perhaps the most beautiful and famous in the province of Varese. With its 30-meter jump and the stony beaches at its feet, it is a typical destination for family Sunday trips (NB: as of June 2020 it is still necessary to avoid gatherings).
It’s so famous that also Fedez chose the place to shoot the video of one of his songs.
How to get there. You can reach it from the village of Ferrera, parking at the kindergarten in the town center and following the signs, or from the cycle path that runs alongside the spinning mill Calcaterra (in this case, going up to Ferrera from the roundabout on the “Statale” road that connects Cittiglio to Luino you will have to turn immediately to left).
The path is a short walk, but bring suitable shoes because in the last stretch to go down to the falls the descent is very steep and slippery, and if you want to reach the beaches, wade the stream.
Calcaterra spinning mill
Calcaterra spinning mill is an alien planet. Disquieting industrial archeology, a stone’s throw from the idyllic Lake Maggiore.
The former cotton mill, operating since 1880, is a large and well-preserved complex that employed an important number of workers from the valley, and was closed in 1992. Several years ago a requalification project was planned, to renew it as a scientific-technological pole of the mountain and training center, who didn’t take into place. So now, no innovation center, but fascinating wild falls and ghost factories in Ferrera.
Today, the empty eyes of the Calcaterra windows stare at the tourists who line the factory on the cycle path, to take a dip at the nearby Fermona waterfall…
How to get there. From the state road that connects Cittiglio with Luino, just turn right at the roundabout that goes up to Ferrera and immediately left, in the road that leads to the spinning. There’s a nice bicycle path nearby, connecting to the Valcuvian bicycle lane.
Watch the video (ITA) exploring the factory operations at the beginning of this century