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Bedretto coat of arms
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Canton of TicinoCanton of Ticino Ticino (TI)
District : Leventina districtw
Circle : Airolo district
BFS no. : 5063i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 6781
Coordinates : 682 432  /  151085 coordinates: 46 ° 30 '22 "  N , 8 ° 30' 45"  O ; CH1903:  six hundred eighty-two thousand four hundred and thirty-two  /  151085
Height : 1402  m above sea level M.
Height range : 1266-3153 m above sea level M.
Area : 75.18  km²
Residents: 110 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 1 inhabitant per km²


Location of the municipality
Gelmersee Räterichsbodensee Grimselsee Totesee Göscheneralpsee Lai da Curnera Lai da Nalps Lai da Sontga Maria Lago di Luzzone Lago di Lucendro Lago della Sella Lago Ritóm Lago di Tom Lago della Stabbio Lago di Cadagno Lago di Dentro Laghi Chièra Lago Tremorgio Lago del Sambuco Lago di Morghirolo Lago Laghetto Lago del Narèt Lago Nero Lago Sfundau Lago di Robiei Lago del Zött Lago dei Cavagnöö Lago del Toggia Lago Castel Lago di Morasco Lago del Sabbione Griessee (Schweiz) Bacino di Val Malvaglia Italien Kanton Bern Kanton Graubünden Kanton Uri Kanton Wallis Bezirk Bellinzona Bezirk Blenio Bezirk Locarno Bezirk Riviera Bezirk Vallemaggia Airolo Bedretto Faido Bodio TI Giornico Personico Pollegio Dalpe Prato (Leventina) Quinto TIMap of Bedretto
About this picture

Bedretto (tess .: Büdree ) is a municipality in the county Airolo , District Leventina the Swiss canton of Ticino .

Geography and geology

Aerial photograph by Walter Mittelholzer (1931)

Bedretto is located west of Airolo in Val Bedretto . The localities of Ossasco, Villa (in former times Romig or Romegg ), Bedretto, Ronco and All'Acqua belong to the political municipality Bedretto . The parish hall is in Villa. All'Acqua is not inhabited during the winter months. The hamlets of Orello and Nostengo above Villa Bedretto were also settled in the past.

The political municipality Bedretto borders directly on the municipality of Realp in the canton of Uri and the municipality of Obergoms (until 2009 Ulrichen and Oberwald ) in the Valais in German-speaking Switzerland as well as the municipalities of Airolo , Cevio and Lavizzara in the canton of Ticino and Formazza in the Piedmont region in Italy , which can be reached via the Passo San Giacomo . During the Ice Age, the Gries glacier flowed from the Valais over the Cornopass (2485 m above sea level) into the rear Bedretto valley (Val Corno). The water from the Gries reservoir (2386 m above sea level) is conducted via pressure pipes, which are part of the Maggia power plant system, via Bedretto valley to Lake Maggiore (193 m above sea level).

In 1918 the canton of Ticino granted permission to mine the building lime deposits on Alp Manió. During and after the First World War, the Swiss industry also obtained this lime, which had hardly taken it into account beforehand due to its insufficient degree of purity. There was a soapstone quarry on Alp Cavanna ( 2020  m above sea level ) . The serpentine of the valley ( antigorite ) is greenish. The Rotondo granite is known by climbers because it is lichen-free due to its altitude and south-facing position.

Localities of the municipality of Bedretto

History and traffic

Historical picture by Leo Wehrli from 1911

Pre-Roman graves (villa) and Roman coin finds (Bedretto) indicate an early settlement. Bedretto was first mentioned in 1210 as Bedoledo and in 1457 as Bedreudo. When the Alps of the Leventina valley were divided up in 1227, Bedretto appears as a neighborhood and an independent parish. The valley probably separated from Airolo before 1277. In 1567 it owned 38 households (hearths). In 1594 the parish church Martiri Maccabei in Villa was rebuilt after an avalanche.

From the hospice in All'Acqua, two important mule tracks led over the Nufenen Pass into Upper Valais and over the San Giacomo Pass, where the San Nicolao Hospice mentioned in 1405 stood in Val d'Olgia, into the Italian Formazza Valley . In the steep Bedretto valley, avalanches often occur in winter and the connections between the villages and Airolo are often cut off. The village often suffered from avalanches, including on January 16 and 17, 1594 when the parish church and several houses were destroyed, on February 6 and 7, 1749 (destruction of Ossasco), on January 11, 1863 (death of 29 people); in the avalanche winter of 1951 the whole valley had to be evacuated. Mighty avalanche barriers have improved the situation. Since 1924 there has been a road from Airolo to Bedretto, since 1932 to Ronco and since 1964 over the Nufenen Pass.

The proximity of the Italian border at the San Giacomo pass for Gotthard defense led 1939-1945 above All'Acqua to build the dam site San Giacomo with the artillery factory Grandinagia , the infantry blockhouse San Giacomo, the artillery position Manegorio and military cableways All'Acqua angle station Z307 -Grandinagia Z313-San Giacomo Z308 and All'Acqua-Rotondo SB163.

From Ossasco (still existing base station at a village) was initially 1940s the 4550-meter-long military cable car Z305 / 306 via return station Alp Cassinello ( 2130  m above sea level. M. ) with a short tunnel on the Bassa di Folcra ( 2560  m above sea level. M. ) and down into Val Torta ( 2350  m above sea level ) to supply the troops who had to defend themselves against enemy attacks over the Naret or Cristallina passes. The train was canceled in 1983. There are remains of the cable car tunnel on the Bassa di Folcra .

During the construction of the winter-safe Furka Base Tunnel in 1977, a gallery was created from the middle of the tunnel to Ronco, the so-called Bedretto window , because a second tunnel connection between Oberwald and Ronco was originally planned. The tunnel has been closed since 1982.

In the past, each village had its own primary school . In 1960 a comprehensive school was opened in Bedretto , and today the few students attend classes in Airolo.

Economy and tourism

The valley lived mainly from agriculture (cattle breeding, alpine and dairy farming, potato and rye cultivation). Many residents had to look for work as chestnut roasters, waiters or house servants or emigrate seasonally in Italy and France.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Maggia Kraftwerke built a hydropower plant with water tunnels in two stages, which lead from the highest reservoir in Switzerland, the Griessee , to the Verbano power plant center near Brissago on Lake Maggiore . In the Bedretto valley, the Gries-Bedretto- Robiei feeder tunnel was built with the Cruina and Stabbiascio windows and the connections to the Cavagnolo, Val d'Olgia and San Giacomo streams . The license for the Magga 1 plant (Sambuco, Peccia, Cavergno, Verbano) lasts until 2035, that of Maggia 2 (Cavagnoli-Naret, Robiei, Bavona) until 2048. For the expansion of the Maggia power plants there was a - now closed - Power station railway from All'Acqua to Stabbiascio. On February 15, 1966, the worst mining accident in the canton of Ticino occurred in the Stabbiascio / Robiei gallery. 15 Italian miners and two firemen from Locarno were killed by poison gas in the tunnel.

After the Second World War, the valley became depopulated. In the summer months it is revived today with the return of locals and the influx of tourists and vacationers. Tourist bases are the SAC huts Corno Gries , Piansecco and Cristallina .

Alpine farming and owner

  • Cioss Prato ( 1572  m above sea level ) (Bedretto community)
  • Valleggia ( 1753  m above sea level ) (Bedretto community)
  • Manegorio (civil parish of Sobrio)
  • Formazzora ( 1652  m above sea level ) (Tarnolgio di Mairengo Alpine Cooperative)
  • Cruina ( 2002  m above sea level ) (Osco Alpine Cooperative)


Population development
year 1745 1798 1850 1900 1930 1950 1995 2000 2004 2008 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Residents 293 594 388 257 275 213 72 75 70 74 64 70 76 90 103 108 109 109

Today the community of Bedretto has only a few residents, mostly retired people. Since the valley offers few job opportunities and, moreover, is often completely cut off from the outside world in the winter months, most of the young people leave the valley. According to the census carried out by the Federal Statistical Office in 2000, Bedretto is the “oldest” municipality in Switzerland because it has the highest percentage of over 65s in the population. However, the population seems to have stabilized since the turn of the millennium.

The inhabitants of the municipality of Bedretto are called Parüsch in Leventina .

Local civil parish

In the oldest documents Bedretto was an independent parish and parish. When the Alps of the Leventina valley were divided up in 1227, Bedretto formed a neighborhood, but was the only one not to have an alp of its own. The modern foundation dates back to 1761 with the districts Ossasco, Villa, Ronco, All'Acqua.


  • Renato Leonardi: President

Active local citizen families and their nicknames

  • Borelli
  • Forni: Mestar - Catona - Panarèr (alfieri, da standard bearer) - Petri - Pozzina - D'Albin
  • Leonardi: Carlo d'All'acqua - Mufrit - Parüsc (wooden nail)
  • Orelli: Bidesca - Chiaplit - Cenovis
  • Spizzi
  • Vella: Sandrui - Serafinui .


  • Cios Prato ( 1572  m above sea level )
  • Valleggia ( 1753  m above sea level )


The village image is classified in the inventory of protected sites in Switzerland (ISOS) as a site of national importance in Switzerland.

  • Parish church Santi Maccabei in the district of Villa, the polygonal church tower also serves as an avalanche breaker
  • Rossi House
  • Osteria Novena
  • In the All'Acqua district: Ospiz-Gasthof
  • Fortresses of San Giacomo


  • Arnoldo Borelli (born May 12, 1875 in Bedretto, † December 31, 1957 in Airolo ), photographer
  • Raffaele Forni (1906–1990), priest, archbishop and diplomat of the Holy See
  • Giorgio Orelli (1921–2013), writer, literary critic and translator
  • Giovanni Orelli (1928–2016), writer, lecturer and poet
  • Diego Orelli (* 1934 in Bedretto), innkeeper, mayor of Bedretto
  • Renato Leonardi (* 1945 in Bedretto), lecturer, poet, former middle school director, president of the local community of Bedretto


  • Piero Bianconi , Arminio Janner: Ossasco , All'Acqua and Bedretto. In: Arte in Leventina. Istituto Editoriale Ticinese, Bellinzona 1939, pp. 64, 87.
  • Piero Bianconi (Ed.): Bedretto. In: Inventario delle cose d'arte e di antichità. Le Tre Valli Superiori. Leventina, Blenio, Riviera. Grassi & Co., Bellinzona 1948, p. 18.
  • Mario Fransioli: Bedretto. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . May 17, 2004 , accessed December 30, 2019 .
  • Ottavio Lurati : Terminologia e usi pastorizi di val Bedretto. Società svizzera per le tradizioni populari, Basel 1968.
  • Johann Rudolf Rahn : I monumenti artistici del medio evo nel Cantone Ticino. Tipo-Litografia di Carlo Salvioni, Bellinzona 1894, (Ronco) p. 263.
  • Simona Martinoli u. a .: Guida d'arte della Svizzera italiana. Published by the Society for Swiss Art History , Edizioni Casagrande, Bellinzona 2007, ISBN 978-88-7713-482-0 , p. 148.
  • Celestino Trezzini : Bedretto In: Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon der Schweiz , Volume 2, Basel - Berikon , Attinger, Neuenburg 1924, p. 69 ( digitized version ), (accessed on June 8, 2017).
  • Marco Volken: Leventina and Bedrettotal: origin of Ticino. Salvioni Editore, Bellinzona 2001.

Web links

Commons : Bedretto  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Permanent and non-permanent resident population by year, canton, district, municipality, population type and gender (permanent resident population). In: bfs. . Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 31, 2019, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  2. Ossasco on
  3. Mario Fransioli: Passo di San Giacomo. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . October 7, 2009 .
  4. Mario Fransioli: Bedretto. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . May 17, 2004 .
  5. Cable car inventory: Military cable car Z307
  6. ^ Ticino Alps: Val Cassinello
  7. ^ Hans Richard, Jürg Keller: Military cable cars / Téléfériques militaires. Association of Historical Military Facilities Freiburg / Bern, annual issue 2016
  8. Mario Fransioli: Bedretto. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . May 17, 2004 .
  9. Bedretto local citizen community, Renato Leonardi President (Italian) on
  10. List of sites of national importance , directory on the website of the Federal Office of Culture (BAK), accessed on January 10, 2018.
  11. a b c d Simona Martinoli u. a .: Guida d'arte della Svizzera italiana. Published by the Society for Swiss Art History , Edizioni Casagrande, Bellinzona 2007, ISBN 978-88-7713-482-0 , p. 148.
  12. Fortresses San Giacomo on, accessed July 26, 2015.
  13. ^ Arnoldo Borelli. In: Sikart
  14. Renato Leonardi school director (photo)
  15. Ottavio Lurati: Terminologia e usi pastorizi di val Bedretto. in (accessed on: May 3, 2016.)
  16. Marco Volken: Leventina and Bedrettotal: Origin of Ticino. in (accessed on: May 3, 2016.)