I took a day trip to the beautiful mountainside village of Soglio above the Bregaglia Valley at the beginning of October 2016 while I was staying in St Moritz.
The whole journey is by PostBus and takes about an hour and a half. Soglio is a wonderful destination in itself, but the journey there from St Moritz is also very scenic. In fact, it follows part of the Palm Express scenic bus route.
Leaving St Moritz from the railway station, we first skirted the end of the St. Moritzersee (“-see” at the end of a place name indicates that it is a lake), and before too long found ourselves travelling alongside several more lakes ringed by forests and mountains: the Champfèrersee and the Silvaplanersee. Shortly after that, the bus travelled through the pretty village of Sils Maria and along yet another lake, the Silsersee, before reaching the village of Maloja at the other end of the lake.
From Maloja, the bus commenced the steep descent down the magnificent forested Maloja Pass, which is an unusual sort of pass, being fairly flat on the Maloja side, and very steep on the Bregaglia side. The driver manoeuvred expertly around hairpin bend after hairpin bend, and we had beautiful views into the Bregaglia Valley. (Good views on both sides, but slightly better on the right). The bus then travelled through lovely villages of traditional buildings, where some roads are so narrow they are only just wide enough to permit the bus to pass through.
In the village of Vicosoprano, I saw the following inscription on one of the houses:
"LASCIA CHE PENSA AI CASI SUOI CIASCUNO
SAGACE SCALTRO E CHIUSO IL CUOR CONSERVA
NON SCRIVER PARLA POCCO IL TUTTO OSSERVA
CREDI IN DIO SOLO NE TI FIDAR DI ALCUNO
E CHI NON FA COSI
NON PUÒ VIVER AL TEMPO D'OGGIDI
AGOSTINO VASALLI F.F. 1769"
I googled the first line of it, and discovered that this same inscription was noticed by a writer called Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye, who included it in his book “Letters from Italy”, which was published in 1886. In the English translation of his book, the following translation for the inscription is provided:
“Let each man mind his own affairs, and then,
Prudent observer, keep thy heart close sealed.
Write not ; speak little ; mourn thy woes unhealed.
Believe in God alone, but trust not men.
In these days, he who works not, shall not eat.”
About 10 minutes later, the bus pulled into the village of Promontogno. I think the PostBus stop at Promontogno (“Promontogno, posta”) must be one of the prettiest bus stops in Switzerland! I had about 15 minutes to wait for my connecting bus to Soglio, and passed the time strolling around the picturesque village and taking photos.
From Promontogno, it was just a further 12 minutes of steep and winding road up the mountain to the village of Soglio, passing through groves of what I think were mainly chestnut trees, with many stone huts scattered about. The bus stopped at the edge of the village, from where I followed a lane slightly uphill into the village, which is located on a terrace at 1,090 metres above sea level and has a population of about 300 people. From this lane, there were stunning views into the valley below. The lovely Sciora mountains on the other side of valley were obscured by clouds when I arrived, but I saw them in their magnificence later in the day.
After passing the “Stüa granda” hotel/restaurant near the top of the hill, I reached the St Lorenzo Evangelical Church (which dates from 1354), and explored the beautifully manicured churchyard and cemetery – from which a breathtaking panorama spread out before me! This cemetery must have one of the most beautiful views of any cemetery in the world! From there I continued along narrow, winding cobblestone lanes lined with traditional stone-roofed houses, many of which displayed pots of bright flowers, and I felt like I had travelled back several hundred years in time.
When I was ready for lunch, I stopped in at the hotel/restaurant “Palazzo Salis”, a building dating from 1630, and took a seat at one of the outdoor tables. I ordered a simple meal of sausage with potato salad, but I have to say that the potato salad was the best I have ever had in my life! As I was enjoying my lunch, the clouds cleared from the Sciora mountains across the valley and revealed some magnificent craggy peaks!
In the SBB timetable, the stop for Soglio is called “Soglio, villagio”, which is at the edge of the village. The route from St Moritz involves first taking bus #4 from St Moritz railway station (direction: Chiavenna) and alighting at the stop called “Promontogno, posta”, from where connecting bus #632 takes passengers up the mountain to Soglio. Both buses run all year.
Although it was not apparent from the timetable, we also had to change buses at the stop "Maloja, Posta". The second bus was also a #4 bus. This happened on the way back as well. I don't know whether that is the usual arrangement, or was simply a temporary measure. In any case, it was a quick change at the same bus stop.
Attached below are some photos of Soglio, Promontogno, and some scenery en route. I have posted photos of the Maloja Pass and Sils Maria previously, and they can be seen on the following page:
(For photos of the Maloja Pass, see the post "Locarno to St Moritz", and scroll down a little further for the photos of Sils Maria.)