Smuggler’s Trek (English)


The ‘Trekking del Contrabbandiere’ (Smuggler’s Trek) presented by Insubrica Historica stems from the desire to allow interested people to relive an important historical moment, not even that remote. It is a path that leads to reflection and shows how the war situation of the Second World War largely touched the region of Locarno. The idea for this trek came about during the “Gente di Contrabbando” (People Smuggling) exhibition organised with the Elisarion Centre at Villa San Quirico in Minusio in 2021-2022.




Trekking del Contrabbandiere (Smuggler’s Trekking): An initiative of Insubrica Historica aimed at enhancing a trail near the Locarno (Brissago) border, which was used during the 1940-1950s for smuggling goods, but also by partisans and civilian and Jewish refugees fleeing to Switzerland. A total of twelve 4-hour hikes are proposed for 2024, in the months of January to December 2024.

The route was designed to allow people to experience first-hand how challenging and difficult the border crossing was. Partisans who were chased by the Nazi-Fascists and smugglers who, at night, almost without any lighting, walked along the winding path, each carrying a bricolla – the typical smuggling sack – weighing around 30-40 kg. Or the many refugees, mainly Jews, who crossed this side of the lake to escape Nazi-Fascist oppression.

Details of the hike: The start is set for 6:45 a.m. from the municipal car park (autosilo comunale) in Ascona, in the direction of Brissago, in the hamlet of Cortaccio (1000 m above sea level). After about 30 minutes you leave the car and start the walk. We ascend the path in the direction of Ghiridone, in the hamlet of Rescerasca (1200 m above sea level). After a short stop, continue directly towards the border. You walk along a little-used path, which is difficult for a short stretch, crossing the border at an altitude of 1100 m above sea level. After about 30 minutes, you reach Alpe Frignago and stop at the Italian border guard barracks. Afterwards, we return towards Switzerland. The return to the Ascona car park is scheduled for approx. 11:45 a.m.

Duration and trekking length: The “Trekking del Contrabbandiere” lasts about 4 hours (including breaks for explanations and historical-geographical contextualisation). It runs along a 5-km route, with an altitude difference of 273 metres uphill and 68 metres downhill, which is quite challenging only on a short 100-metre stretch. To participate, it is necessary to have trekking shoes and clothing and equipment suitable for a T2/T3 (Switzerland) or EE (Italy) class route. Each participant must also carry a valid identity document and is responsible for his or her own insurance coverage.

Cost: You can register online on the website of Insubrica Historica ( The participation fee is CHF 50 / EUR 50, payable via PayPal or IBAN.

Participants: The trekking starts with a minimum of 4 registrations and is limited to a maximum of 7 participants. Registrants will receive a confirmation email one week before the departure date. The payment of the registration fee should therefore only be made after receiving the confirmation and in any case before the event.

Next trekking’s:

  • Saturday 20.1.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 10.2.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 23.3.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 21.4.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 18.5.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 22.6.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 27.7.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 31.8.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 28.9.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 26.10.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 30.11.2024 08h00-12h00
  • Saturday 28.12.2024 08h00-12h00

Contact for further information:
Raphael Tel. Mobile/WhatsApp 0041 79 292 69 03.

Tour Booking

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