Ticino's mountain valleys, just a short distance from its major cities, are rugged reminders of the region's modest history. Stone homes, called rustici, dot the valleys, some of which are so deep that the sun never quite reaches bottom. Driving through these valleys can be disorienting. Time seems to have stopped, and whole villages seem perched on craggy mountainsides in apparent defiance of gravity. A short drive along
Route 13 through the wild and rugged mountain gorge of the Valle Verzasca leads to Corippo, where a painterly composition of stone houses and a 17th-century church are all protected as architectural landmarks. The mountain village of Sonogno lies at the end of the 26-km (16-mile) valley.