The name derives from "riva" ("shore" given to its location on a river bank) and from the local dialect "andare in obbia" which means "to welcome the relatives at their return." It is a mountain village in the province of Vercelli, located more than 1100 meters above sea level, on the border with the Val d'Aosta, not far from Alagna Valsesia and Mollia. The municipality is composed of a number of districts distributed between Val Grande and Val Vogna along the river Sesia. The town is located in a privileged position from where it is possible to admire the Monte Rosa. An Important tourist destination, it features a ring for cross-country skiing.
In the Roman times, the town was known as "Petrae Gemellae" for the presence of two huge boulders located on the edge of town. It is mentioned in official documents since 1217. Next came the great era of colonization of the Walser, of which traces are still visible today, even though in the village of Riva stands only one Walser house of 1365, while there are more numerous examples in the other nearby districts. The first settlers, from Gressoney, established in the entire Vogna Valley and the village of Peccia was already inhabited in 1325. With the demographic growth of the population the town was enlarged towards the plain of the Sesia and on the opposite side upstream.
Not to miss:
The Parish Church of San Michele Arcangelo. Located at the center of the town and built on a pre-existing church entitled to Santa Maria, dating from the XV century and after the disaster, in which the original parish church of San Michele was destroyed in 1640 by a flood of the river Vogna. Of the old chapel of Santa Maria remains only the façade of great artistic interest for the great fresco of the Last Judgment, by Melchior d'Errico and the Bell tower, which flanks the building on the left hand side. In 1661 a new and higher tower was erected. The building was extended in 1735 and features a single nave plan, enriched by many chapels with archways and domes decorated with frescoes of the XVIII century. The interior preserves numerous works of art: the marble altar dating back to 1749, a panel depicting the Madonna and Child, St. Michael and St. John the Baptist of the XVI century, a fine altarpiece and a wooden crucifix of the XV century.
The Sottile Hospice shelter on the hill of Valdobbia. Built in to provide shelter for pilgrims and travelers, frequently exposed to bad weather conditions along the route, it was recently renovated.
The Ethnographic Museum housed in a Walser house of Rabernardo.