What are the reasons why Valtellina is a perfect destination for travel during autumn season?
An opportunity to talk about this wonderful area is the beginning of the ski season, scheduled for November 28th in Bormio; however there are many other inviting attractions for those who enjoy vacations at high altitude.
The route that we recommend is focused on the Alta Valtellina (upper Valtellina), since it is an area full of tourist facilities to welcome travelers for all year round. This is where you will can visit Bormio, Livigno and Santa Caterina Valfurva, furthermore the Alta Valtellina is the “Water Valley” par excellence, since it is present in the shape of ice and snow, flowing in streams and fills mountain lakes, then there also the hot water of the thermal baths, a gift of nature of which we should be grateful.
The following towns are part of the Mountain Community Alta Valtellina: Bormio, Livigno, Sondalo, Valdidentro, Valdisotto, Valfurva.
Credits: Bormio panoramica By Jules Nidi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
What to see in Bormio
Bormio is located in the province of Sondrio and is considered a peculiar place of Valtellina both for its strategic location (enclosed in a valley carved by glaciers), and for its traditions kept intact over time.
Beginning a walk from the square Kuèrc, you will get the chance to visit the museum of Palazzo de Simoni and learn more about the origins of this town, whose thermal baths were already known to the ancient Romans.
Bormio is located inside the Stelvio National Park, the largest in Italy, created to protect the flora and fauna and including 24 municipalities.
Visiting the Park is an experience that everyone should do, exploring the landscape populated by deer, chamois, foxes, mountain goats, owls, golden eagles and other rare species.
Inside the park there are also lodges and rural villages, the result of the work of man in complete harmony with nature.
The Stelvio Pass is a symbol of the area, by virtue of the path that reaches an elevation of 2,757 m above sea level (the second highest paved mountain pass in Europe) and for being repeatedly stage of the Giro d’Italia. Imagine the strength and stamina required to face a stage like that is remembered as the setting for one of the challenges by the legendary cyclist Fausto Coppi.
The Stelvio Pass is a popular summer destination for cyclists and bikers, and we have included it in the itinerary also because you can go to the Alpine huts spread across the way. In that context, you can enjoy the great hospitality of the inhabitants, shepherds that produce cheese and take care of the cattle, with the same passion as their ancestors.
If you are wishing for a rejuvenating experience, you will be fully satisfied by the thermal waters of Bormio, where you can immerse yourself in big pools with panoramic views of the mountains and the Stelvio ski slope. Here are available the Kneipp treatment, the emotional showers and other facilities reserved to who book a visit to Bormio thermal baths.
You can find additional info on this website: www.valtellina.it
A thrilling travel on the Bernina Express
From Bormio you can easily go to Tirano, about 40 km away; this town is the train terminal of the Bernina Express. This train is the symbol of the slow tourism in the mountains, as it covers 145 km of route in 4 hours and offers a spectacular view of the landscape: from the viaduct of Brusio to Miralago, a stretch along Lake Poschiavo; from Morteratsch to St. Moritz and Chur, two popular tourist destinations in Switzerland.
Credits: Trenino By Kabelleger / David Gubler (http://www.bahnbilder.ch) (Own work: http://www.bahnbilder.ch/picture/11543) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bernina Express is equipped with panoramic wagons and is worth to book a ticket for these coaches to appreciate the panorama and realize the exceptional nature of the Alta Valtellina, beautiful not only in winter.
The typical Valtellina specialties
To get an impression of this land so far from the most popular destinations in Italy, we suggest trying the local products, starting with the wine (Sforzato, Valtellina Superiore, Sassella, Grumello, Inferno, Valgella and Maroggia), the cheeses to match with wine, as the DOP Bitto and Valtellina Casera DOP, continuing with bresaola and buckwheat pizzoccheri pasta.
Bresaola, in particular, if air-cured beef which owes its tastiness and its nutritional properties to Valtellina climate, which enhances the difference of this product compared to other Italian cold cuts.
Here “cucina povera” it doesn’t mean tasteless but, on the contrary, a cuisine full of authenticity, as proven by the pizzoccheri, a kind of pasta whose recipe has been handed down for generations.
At the best restaurants and trattoria of Valtellina this dish is cooked with handmade pasta, but if you want to enjoy the top quality, we recommend going in Teglio, where there is the Academy of Pizzocchero!
Once you having explored the delights of Valtellina cuisine we are sure that you will appreciate the many sporting activities on site; what is better than pairing challenging sports and regenerating breaks?