With majestic terraced vineyards at the foot of the Alps, a rich gastronomy that highlights local products, and the multitude of outdoor activities it offers, Valtellina is without a doubt one of the most beautiful regions in Italy, but also one of the most unknown.
The Valtellina region is located at the northern end of Lombardy near the Swiss border. This valley that follows the course of the Adda River is bounded on the west by Lake Como and on the east by the Bormio massif.
Nature and sports lovers will not be disappointed. Hiking, cycling, climbing, rafting, paragliding, skiing, canyoning, mountain biking, you will be spoiled for choice to fill up with fresh air from the mountains! Valtellina is home to the fabulous Stelvio National Park, one of the largest protected natural reserves in Europe. In the region you will find lots of ski resorts and more than 300 kilometers of ski slopes. Trekking lovers can also opt for the beautiful trails of Orobie Valtellinesi Regional Park.
The small town of Sondrio, Valtellina’s main city, is located in the center of the valley. It could be an excellent starting point to spread throughout the region. Perched on the heights of Sondrio, the ruins of Castel Grumello are not to be missed. You will find one of the most beautiful panoramas on the Sondrio Valley.
Mountain landscape near Valmalenco
Balneotherapy enthusiasts can visit the small spa town of Bormio. They can relax in hot outdoor baths with a breathtaking view of the mountains. In Bormio, take the opportunity to visit the Braulio liqueur factory and enjoy ice cream and desserts flavored with this herb liqueur, whose recipe is secretly kept …
You can’t visit Valtellina region without drinking a nice glass of Nebbiolo, called here Chiavennasca. Vine has been cultivated for centuries and a hike through the vineyards is an experience worth seeing. Take the opportunity to visit one or two producers, who will tell you about the region’s beautiful wine history and the challenges of growing grapes. Due to the topography and the cultivation of terraced vines, no mechanization is possible. From the maintenance of the vines to the harvest, everything is done by hand!
The Valtellina Wine Trail passes through the region’s superb wine-growing landscapes.
Oenological destination it is, but also gastronomic! Valtellina is an agricultural region where you may find many cheeses and meat specialties. The cheeses of the region, based on cow’s milk, are called bitto and casera. Scimudin, meanwhile, is most often made from goat’s milk. To taste Valtellina cheeses, we advise you to go to the Fratelli Ciaponni store, which has one of the most beautiful selections of cheeses from all over the region.
Bresaola della Valtellina is a salami made of beef, salted and then dried, and eaten raw. Salting lasts between 10 and 20 days and drying between 2 and 4 months at a temperature between 20 and 30C. Today, the vast majority of bresaola is manufactured industrially, and the meat is imported mainly from Argentina and Brazil. Instead, turn to artisanal bresaola made with beef grown in alpine pastures.
The most emblematic culinary specialty of Valtellina is without a doubt the pizzoccheri, dark pasta made from buckwheat flour. Pizzoccheri are traditionally prepared with casera cheese, a lot of butter and cabbage. A mountain dish to proscribe if you’re on a diet! Guarantor of tradition, the Academy of Pizzochero di Teglio jealously guard the authentic recipe of pizzoccheri … The sciatt, meanwhile, is a delicious donut of buckwheat flour stuffed with casera cheese.