Looking for an eco-friendly holiday in a corner of Italy far away from the mass tourism? Head for the valley of Valtellina, a stone’s throw from Switzerland. Valtellina offers fresh air, quiet woodlands, lush meadows, stunning mountains, excellent food (and wine) and a warm welcome from the locals.

We selected three micro adventures of varying difficulty, so one or more is bound to fit your preference.

The sensory walking path at Bagni di Valmasino, Valtellina

Gigantic fern wood
The gigantic fern wood along the Sensory path in Valtellina Valley

The Sensory walking path stretches from the start point near the bus stop of Bagni di Valmasino.
It runs for approximately 1 kilometer through a dense pine forest where gigantic ferns grow, lavish meadows and along mountain creeks. The trail is accessible for nearly everyone as the ups and downs are minimal.
The short hike should take approximately 45 minutes, you will wish it was not over so quickly.
The whole trail lasts 45 min at walking pace.

The Sensory walking path is specifically designed for visually impaired and accessible to motor skills impaired as well. The ERSAF (the local institution in charge for the agricultural and natural life) worked together with the Blind People Association and the local association Alt.Ra and the result is a trail allowing visually impaired people to walk the path with no assistance needed. Some of the user friendly features include:

  • tactile paving in different textures alerts blind people about crossing points along the way
  • a barrier at foot level signals the way to walk
  • a rope at hand level allows to walk following direction and in safety
  • information panels in Braille are located at key points and provide full explanation about the environment (mountain names, altitude, etc( and natural life (plant and animal life)

This valley is also home to many legends, the most popular one is the “Gigiàt legend”
What is the “Gigiàt”? No one seems to have ever seen one but some expert alpine guides who refers of a gigantic animal half goat and half chamois jumping from valley to valley.
As the legend goes, Gigiàt lives over the peaks but it visits the mid valley cottage to have its long hair cut at springtime once a year. Merrily running wild over the peaks, the Gigiàt is the symbol of life who perpetuates every spring after the winter pause. Local sayings reminds us “good people living in respect of natural life need no to fear the Gigiàt and for the others…no one has ever come back to say”

The Valtellina wine trail

A small town in the valley of Valtellina
The view over the little town of Ponte in Valtellina from the Terraced vineyards trail

Meandering among the terraced vineyards approximately 70 kilometers from the lovely village of Morbegno in the middle of the Valtellina Valley to Tirano a few kilometers from the border with Switzerland. The name of the trail “Terraced vineyards” comes from the typical vineyards of the area.
The valley’s sides are covered with small vineyards growing on little squares of rich soil.
Each terrace is the fruit of hard manual work of the locals who cleaned the mountains’ woods and created an area for the grapes back in the Middle Ages.

The trail is moderate level and it is accessible both via bike and walk.
It is a great trip for sports lovers, well trained sports amateurs and mountain bike passionates as well.
These lands once densely populated are rich in history and art and a stop in one of the many chapels and churches will unfold incredible beauty.

The trail of Valtellina

A glimpse of the river Adda through the trees
The trail of Valtellina runs parallel to the river Adda, picture by Michele Testini via Flickr

Spanning 141 kilometers, the trail of Valtellina takes you from Colico to Bormio, a tourist destination in the higher part of the valley of Valtellina. The trail is suitable for everyone as it has slight slopes.
You can bike or walk partially and stop for a picnics along the way.

Most of the trail runs a parallel to the railway line so you can bring your own bike on the train, stop at a local station and bike for some at your leisure until you reach the next train station and take the train back to your point of origin.

If you do not have a bike or you prefer not to bring it with you, you can hire a bike at one of the main bike stations along the area.

Salami and cheese
Salami, cheese and brown bread from Valtellina photo by Cristiana Pedrali

 

Your eco-friendly accommodation in Valtellina

Where to sleep: we invite you to stop for a night at ViaParadisoB&B where Norma will take good care of you and suggest where to go and what to visit on your stay in Valtellina.

Do not be shy and ask her what to eat and where to eat the local sciatt (fried cheese balls), the worldwide famous “pizzoccheri” ( a delicious dish made of homemade pasta served with green vegetables and a generous handful of the local chhese Bratto) and the warm red wine of Valtellina.

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Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →


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