Sondrio is a small provincial town situated in the area of Valtellina a mountainous area just north of Lake Como and confining with Switzerland.

 It is an ideal base for exploring this area. Sondrio itself is completely' untouched' by tourism, an ideal place to mingle-in with the northern Italians and to try the local wines and cuisine.

 Try the 'pizzocheri', tagliatelle noodles made from buck- wheat flour, served with melted local cheese,potatoes and cabbage -delicious! Then there are the local 'sciatt' -deep fried cheese balls served with chicory salad. The local bresaola (cured beef) is another speciality along with some excellent cheeses. Here at the Gembro we buy our cheese straight from the farmers.

 From Sondrio you are spoilt for choice. In the summer you can do some fabulous mountain treks, visit Lake Como, or even go summer skiing on the Stelvio Glacier. Mountain biking is ideal in this area too, along with white -water rafting. In fact the junior European Championships were held here last year.

 In winter you can go up to ski in Chiesa Val Malenco, or why not go 20minutes to Tirano to catch the famous 'Bernina Express' that goes over the Bernina Pass into St Moritz for the day, an unforgettable experience.

 Whatever your taste the Valtelllina has something for you!

To see what Wikipedia says about Sondrio click here SONDRIO ARTICLE

For a Wikipedia article on the Valtellina click here VALTELLINA ARTICLE

The Official VALTELLINA WEB SITE (in Italian)

The web site of PROVINCE OF SONDRIO (in Italian)

The web site of the COMUNE DI SONDRIO (in Italian)

 

  

Sondrio lies in the middle of The Valtellina, a valley that extends from Lecco on the shores of Lake Como in the West and as far as Bormio on the Swiss border to the East. Sondrio is situated at the widest and flattest portion of the valley and is the Capital of the area known as The Valtellina.
The Valtellina divides the Orobic side from the Rhaetian side of

the Alps. The town sums up in itself the most typical traits of the whole

region: woods and mountain pastures are to be seen on different heights on

the Orobic side, while vineyard terraces can be admired on the Rhaetian

side; systematically ordered meadowsare to be admired in the valley bot-

tom, while churches and castles alternate upon its hills (Sassella, Triangia,

Grumello, Moncucco, Masegra, St.Lawrence); the traces of technological

innovation can be observed in the hydroelectric mains which run

through the mountain sides. But the most peculiar trait of

Sondrio’s territory is the vineyard,particularly in the areas of Ponchiera

Grumello, Sassella and Triasso. The river Adda flows close to the

southern part of the town, while the River Mallero flows down from

Valmalenco through some deep gorges named “Cassandre”, after having

flown over the “Giants’ potholes”, i.e. big rocks carved and smoothed by

water, and it flows through the town. Sondrio was originally gathered

around the hills of St. Lawrence and Masegra but it has then expanded

south- and westwards including thevillageofMontagnain Valtellina, and

north- southwards including the village of Albosaggia. In this way the

chief town is the centre of a wide conurbation divided into several com-

munes.

     

The name Sondrio is of Longobardorigin: Sundrium was called a special

land cultivated by the landlord.As a toponym “Loco Sundri" appears

for the first time in the “Codex Diplomaticus Longobardie”. In

Roman times the territory belongedto the council ofComo. The town

began to develop only when the landfrom Berbenno to Sondrio was given

as fiscal franchise to “Arimanni", i.e.warmen of warlike origin. A firm poli-

tical power, however, was obtainedonly after Conrad II proclaimed in

1037 the “Constitutio de Feudis” bywhich little estates were also made

hereditary. According to the historio-graphical tradition, the Franconian

king Henry III would have conferred on the Di Capitani family, coming

from the Tessin, the territory of the parish Sondrio and Berbenno, and this

family would have built, in the same year, the castles of St. George and

Masegra. As to this, however, there is no written confirmation. It is sure that

in 1110 four brothers called Capitanei settled in Sondrio where they founded

St. Lawrence’s monastery, which was included inside St. Georges Castle.

The Capitaneis controlled the territory included between Berbenno and

Stazzona, a village nearby Tirano, for the defense of which they built a

system of fortresses which should also enable them to take control of the

ways of communication to Valmalenco, Valcamonica,Engadine, to

ComoandMilan. Between 1110 and 1335 Sondrio felt the effects of the

long war betweenMilanandComoand also of the inner war insideComo,

where Guelphs and Ghibellines fighted the ones against the others. The

Ghibellines attacked Sondrio several times, because Tebaldo Capitanei had

given the Bishop of Como shelter. In 1335,Comowas defeated. Sondrio and

Valtellina were ruled by the Milanese families Visconti first and Sforza the-

reafter. The Beccaria, seated in Tresivio, became the new lords of

Sondrio.

Valtellina underwent the Grison’s rule on27th June 1512with the Oath of

5 Teglio, after having been for a short period under the French army.

Sondrio became seat of the Grison’s governor; the town took also a central

part in the religious struggles which took place in the first half of the 17th

century between Catholics and Protestants that were part of a wider

religious conflict involvingFranceandSpain, both interested in the control

of the centralAlps.

Nicolo Rusca, Sondrio’s~archpriest, died under torture in Thusis during a

trial brought against him by the protestant Grisons. His death was the pre-

lude to the Catholic insurrection of July 1620, the so called “Sacred

Slaughter” _in which 180 Protestants were killed. Sondrio became thus the

seat of the new governor of the independent Valtellina: Giacomo

Robustelli, one of the main leaders of the revolt. In the years between 1620

and 1639 the Inquisition harshly pewsecuted witches. In 1634 the

Inquisitor Geronimo Fulgerrzio Rangone let four women charged with .

witchery to be burnt. By the Treaty of Milan (1639) the Grison government

was restored and Valtellina knew a period of development which was to

last until the whole 18th century.

During the 18th century Sondrio was enriched with new monuments like

SertoliPalaceor Carbonera House.

Pietro Ligari, the famous artist, worked in Sondrio at the very same

period. A period of literary renaissance followed the artistical fluorishing of

the age: the Academy of the Silents, which drew its source back to the

Arcadia, was founded by the middle of the 18th century. The first typography

was opened in 1773 by G. B. Rossi, later followed by other masters of the

typographical art in Valtellina;

Giuseppe Bongiascia and G. B. Della Cagnoletta in the Restoration period.

Napoleon’s coming put an end to Grison’s domination. The “Tree of

Liberty” was planted in Sondrio in 1797. Valtellina was annexed to the

CisalpineRepublic, but Sondrio lost. the role of chief town in favour of

Morbegno that maintained it until the 19th century. Sondrio got back the

role of chief town in 1805; by 1815 theprovinceofSondriowas established.

The construction of the Stelvio pass road increased the importance of

Sondrio, which the Emperor Ferdinand I proclaimed “RoyalTown”,

i.e. endowed with Prefecture, Chamber of Commerce, political pri-

son and military barracks. In the Lombard-Venetian period Sondrio

underwent a great development. The hospital was founded in 1821 and the

theatre was built in 1824.
Piazza Garibaldi took the place of Piazza Cavour as` new centre of social and

civic life. In 1834 the town underwenta terrible flood, after which strong

embankments on the river Mallero were built.

In the same year Croff realized the four statues of the Monument to the

Gratitude. In 1859 theprovinceof Sondrio, together withLombardy, was

annexed to the Reign of Sardegna first and then to the Reign of Italy. In the

new Italian Stat_e, SQndrio’s life became new impulse. The first local

newspaper “La Valtellina” appeared in 1861; the Working Society was foun-

ded in 1864; in 1871 the first nursery school was opened and the wine-

making society of Valtellina was founded.
In 1872 the Banca Popolare di Sondrio and the Alpine Italian Clubsection were founded.

The railway road arrived in Valtellina in 1885 and it was extended to Tirano

in.1902. The cotton mill was founded in 1895 and in the*course of the same

year it employed about 600 people, mostly women. The Banca Piccolo

Credito Valtellinese was founded in 1908.
During the first half of the 20thcentury Sondrio underwent a series of

urban transformations, i.e. the new organization of Piazza Campello and

the construction of the Government and province building by Giovanni

Muzio in 1935.
The urban police service (Polizia Urbana)was instituted in 1937.

 

SONDRIO IN THE PRESENT DAY

Sondrio has changed significantly in modern times In the 1950’s it had still

rural aspect, due to the fact that provincial economy based on agriculture

and especially on vineyard culture. In the 1960’s there was an industrial

development and a revival of handicraft. In the last 15 years the town has

undergone a great process of expansion in the field of tertiary industry,

especially trade, credit and public service, see for instance the creation of

the sport centre, of the two sport fields and of the school campus.

Urban development is to be seen especially on the Orobic side of the town,

where a modern quarter, “La Piastra" with its characteristical “Towers", i.e.

council houses, has been recently built. A new handicraft area has risen

east to the town, while the tertiary sector mostly occupies the town centre.

As the two main roads in the town, Via Mazzini - Via N. Sauro and Via Stelvio

 Via Piazzi - Piazza Garibaldi – Viale Milano had become inadequate to bear

The heavy through traffic, a new ring road(Tangenziale)has been recently built in the outskirts of the town. In this way Sondrio has become a very liveable town and
congestion in the centre can be avoided, especially on the occasion of public

celebrations inside the town centre. Moreover, it has been possible to re-discover the historical and urban treasures of the town, which had been long neglected.
Worth to be seen are the two big mosaics made by Bruno Cassinari, which decorate the facade of the modern building of the Provincial Education Superintendency, which

contains also a beautiful sculpture made by the local artist Mario Negri,who died in 1979. Negri, Martini, Finotti and Scampini are the authors of four masterpieces of modern sculpture which can be admired in the gardens of Palazzo Sertoli. The chief town

of Valtellina has been twinned since 1962 with the German townSindelfingen, important industrial centre of Baden-Wurttemberg. In the Certificate of Twinning you can read

the following: “Both communities are convinced that citizens’ welfare can be

attained to only through peace and freedom and such inspiration can only

exist and be granted by a unitedEurope”.

 

PIAZZA GARlBALDI SONDRIO

Piazza Garibaldi, once called Piazza Nuova, is the hearth of Sondrio. It is a

typical 19th century square, surrounded by Renaissance and neoclassical

buildings. The bronze statue of General Giuseppe Garibaldi, made by

R Confalonieri (1909) stands out in the middle. On the southern side of

the square, next to the Bank of Italy building, there is the Pedretti Theatre

(1821), designed by the architect Luigi Canonica in Neoclassical style. In the

19th century the theatre was an important centre of musical and stage

meetings. Its inside has been recently redecorated. The Posta Hotel domina-

tes the square with its imposing facade: it was built in 1834 on a project

of the architect Carbonera and it is the most outstanding reception hall in The

Valtellina. The Banca Popolare di Sondrio building stands out next to

the Posta Hotel: it was set up in 1871 on request of the lay-nobility of

Valtellina. The bank owns a rich collection of contemporary works of art,

among which there are some valuable Valtellina landscapes made by well-

known painters which surely deserve a visit.
In the west side of the square you can see Lambertenghi House and, on

the northern side, Martinengo House, a building in Neoclassical style dating

back to the 16th century, which once belonged to the Count Ulisse Martinengo fromBrescia. He sought shelter in Valtellina at the time of the Counter-Reformation and let the house to be built. An obelisk with four statues stands out in front of

Martinengo House, designed by the sculptor Giuseppe Croff, who was one

of Canova’s apprentices. It is a monument of gratitude to Ferdinand I of

Austriafor having rebuilt the banks of the river Mallero after the flooding in

1834. The` banks were built by Carlo Donegani, (the engineer who conceived the plans of the Stelvio and of the Spluga pass roads). On the right-hand side of Martinengo House the pedestrian precinct leads into the old town.

Via Dante and via Beccaria, connected to Piazza Campello through typical ways, constitute the heart of the commercial town, in which traditional and bright shops

cohabit with the modern Galleria Campello.
Piazza Camsstto  _

Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza Campello are linked by the short Corso Italia.

Piazza Campello was in ancient times a sacred place with several religious

buildings like churches and oratories which were demolished in the 1930’s.

It is now one of the busiest places of the town.
Piazza Campello is dominated by the Collegiate Church, consecrated to Saints Gervasius and Protasius, whose foundation dates back to the year 1000.
Pietro Ligari designed a new project in the 18thcentury but its construction was so

much delayed that in 1797 the nave only had been completed and the architect Pietro Taglioretti closed it off with a neoclassicai choir.
In 1838 Giuseppe Sertoli built the facade in neoclassical style.
The bell-tower, designed by Ligari to be higher and covered in marble, was completed by Solariin a more modest form.

The inside contains several works of art which are well worth seeing.
A canvas by Pietro Ligari representing “The Miracle of Saint Gregory the Great” hangs on the left between the lst and the 2nd chapel; another painting made by Ligari,

the “Madonna with the Child and the Saints Domenico and Stefano” hangs

on the right side between the 1st and the 2nd chapel.
A painting by G. Petrini, “The Passing of S. Joseph" hangs on the left side, between the

2nd and the 3rd chapel. Notable are also some paintings made by G. Gavazzeni. In front of the Collegiate Church there is the Town Hall. It is an old building dating back to 1500, once owned by the Pellegrini family and then bought by the Valley Council in

the 16th century. It became thus the seat of the Grison Governor. The building was restored by Giussani in 1918.

The facade is decorated with graffito works and with coats of arms of the most important families of the time.

Inside, some coats of arms of the Grison governors can still to be seen.

The ‘major’s office still contains a very beautiful original “stua” made of

inlaid wood. The Banca Credito Valtellinese and Palace Botterini de

Pelosi, a neoclassical building now housing another local bank, the Cariplo, give on to the same square.

 

Starting from the Banca Popolare di Sondrio, on the south-east side of Piazza Garibaldi, Corso VittorioVenetoleads to the Palazzo della Provincia, built between 1932 and 1935. It was designed by the Milanese architect Giovanni Muzio and it was opened in

1935. It is a real gathering point of traditional Valtellina style and of architectural 20th century style. It is constituted by two towers, of different height and style, symbolizing force and power. The exterior of the building is covered with granite and lamellate stone. The building has now become the headquarters of the Prefecture (State authorities), of the Police and of the Province (Administration). Granite and stone

give to the whole building a severe and massive character, which disappears

as soon as you have entered the courtyard, where cloistral silence is interrupted by the murmur of a fountain, built by the architect A. Maiocchi. Inside, the Conference

Room deserves a visit because of the frescoes painted on the walls by G.Usellini with the encaustic technique: i.e. a very old technique by which the

colour is mixed with warm wax. The frescoes illustrate the traditional agricultural and handicraft activities of The Valtellina. The urbanite importance of this building lies in the fact that thanks to it a new street, via XXV Aprile, could be opened and some other narrow streets were enlarged. Marcello Dudovich, a famous advertiser, depicted this section of Sondrio in one of his water colours.


THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Chamber of Commerce building was built in the 1950’s under direction

of the architect I. Parisi, one of the most renowned architects of the

post war period, together with the architects Cappelletti and Longhi. The

building has been conceived as a vessel floating in the green of the gardens

Sertoli and Sassi. The exterior has recently been completed with a fountain, and the inside has been readjusted with works of various artists of world-wide fame like Lucio Del Pezzo, Davide Benati, Giuseppe Maraniello, Alik Cavaliere (sculpture and entrance

hall) and Emilio Tadini (mosaic in the conference room).
Opposite the Chamber of Commerce a modern shopping centre has been recently

built The Garberia, so called because this was once the seat of a leather tannery.

  

    

You can reach Piazzetta Quadrivio coming from via Lavizzari. The little square probably owes its name to a corruption of the old word “carrobbio”, meaning “cart”, which seems to confirm that this very place was oncea point where the carts coming into town stopped or passed by. The impressive square, with a round fountain (19th century) is surrounded by some aristocratic buildings, the most outstanding of which is Palazzo Sertoli. Its main facade was designed by the architect Pietro Solari of Belvedro, who completed also theBellTower. The inside shows a magnificent two storey ballroom whose walls are covered with frescoes representing a prospective flight of columns which give to the whole a great scenical effect. The large windows add light to

the room, whose beauty is refined by pretty and elegant lodges and small

balconies decorated with masques, flowers and fittings. The vaulted cei ling is refined with a polished small lantern. The splendid decoration is probably the work of G. Antonio Torricelli.
Palazzo Sertoli has recently been restored and it has become the headquarters of the Bank Credito Valtellinese. Its halls contain a rich collection ofLombardworks of art of

the 17th century. Since its renovation the beautiful garden has been opened

to the public again, showing an ornamental fountain, exotic and rare trees,

original and irregular flowerbeds. The chapel also deserves a visit: it was consecrated in 1715, it contains a beautiful painting by Giuseppe Prina, a painter fromBergamo(1681-1765).

Opposite Palazzo Sertoli you can go up Via Scarpatetti. The name comes from an old Grison family. It represents a characteristic old part of the town, with its rural and peculiar buildings and old stone houses, which make you feel the atmosphere of the

past life of Sondrio: a suite of archways, a series of cobbled lanes, stone buildings with wooden balconies and characteristic cellars named “involt”.

 

Along Via Scarpatetti you can find three little wayside chapels dedicated

to the Virgin, which point out some popular celebrations: the most typical

among them is the second chapel you meet, i.e. “The Virgin of the Grapes”,

which is celebrated during the grape harvest. On the right you can go up via

Schenardi and reach to theStateBoarding School, whose building was

previously a monastery for the Cappuccino monks requisitioned by Napoleon and transformed into a boarding school.

The dreamers of the Scqrpafeffi Quarter
It was the oldest part of the town, built 1387 representing corporal works of

mercy and another fresco made by the renowned local artist CiprianoValorsa, representing “The Madonna feeding the Child and the Saints” and

a rare portrait of St.Ignazio Loyola are also worth seeing. The room where

the works of the local artists Pietro Cesare and Angelo Ligari are gathered

is of particular interest. The ethnographic section is still being arranged

and completed with tools, utensils, clothes belonging to the traditional

agricultural world of Valtellina.

Another important section is dedicated to the Diocesan Museum: a collection of the artistic religious heritage is here on show: among them the ‘Adoration of the Baby Jesus’ painted between 1600 and 1800 by Sigismondo de Magistyis
13th Century dwellings built from stone with wooden balconies as you can still see

them in some alpine villages. Among them gardens, trees, pergolas., They

are linked up by little bridges; stairs, low walls, arches, vaalfs, subwags that connect these dwellings to Via Scarpatetti: a winding cobblestone lane which goes up to the castle.

Starting from Piazza Quadrivio, you can walk along via M. Quadrio to get to Palazzo Sassi, a severe building dating back to the 16th century, in which a magnificent “Stf1a”, i.e. a wood-paneled room, of the 18thcentury is preserved. The generous Francesco Sassi de Lavizzari gifted it to the Town Council in 1930, stating that it was to be used for cultural purposes: it now houses theMuseumofHistoryand Art of Valtellina.
The museum contains an extensive historical and artistic documentation regarding Sondrio and its province.

Among the prehistoric treasures, two north-Etruscan tablets and a Roman

memorial stone are worth mentioning.
You will see an ancient fresco dating back to 1387 representing corporal works of mercy and another fresco painted by renowned local artist Cipriano Valorsa (1515 – 1604). Also Luigi Donati’s “Madonna on throne with the Child and two Saints” (1514) can also be seen.


From Piazza Cavour you can take Via Longoni, once called Malpasso Lane, and reach the little square known as Piazza Dell Angelo Custode (Square of :the Guardian Angel). Around the square there are some historical houses, as Longoni House, with its baroque doorway, Bosatta House and Marlianici House. The square owes its name to the Church of the Guardian Angel, nowadays deconsecrated, which was built on a quarrel rock

between 1568 and 1600 on behalf of the nobleman Francesco Carbonera and of some local noble families. The church is very simple and it has only one nave. The bell tower was built later, in 1673, resting partly on the Church and partly on the rock. On the

right side of the church you can see a new building which has recently replaced an older dwelling, from which inside you could get inside the church and attend the Mass from a wooden balustrade. This place was once called crap rock and a small castle stood there It was considered a meeting place of witches with the devil From this very place many streets depart San Siro Lane leads to Masegra Castle if you instead go on

along via Lavizzari you will reach Piazzetta Quadrivio Along this street once one of the most important streets in Sondrio you can notice some historical dwellings like

Carbonera House with its baroque portal containing also an ancient tower and a beautiful little courtyard surrounded by a wrought iron gate (18th century) In its inside you can admire a splendid helicoidal staircase completed by wrought iron bamsters

The graceful and harmonious entrance of Maffei House is also worth visiting


THE QUARTIER CANTONE AND THE BAIACCA

From Piazza Garibaldi you can cross The Mallero bridge and reach to Piazzetta Carbonera where you will notice Carbonera House dating backto 1500 with its three arched portico renaissance columns and its elegant arcade From Piazzetta Carbonera you can take Via Romegialli which opens into the old Quartier Cantone partly following the ancient road Valeriana (Valley Road ) leading to an old bridge on the

river Mallero demolished in 1843 and rebuilt many years later Along this

street there are several old buildings which are worth seeing like Romegialli House or Sertoli Raina House the latter where the philologist Raina (1847 1930) was born

At nr 12 of via Romegialli you will notice above the doorway a fresco damaged by the weather it is the Virgin’s Coronation by Pietro Ligari. Via Beccaria opens on the left to Via Baiacca. Each part of Sondrio had once its traditional celebration Via Baiacca used to celebrate the Virgin of the Rosary in the first Sunday of October a propitious feast

for the grape harvest which was also called Frogs Feast because they used to cook traditional pancakes shaped like frogs. On this occasion houses were decorated with handmade carpets and lighted by small lights You can now cross the Mallero bridge and turn left under a sheer rock face into the narrow Via Fracaiolo known as Museum Street where time seems to have stopped you can still see the old washhouse and the old wheels which driven by the waters of The Malleretto ie a canal coming from

The Mallero produced hydraulic energy used by the medieval craft iron work

 

MASEGRACASTLE

Situated at the top of a high sheer rockMasegraCastledominates the town.
You can reach it from Piazza Cavour (the old square) going up the suggestive Ligari Climb or from Piazzetta Quadrivio going up Via Scarpatettl which runs into the Ligari

Climb thus changing its name in Via Capitani di Masegra.
If you want to go by car you must take the road to Ponchiera.
The castle is the only survivor among a triad of medieval castles which once encircled Sondrio. According to the tradition it was built in 1041 by Alberto de Capitanei who

received thelandofSondrioand Berbenno as a feud after having won a tourney A 16th century chronicle says that the Capitanei family descended from the hero Roland whose

chessboard and horn were owned by Alberto who used to gather the inhabitants of Sondrio by blowing in this horn. The castle was part of a wider system ofGuelphdefensive works which reached from Berbenno to Tirano controlled by the Capitanei

family who sided with the Pope and with the Bishop of Como against Henry IV in the Investiture conflict and against the Ghibelhnes of Como Masegra Castle was also the chief support of military control and a central meeting point for the trade towards

the centralRhaetian Alps. It was destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions, in 1309, 1370 and 1418. In 1436 the ownership went to the Beccaria family and later, after The Valtellina had gone under the rule of the Three Leagues, to the powerful Grison Salis

family. In recent times, after the unity ofItaly, the castle has been used as barracks and military district.

The castle has a trapezoidal plan and it is composed by a group of buildings which outline the major side facing the town and the southern and western side facing Montagna, while the northern side is constituted by the walls, at whose extremities there are two towers.

 

VILLA QUADRIO AND ST. ROCH

Villa Quadrio is the seat of the Central Library, founded in 1802 and entitled to the philologist Pio Raina (1847-1930). The library contains about 60,000 volumes, including many manuscripts, documents, parchments, prints and geographical maps. The most important section of the library contains the publications regarding The Valtellina and Valchiavenna. This building was gifted to the Town Council by the violinist Teresina Tua after Quadrio’s death. The general structure of the villa clearly reminds us of Renaissance style, showing however some Art-Nouveau influence, for instance in the floral decoration of the doorway. It was built between 1913 and 1914 by the Milanese architect Adolfo Zacchi, who probably drew inspiration .from the

FarnesinaPalaceinRome, on behalf of Emilio Quadrio,Teresina’s husband. In the concert hall, a Q and a T over-lapped form a decorative pattern.

From Villa Quadrio you can walk along via Don Bosco and reach small square where you can see (next to theChurchofSt. Roch) the Salesian Institute.
TheChurchofSt. Roch, preceded by a portico, was built in 1513 in gratitude for having avoided the Plague. In 1630, after the Lansquenets’ passing, it was used as a

Lazaret (a hospital treating contagious diseases). In the second half of the 18thcentury it became seat of theArcadianAcademyof the Silents, a group of men of letters and culture, who observed absolute silence, interrupting it only in order to read their works of poetry.

The inside of the church has only one nave with a wooden paneled ceiling. The presbytery has a semi-circular apse. In the high altar there is a painting representing “The Virgin sitting with the Child. St. Roch and St. Sebastian” by Valorsa (1594).

 

THE WALK TO THE SASSELLA

'The walk to the Sassella used to be the Sundays typical walk of the Sondriese people.

The Sanctuary lies in fact in the middle of the vineyards, the grapes of which are used in the production of the famous local wine Sassella. This walk was once marked by some wayside chapels of which only two are left. The starts off from Via Bassi, on the left of Via De Simoni (the first chapel is locate dhere) and continues on along Via Quadrio until it crosses Via Bernina, i.e. the road leading to Valmalencot.
Once past Via Bernina you will walk along a road following the foot of the mountain, on the ancient Via Valeriana, the historical road carved in the rock, which was once walked down by emperors, kings, bishops coming here to bring war, peace, conciliation.
Once you reach the local sports ground, you will go up the road leading to Triasso and after the first turn you will take a mule-track through the vineyards until you get to

a little valley where you will find the 2nd chapel, restored in 1980. Inside the chapel you will find twelve 18thcentury statues representing the Twelve Apostles and one representing the Blessed Virgin, made by G. B. Zotti.
Walking on the track you will get to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin, also namedChurchofMadonnaof Sassella dating back to 15th century.
It was enlarged between 1682 and 1685 with a portico and a bell tower. In a lunette over the portal there is a beautiful marble crib probably carved by the Rodari brothers

Inside the church there are some remarkable 16th century frescoes in the presbytery made by De Passeris and a canvas by De Barberis representing The Sheperds Adoration

Outside the square with the arcades in front of the church was begun in 1600 but has never been finished.

 

SONDRIO’S OUTSKIRTS:

 

S ANNA MOSSINI TRIANGIA, LIGARE


Starting from Piazza Garibaldi after having crossed the bridge over The Mallero you go along Via De Simoni andMilano Avenueuntil the traffic lights. You turn right into Via Bernina and you take the road leading to Chiesa Valmalenco. After some turns you will reach St Bartholomew’s Church It was built in 1413 at the expenses of Mossini s inhabitants It’s inside is bare and plain but it is a unique view point over Sondrio and its

Outskirts. On the left you will find the imposing St Lawrence s Convent previously a military and then a religious building it was a castle dedicated to the saints George and Lawrence built by the Capitaneis. In ancient times the access to Valmalenco and therefore to the Maloja Pass (Passo del Maloja)through the Muretto Pass was kept under control from this castle and from Masegra Castle which is standing on the
opposite side In 1100 the Capitaneis took up their residence at Masegra Castle

and gave St George s Castle to their family’s abbess who transformed it into a Benedectine convent consecrating it to St Lawrence It now belongs to the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Inside its church, you can admire some 18thcentury frescoes Going up a street on the left you will reach thevillageofSt Anna, whose church of the 18th

century contains a canvas made by Pietro Ligari The Virgins Crowning Going back to the mane road and turning left you will reach the village of Mossini the ancient original core of Sondrio where the church of St Charles Borromeo surely deserves a visit It was built in 1576 by the local Protestant community but it became later a Catholic church It was enlarged in the last decades of the 19th century and restored during the postwar period. The baroque portal originally belonged to an old demolished church which stood in Piazza Campello Going back to the main road leading to Valmalenco opposite the fountain you must take the Via Valeriana which runs through beautiful chestnut woods reaching thus Triangia after having passed the hamlets Moroni and Pratella Triangia owns some original and traditional taverns in which you can have a taste

of country cheese and salami and where you can enjoy a good local wine Triangias church is dedicated to St Bernard. The small lake in the immediate outskirts is the ideal place for a short walk From Triangia the road rapidly rises and after some turns you

will get to the hamlet of Ligari where you can visit the 18th century oratory.

 

PONCHIERA AND ARQUINO

 

Starting from Piazza Garibaldi you have to turn right before crossing the bridge.
On the left you will notice the so called Cassandre (the gorges of the river Mallero) Continuing uphill you will see on the right the Psychiatric Hospital After some turns

you will get to the village of Ponchiera and further north Arquino you are now at the mouth of Valmalenco Arquino has got a little 18th century church recently redecorated whose Bernard. The little lake in the original baroque portal has been preserved. Continuing the route, you will notice a lot of human settlements like Capare, Soi, Alerta. If you visit these rustic hamlets, you will be surprised by the typical arches, stairs and lanes among the dwellings: it seems to be another world, in which country people, silent and slow, attend to their daily work. Going back to Ponchiera you will get to the hamlet Bordoni. A Left turn takes you uphill to Pozzoni and Scherini, where you can visit the Church ofSt. Andrew Avellino, now days deconsecrated. The facade of the church is made of joint stones, a typical feature of mountain architecture.

Over' the portal there is a coat of arms representing a white tower with a flag

having a star on both sides on a blue backgroung and a latin inscription

“presbiter joan Andreas Cincera aedificavit ecclesiam”. The church belon-

ged to the Theatine Fathers. The Theatine St. AndrewAvellino(1521-`

1608) was one ofthe leaders of the Italian Reformation. A canvas`niade by

Cesare Ligari, representing St. Andrew’s death, is now kept in theCivic Museum in Sondrio. On the way back to Sondrio, the Church of the Holy Trinity, situated in the hamlet of Bettini, shows a beautiful portal decorated with rosettes and bearing the

date 1594. Recently restored, the church shows inside some wooden 18th century statues and some pieces of 17th century sacred furniture. The vineyard culture

The vineyard is deeply rooted into the traditional country culture of Valtellina.
Its perfect architecture is attained through the very patient work ofthe farmers which goes on all year long, from the grape harvest, which takes place in autumn, to the

preparation works for the next harvest, which take the whole year Since ancient times moon have influenced country work and particularly vine growing. “Wine can be plan-

ted only from the third or fourth day with moon to the tenth... ” wrote Pietro Ligari in the 18th century. The grape harvest is still a lively and exclting event of great social importance. “Grape harvest days are festival days ” tells an old saying. Ader so much hard and lonely work the grape harvest is a choral event which involves the whole

community. It used to have also a symbolic meaning being wine symbol

of blood and therefore of life. This symbolic dimension is nowadays

fading, it still survives however in the religious celebrations which take

place in autumn concerning the Wrgin, whose cult is partly connected

with vine.

Itineraries in the outskirts of Sondrio Starting out from Sondrio, you can

take interesting and pleasant walks and make wonderful excursions by

bike during which you will be immersed in the natural environment:

vineyards, meadows, woods.

 

WALKS AND EXCURSIONS

            

 

An interesting walk through old mule tracks to a delightful village, from

which you can enjoy a spectacular view over the middle of the valley, the

mountLegnone, the Orobic Alps and the Adamello tops covered with snow.

Starting out from the railway station, you walk along via V Veneto, soon

reaching Piazza Garibaldi. From Piazza Garibaldi you take the pede-

strian via Dante until you get to the old square Piazza Cavour; you cross

the Mallero through the iron bridge and you take the old mule track, via

Baiacca, leading to thevillageofSt.Anna. The track winds uphill tou-

ching St. Lawrence’s monastery and the hamlets Colombera,Moroniand

Pradella. Turning left, a wide path will take you to Triangia (800 m). You can

come back to Sondrio making a change turning right at the fountain

and taking a path which will take you to the hamlet Gualzi and then going

down some stairs and paths among vineyards until you get into Via Bernina.   

  

  

  

Carnale can be reached in a few minutes’ drive from Sondrio, taking the

scenic road to Montagna. This is an interesting walk which will lead you

through old paths immersed in meadows and woods to an abandoned

mountain pasture, where prehistorical graffitis carved on rocks can still

be admired. After having parked your car at Carnale, you take a cartroad

immersed in woods and pastures. The splendid Val di Togno opens in front

of you. Following the roadsigns youturn left taking a path leading to the

refuge Val di Togno (1317 m). You can now follow some red circular roadsi-

gns which will take you to a creek, you cross the creek and turn right

twice, following now the yellow roadsigns, reaching in this way the Alpe

Costa (1668 m) and some time later the Alpe Grum (1828), an abandoned

mountain pasture, where prehistoric men left some traces of their past

life consisting in anthropomorphical and ritual figures carved in stone.

 

Sondrio’s outskirts offer a wide choice of spectacular routes for mountain

bike lovers. Several routes have been re-arranged and have been endowed

with route signs.

 

 

This route requires phisical and technical engagement, but it presents a

great natural interest for the beauty of the landscape. You must take the

road to Valmalenco and follow it up to Triangia (7,6 km). Continue going

uphill and you will reach the hamlets Ligari, Prati Rolla and Forcola. You

will first reach to a fountain with across (20,2 km) 'and some minutes

later to theLakeofColina(25,8 km).

  

SONDRIO RAILWAY STATION WALK
The route winds up among the sunny vineyards of Grumello. You can enjoy

excellent views over Sondrio and the valley. After having left the railway station you turn towards Bormio and reach the locality Trippi, just outside the town. Here you turn left and take a cobblestone road named “Via Sassina" thus reaching Vlontagna in

Valtellina. On the left-hand side you will see Castel Grumello. After 4,4 km

you turn left and take the cartroad to Ponchiera. Here you can -take the

path of St. Andrew Avellino and Teach Aruino and, continuing uphill, the

hamlet Cagnoletti. Aftersome turnsyou will meet the provincial road lea-

ding to Valmalenco that you will take downhill on your way back to

Sondrio.

 

 

RIVER WALK
This easy route files along the banks of the river Adda. It is suitable for

children and for beginners. Some particularly beautiful views over

Valtellina’s rural landscape and over the Sanctuary of Sassella make it

worth trying. Along the route there are some very well equipped picnic

areas. 

      

   

    

The Livrio valley wedges itself southwards in the Orobic Alps. This

long route crosses theRegionalPark of the Orobie Valtellinesi and it pre

sents some steep climbs which hardly test the biker, and a steep descent

which obliges the biker to walk for about half an hour along a winding

path among woods. On the other side the route offers some magnificient

views over,themountDisgraziaand over the Bernina group.