Sondrio (307 m a.s.l.) is the capital city of the province and lies on the valley bottom, at the right centre of Valtellina. Raise your eyes on the Rhaetian hill slope, towards the Grumello and the Sassella, and enjoy the one-of-a-kind spectacular view traced by the terraced vineyards. The noble vine variety “Nebbiolo of the Alps” is cultivated here to produce the excellent Docg, Doc and Igt wines. Sondrio is a Longobard town, its oldest name was Sundrium, which means “a land kept and cultivated directly by the owner”. It firstly belonged to the town of Como, but in 1040 Henry III of Franconia gave the parish church of Sondrio to the family of the Capitanei, which erected the Castle of S. Giorgio (the today monastery of S. Lorenzo) and the Castel of Masegra that nowa days hosts the headquarters of Lombardy Alpine Guides. Take your time to visit “Scarpatetti”, the oldest part of the city, the collegiate church of the Saints Gervasio and Protasio (XVIII c. but founded in the Fourteenth Century), the church of S. Rocco (XVI c.), the Palazzo Pretorio (XVI c.), the Carbonera house (XV-XVI c.), the Palazzo Sassi De Lavizzari (XVII c. – seat of the Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte), the Palazzo Sertoli (XVIII c.), the Palazzo Carbonera (XVII c.), the Palazzo of the Province (1932/35) by G. Muzio with the encaustic paintings by Gianfilippo Usellini and the fifteenth-century Sanctuary of the Madonna della Sassella. Sondrio was elected City of the Alps and has been declared a “City of Wine”:  do not miss the events "Calici di Stelle" (Stem Glasses of Stars) on San Lorenzo’s night (11th August) and “Sondrio Festival” in October, the annual international documentary-film exhibition on natural parks. Last but not least many routes and trails start from Sondrio, such as the Sentiero Valtellina and the enchanting  Via dei Terrazzamenti, all to be covered by bike to the discovery of the valley bottom and the halfway mountain slope. The Valtellina Rent-a-Bike service is always at your disposal too.  

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