Discover the custodians of tradition
Being on the border between Italy and Central Europe, Valtellina
has always played a strategic role in international politics, hence the
abundance of castles and fortresses in the region.
In Montagna in Valtellina, which enjoys panoramic views over the city of Sondrio, is the magnificent FAI heritage Castel Grumello which sits among the terraced vineyards on the northern slopes of the valley. The provincial capital Sondrio is home to Castel Masegra, just a pleasant stroll up from the centre of town. It is one of the few castles to have survived the dismantling of Valtellina’s fortifications by the Grisons in the 1600s.
The castles of Grosio in the Parco delle Incisioni Rupestri (Park of Prehistoric Art) are also well worth visiting, as are those of Pedenale and Bellaguarda near Tirano.
A great way to
get to know the castles of Valtellina is via the walking trails and/or hiking
In the Tirano area is the Castles Circuit, which runs through eight towns and villages and takes in the castles, towers and churches that have played an important role in the history of Valtellina. The 30-km Sentiero dei Castelli winds its way along the lower slopes of the valley, passing through apple orchards and vineyards, chestnut groves and terraces.
Another interesting hiking itinerary is the Circuito dei Castelli Grumello e Mancapane in the Sondrio area, which features two impressive medieval castles.
Valtellina abounds with lookout towers, which, like its castles, played an important part in the region’s history. A must-see is the "Deli Beli Miri" tower, which dominates the valley from Teglio and, like the Segname tower in Valchiavenna, is still intact. In Valdidentro, the Towers of Fraele were built during the Middle Ages and over the centuries have played a major strategic role, while in Montagna in Valtellina, near Sondrio, is the Tower of Mancapane, which is around 21 m tall.