Take time out to meditate on devotional routes and in holy places
Inaugurated in March 2019, the 160-km Cammino Mariano route is divided into eight stages and covers the Marian shrines in the province of Sondrio, culminating at the Sanctuary of the Madonna – Tirano, the most illustrious religious monument in Valtellina. The route includes two itineraries to the Basilica in Tirano, the first from Piantedo, called the Via Occidentale, or Western Route, and the second from Bormio, called the Via Orientale, or Eastern Route. Enthusiasts who walk the Cammino Mariano route can not only visit shrines and learn about the Marian cult in Valtellina, but also enjoy the beautiful countryside and explore the region’s rich historical and cultural heritage.
Of the many
devotional itineraries available to seekers of silence and contemplation in
Valtellina, the Cammino della Rosa Rampicante, a prolongation of the Cammino di
Sant’Agostino, which spans fifty Marian shrines in seven Lombardian provinces,
is well worth exploring. Dedicated to Federica Penna, the 380-km Cammino della
Rosa Rampicante, starts in Lecco on Lake Como, and runs along the Adda River
and all the way into Upper Valtellina. From Pavia to Milano, Lecco, Sondrio,
Tirano and Bormio, there are 31 shrines, 11 of which are in Valtellina. These
oases of beauty are veritable gems that enrich either villages and townships
abounding with history and culture or the natural verdant environment, and can
be accessed from the Sentiero Valtellina and Via dei Terrazzamenti. The Cammino
della Rosa Rampicante offers not only devotional experiences, but also insights
into mountain life, Leonardo da Vinci, water and its relationship with
humankind, Romanesque architecture, and the Delizia villas.
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Sentiero Rusca is accessible on foot or by bike, connecting Sondrio with the Muretto Pass in Valmalenco and is dedicated to Blessed Nicolò Rusca, Archpriest of Sondrio. In Valchiavenna a 120-km, 7-stage route has been dedicated to Saint Luigi Guanella, who was born in the village of Fraciscio in Campodolcino and proclaimed a saint in 2011. The Sentiero del beato Pier Giorgio Frassati winds its way over the mountains between Corteno Golgi (BS) and Aprica (SO), offering magnificent views of some of the most impressive peaks in Lombardia, from the Valtellinese slopes of the Southern Rhaetian Alps to the Adamello chain.
There are also plenty of short walks that include churches and religious buildings and that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and levels of fitness, such as the the four churches walk in Bormio, or those around Morbegno.
The churches of Valtellina are numerous and old. They form part of the landscape like the vineyards, streams and mountains. Beginning with the Renaissance Basilica of the Madonna in Tirano built in the sixteenth century on the site where the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mario Omodei of Tirano. In Chiavenna do not miss to visit the Collegiate church of San Lorenzo with its slender columns in the portico and the baptisimal font from 1156 while in Morbegno there is the beautiful Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Assumption.
And then the isolated church of San Fedelino on the Lake of Mezzola, the Sanctuary of Tresivio while, not far from Sondrio, there is the Sanctuary of the Our Lady of Sassella, built in the fifteenth century and located on a rocj outcrop overlooking the terraced vineyards of the eponymous Valtellina Superiore DOCG wines.