Loved for its landscape, the summits and the skiing: the valley of Valmalenco juts off from the region’s capital Sondrio and is home to the towns of Chiesa in Valmalenco, Caspoggio, Lanzada, Torre Santa Maria and Spriana.


First you notice the gradient, then the hairpins, then the view, which opens up to reveal a magical, majestic landscape with Disgrazia, Bernina and Scalino dominating the skyline. Valmalenco’s crown jewel is its skiing, which centres around Alpe Palù, served by Europe’s biggest cable car. There’s vast skiable terrain at the top, with pistes for Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding that cater for all skill levels, plus enough great snow to satisfy avid snowshoers, ski-tourers and ski mountaineers as well.

The lure of the high peaks does not wear off as the snow melts. Take some deep breaths and go high to discover trekking and climbing routes that have secured themselves in the annals of mountaineering history: Piz Bernina, Monte Disgrazia, Pizzo Scalino, the Scerscen glacier. 

Hikers can stretch their legs across Valmalenco’s huge network of trails that link Alpine lakes such as Palù or Mufulè with the many mountain huts and refuges, where you can catch your breath, filling your lungs with fresh mountain air as you admire the view. At 3,600 m.s.l, the Marco and Rosa hut is the highest refuge in all of Lombardy and considered the starting point for the summit of Piz Bernina. At 110 km split over 8 stages, the Alta Via della Valmalenco is a popular route, as is the Sentiero Rusca, an age-old pilgrim way that traces a route up the valley from Sondrio before going over the Passo Muretto into Switzerland.

Mountain bikers will find plenty of stoke all over the valley, but Palù Bike Park is a go-to ride destination with all the right ingredients. Climbers looking for thrills should check out Gola Up as an exhilarating way to explore the gorges of the River Scerscen.


You can’t leave Lanzada without a visit to the historic Miniera della Bagnada, a fascinating relic of the region’s rich mining history. Carved into the mountainside, these former mines host live concerts each summer.

Take a walk in Chiesa in Valmalenco to admire the artworks by Ligari in the Church of Santi Giacomo and Filippo, and up to Primolo to see the 17th-century Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie. Just outside of the village, the serpentine quarries are a remarkable site. Considered Valmalenco’s version of gold, this distinctive material has travelled the world, but is most notably used for the area’s typical stone pans known as lavecc. For other unique artisan wares, look for a pair of Pedü, the traditional footwear of choice for residents of this valley crafted with natural, hard-wearing materials.

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