Sondrio Things to Do
On the road between Sondrio and the village of Montagna in Valtellina is Castel Grumello, also known as Castello de Piro. As you walk or drive from Sondrio city up to Montagna in Valtellina, Castel Grumello will be on your right hand side.
It is free to enter, (but donations are welcomed - to assist in restoration and conservation) and there is also a table and benches to sit at. The view of the whole valley and down to Sondrio City from Castel Grumello is spectacular.
The history of Castel Grumello is interesting.
From this website: http://eng.fondoambiente.it/beni/castel-grumello-fai-properties.asp --
"Castello de Piro - more often referred to as Castel Grumello (from the word “grumo”, meaning “hillock” or “high ground”) due to the rocky elevation on which it is constructed - was erected between the late 13th century and the early 14th by Corrado de Piro, a Ghibelline who moved to Valtellina as a result of the factional battles that pitted Milan against Como, his hometown.
The de Piro family successfully retained their domain until 1372, the year in which the investiture was ceded to Tebaldo Capitanei. After further vicissitudes, which saw it for a time become the residence of the Bishop of Como, the Castle – situated in border country and, therefore, subject to various invasions – met with the same inauspicious fate as many other fortresses in Valtellina, being reduced to rubble by the Grigionis (also known as the Grisons) in 1526."
Almost identical information is on the Official Valtellina Website: http://www.valtellina.it/eng/info/122/de_piro_castle_at_grumello_montagna_valtellina.html
And the Sondrio Valmalenco Tourism office has this email address for requests for information: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a wine, called Grumello, named after the Castel Grumello.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Piazza Garibaldi 19, Sondrio, 23100, Italy
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B&B PERLA is a B&B run by a husband and wife, in their home which is high in the mountains above...more
It takes about 2 hours from Milano Centrale to Sondrio by train. The final destination on the train line is Tirano. There are direct trains every one or two hours, 6:20, 7:20, 8:20, 10:20, 12:20; 13:20; 14:20; 16:20, etc.
There are also options to change trains in Lecco.
It is a beautiful scenic journey, as the train passes the Lakes District as it heads northward, and into the Alps.
The official Italian train website www.trenitalia.com indicates timetables and prices of tickets.
The tickets from Milano Centrale to Sondrio are cheap, under 10 Euros.
There is always a seat available on the trains to Sondrio. It is possible to simply buy the ticket from the machine or ticket office on the day of departure. It is necessary to validate the ticket at the validating machines at the beginning of each platform before boarding the train.
There is room for luggage. It is a pleasant trip.Related to:
Sondrio Off The Beaten Path
Poggiridenti is a small village in the mountains above Sondrio City, in Sondrio Province, Lombardia region. Poggiridenti used to be called Pendolasco until 1929 when the name was changed to Poggiridenti. Borte found this information out when she was researching her family tree. The staff in the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages in the neighbouring village of Montagna in Valtellina advised Borte that her great grandmother Olimpia was married in Montagna in Valtellina in 1900 to Giorgio, a man born in Montagna in Valtellina, but that her great grandmother Olimpia was actually born in neighbouring Poggiridenti, and that Poggiridenti used to be named Pendolasco! In order to get the birth certificate for her great grandmother, Borte would need to contact the Poggiridenti office directly. Sure enough, Poggiridenti's office responded and sent the birth certificates of Borte's great grandmother, and Olimpia's parents - Borte's great great grandparents.
Unfortunately, in Montagna in Valtellina, Poggiridenti and in Tirano (which holds the records for the village of Roncaiola where Borte's grandmother Caterina was born) the records dating before 1866 were destroyed by fire, so it is not possible to get the records from the registries for prior to 1866.
We drove to Poggiridenti as the sun was setting, so the light was not good for photos, but it was interesting and eerie to be there.
Grapes are grown in Poggiridenti and neighbouring Montagna in Valtellina. The mountainside is covered in vineyards. One of the wines produced is called Valtellina Superiore DOCG "Inferno", which means ... inferno, or, hell!
It is made from not less than 95% grapes of the Nebbiolo Chiavennasca variety; the remaining 5% include local varieties such as Pignola, Brugnola and Rossola.
There is a train station - Poggiridenti-Tresivio-Piateda station which is only 5 minutes east of Sondrio train station. Not all trains going between Sondrio and Tirano will stop at the smaller stations such as Poggiridenti-Tresivio-Piateda, so it is necessary to check the timetable to see if the train will be stopping there.
It is a beautiful train journey from Milano Centrale to Sondrio, and onward to Poggiridenti-Tresivio-Piateda and then onward to Tirano, passing Lake Como and passing beautiful villages along the way.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Montagna in Valtellina is a village in the mountains above Sondrio City.
Borte's grandfather was born in Montagna in Valtellina.
Montagna in Valtellina has a beautiful historic town centre with a beautiful old church (San Giovanni), a post office, chemist, cafe, and some other small businesses.
It is possible to drive from Sondrio to Montagna in Valtellina, or catch a "pullman" (bus). But it is more beautiful and enjoyable to walk, and to take in the beautiful views. As you walk from Sondrio to Montagna in Valtellina, you pass Castel Grumello on your right. It is nice to have a look around the ruins of the fortress and then make your way to the old town centre of Montagna in Valtellina.
Grapes are grown in the area, and the names of different wines/vineyards are displayed on the mountainside.
Sondrio City is the capital city of Sondrio Province. And it is part of the Valtellina area. It takes about 2 hours by train from Milano Centrale to Sondrio City. The train journey is beautiful because it passes the Lakes District along the way.
There are many more and tinier villages or hamlets higher up the mountain, after you pass Montagna in Valtellina. It is beautiful to walk up the mountain road, and enjoy the view along the way.
The air is fresh, clean and unpolluted.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
4 Hotels in Sondrio
Favorite thing: The food in Sondrio City and Sondrio Province is rustic and is like good home cooking.
Borte's grandfather, who was born in Montagna in Valtellina, a village in the mountains above Sondrio City used to make home made sausages. He used to obtain the skins and fill them with home-minced pork, pork fat and garlic. The aroma of the sausages was appetising and delicious.
Polenta (a corn based meal) is popular in this Sondrio and Lombardia as a whole.
There is a typical and famous pasta of the Valtellina, of which Sondrio is a part, called pizzoccheri, and it is made of buckwheat flour and white flour combined. Pizzoccheri are flat strips of pasta, and cooked with a cabbage and with diced potatoes, and usually Casera cheese, a cheese of the region. It is a delicious dish.
A recipe for the Pizzoccheri, also referred to as "Pizzoccheri della Valtellina":
"Pizzocccheri della Valtellina" Recipe
16 oz pizzoccheri - buckwheat pasta
3-4 medium waxy potatoes sliced into thin half moons or, use new or red potatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium head Savoy cabbage (curly cabbage), chopped
4 oz Bitto (cheese from Valtellina) or Casera (also from Valtellina) or Fontina or Emmental
1 stick of butter
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced fine
2-3 leaves fresh sage
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Grana Padano or Parmiggiano Regiano (cheese), to serve.
Cook the potatoes, onion and cabbage in a big pot of salted boiling water for about 5 minutes. Add in the Pizzoccheri and cook until potatoes are just cooked through and pasta is al dente, about 10 more minutes. If you are substituting a different type of pasta for the pizzoccheri, you may need to adjust your cooking times. Just remember that everything needs to finish cooking at more or less the same time.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another, smaller pan. Add the garlic and saute briefly, then add the sage leaves. Reduce the heat to low.
When the pasta and vegetables are done, drain well and toss while still hot with the cheese in whatever dish you plan to serve the Pizzoccheri della Valtellina. Pour the butter over the top, add a few gratings of nutmeg, if using nutmeg. Toss again to make sure everything is well incorporated. Season to taste.
Serves 6-8.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Favorite thing: When Borte was researching the Italian side of her family tree, and wanting to collect the birth certificate of her grandfather who was born in Montagna in Valtellina, she at first thought that she would need to go to the Stato Civile in Sondrio City, as she did not expect Montagna in Valtellina to have its own office.
So upon arrival at Sondrio, Borte went to the Tourist Information Centre, and was provided a map, and given directions of how to get to the office, in Sondrio City.
Borte hot-footed it to that office, blurted out her spiel, in Italian, about wanting to obtain her grandfather's birth certificate, only to be told that the Sondrio Office does not hold certificates for Montagna in Valtellina, because Montagna in Valtellina has its own records office!
So, off she went, up the mountain road, to Montagna in Valtellina, only to discover that the office in the historic town centre, was closed for lunch.
She decided to look around the village centre, and wait for the office to open.
Several years later, back in Australia, Borte made some online research to obtain some other relatives' certificates. She looked online to see if she could find a website and email address for the "Comune" and the office which issues the Birth Certificates.
The website for the "comune" of Montagna in Valtellina is http://www.comune.montagnainvaltellina.so.it/hh/index.php
After finding an email address, Borte sent an email, in Italian, giving names and dates of births of relatives. For some, as she went back in generation, she did not even have a name or a date of birth.
Much to her amazement, in the post, all the way from the village came some printed certificates with information of relatives born in the village, dates of birth, and names of parents. From those details, the office staff helped Borte to trace back the next generation.
They could not go back before 1866, advising that there had been a fire which destroyed all the records before that date.
They also supplied her with the email address of the parish priest (the church where her relatives was baptised is opposite the office) because the priest would have baptism records, and may be able to fill in some "gaps" in information.
The parish priest posted Borte a collection of Baptism certificates or records, and those indicated that most of the babies were baptised within days of birth.
The office also advised Borte that her great grandmother was married in the village in 1900 to a man from that village, but she was not born there, but born in a village Borte had not heard of, a neighbouring village called Poggiridenti, and so Borte would need to contact that office to obtain her great grandmother's certificate. Borte did so, and that office also sent her the certificate and some other information she did not have or know.
And this was all done by these offices for free. Borte asked them to please advise the costs of the certificates? They did not charge any fees for the documents and information they sent.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Grapes are grown on the steep slopes of the mountains surrounding the valley of Sondrio city, in the villages of Montagna in Valtellina and Poggiridenti, and all the way to Tirano. Wines are produced in the area.
Every year in the Valtellina area there is an annual Apple and Grape festival to celebrate the harvest of these two fruits. For more information on this, see our Tirano Things To Do Tips.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
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