In the province of Sondrio , in the northern part of Lombardy is Chiavenna, a very pretty town in Valtellina , still little known despite everything it offers to tourists. Interesting to visit both in summer and in winter, even here every season offers some nice surprises. Full of interesting attractions to discover, from the mountains to the villages , without forgetting the waterfalls, this city offers curious ideas and moments of total relaxation thanks to its position surrounded by nature. Perfect for passionate skierswho here can descend on the slopes of the Valchiavenna, Madesimo and Campodolcino ski area, from November to spring, for both alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. Important opportunities also for culture lovers , considering that Chiavenna is truly an open-air museum . Among the numerous possibilities, here is what to see in Chiavenna and its surroundings because even the neighboring areas have something to tell.
1 – The historic center and the crotti
The historic center of Chiavenna is full of medieval buildings, beautiful stone fountains, suggestive churches. Some of its structures have remained intact since 1500. The serene coexistence between the ancient stone buildings and the more modern ones is curious, which in any case are very few compared to the “historical” part. Among the most interesting and famous buildings there is certainly the collegiate church of San Lorenzo , majestic and dating back to the 12th century, of which the Renaissance portico, the baptismal font and the bell tower rebuilt in 1600 are remembered . Treasure that deserves to be visited carefully and without haste. The crotti are natural ravines among the boulders where in Chiavenna characteristic places have been created where you can eat traditional dishes.
- How to get: by train from Milan or Sondrio which are the main hubs to reach the area. From there on foot you can reach the historic center through Viale Matteotti.
- Timetables: /
- Costs : /
2 – Paradise botanical archaeological park
The Paradiso botanical archaeological park consists of two hills: Paradiso and Castellaccio which are located in a magnificent position offering a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding area. They are divided by the caurga and connected by a footbridge and paths. To visit absolutely for its smooth, rounded rocks, for the numerous botanical varieties of flowers and plants, for its archaeological remains and the ruins of the old walls and the fortress. It is also possible to visit it by reservation . Dogs are allowed as long as they have a leash.
- How to get: on foot from the historic center along piazza Castello towards via Quadrio where the entrance is at the ” Ca Rossa “. Through the steps you arrive at the ticket office.
- Timetables: Tuesday to Saturday from 14:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00 (winter time), from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00 (summer time).
- Costs : full € 3.00, reduced € 1.50 (students, over 60s, school groups).
3 – Museum of the Treasury
In the collegiate church of San Lorenzo, the Museo del Tesoro is a complex probably dating back to the 5th century. The main piece it houses is the peace of Chiavenna , covered with an 11th century evangelary in embossed gold, pearls, gems and enamels of medieval origin which still today represents an example of a goldsmith’s artifact of rare beauty. It is called peace because it was used as a liturgical object during mass. Many studies have been carried out on its precise origin, but nothing certain has yet been discovered.
- How to get: you can easily reach it on foot considering that it is located in the historic center. If we arrive from the station, just take viale Matteotti to piazza Don Pietro Bormetti.
- Timetables: every day from 15:00 to 18:00, on Saturdays from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00. Closed on Mondays.
- Costs : € 3.00 full, € 1.50 reduced
4 – Park of the Marmitte dei Giganti
Just outside Chiavenna, at the entrance to Val Bregaglia , the Marmitte dei Giganti Park includes the homonymous nature reserve dating back to 1983. Inside, the signs and paths lead to the various attractions to discover such as glacial phenomena and the giant pots ( deep well-shaped depressions in the rocks due to river erosion), the rock carvings, the extraction of ollàre stone and Gigart , the manifestation of permanent art with works almost entirely made with natural materials such as stones, trunks, branches, leaves . It will remain exposed until the natural deterioration of the works. The visit of the park takes more than an hour.
- How to get: on foot along via Poiatengo along the river. By bus number 4 (from the train station) which with 5 stops takes us to Prosto di Piuro and from there on foot for 500 meters.
- Timetables: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 20:00. Closed on Sunday.
- Costs : free admission
5 – Historic Fire Brigade Gallery
The museum holds historical statistical artifacts and motor vehicles from all over the nation. The historical gallery of the Fire Brigade was built in 2001 so as not to lose all the artifacts collected in 1991 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the national fire brigade. All the material tells the story of the body from the 19th century to the present day. First organized in the basement rooms of the Mese detachment, since 2006 the Municipality has made available what was the old headquarters of the Mechanical Professional Institute, where it is still located, of 600 square meters covered, precisely three sheds and other appurtenances. If you happen to be in Chiavenna it is advisable to make at least a jump.
- How to get: from the station you can walk along viale Matteotti up to via canonico Francesco Novi.
- Timetables: every Saturday from 15:00 to 18:00. Closed in August.
- Costs : free admission
6 – Acquafraggia waterfalls, Piuro
In the surroundings of Chiavenna, the valley of the Mera which goes up the Bregaglia up to Stato and beyond is also worthy of attention . In Piuro there are the Acquafraggia waterfalls, imposing and easily visible from afar. An example of a U-shaped glacial excavation, they undoubtedly represent one of the most evocative spectacles of the Val Bregaglia . The name derives from fracta water , that is a stream continuously interrupted by waterfalls . They constitute an imposing natural complex.
- How to get: by car proceeding north-east towards the road to Loreto, from here take the SS37 and follow the signs for Piuro which are clearly visible. By bus with number 4, starting from the Chiavenna Quadrio stop to Borgonuovo. From here you can reach your destination on foot in less than 5 minutes (about 250 meters).
- Timetables: always open
- Costs : free
7 – Palazzo Vertemate Franchi, Piuro
Also in Piuro is the prestigious and elegant Palazzo Vertemate Franchi dating back to the sixteenth century. What is striking is the difference between the magnificence of the interiors with the rich furnishings and the deeply sober exterior. The walls and vaulted ceilings are painted in fresco. The palace was built by the two brothers of the family, who were traders, in the second half of the 16th century to be used as a second home.
- How to get: drive along the SS37 del Maloja, once you get to Prosto di Piuro, follow the clearly visible signs in the direction of the Palazzo.
- Timetables: from 24 March to 4 November every day from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 17:30. Closed on Wednesdays except holidays. In August it is open every day at the same times.
- Costs : full € 7.00, reduced € 5.00 (students, over 60s, school groups, Fai and Tci groups)
Valchiavenna in Winter
In winter, Valchiavenna is very active. Surely in addition to skiing (alpine and cross-country skiing) from November to late spring on 60 kilometers of slopes in the Valchiavenna, Madesimo and Campodolcino skiarea there are also numerous possibilities to engage in other winter sports such as ice skating on the center track. polisportivo, a few steps from the center where you can also indulge in swimming either alone or following courses. Any sport can be practiced by adults and children. Do not miss the trekking in Valchiavenna , in particular thanks to the chestnut pathring route of easy walking through nature and the most representative product of the area, that is the chestnut. Even if it is not purely winter, there is a culinary appointment not to be missed in Chiavenna, the festival of crotti . Every year at the beginning of September it opens onto the scenery of the city and you can choose whether to follow programmed tasting itineraries (reservation required) or dedicate yourself to visiting the crotti and tasting independently.
Where to eat in Chiavenna
Chiavenna is famous at the table for being the homeland of Bresaola , also called Brisaola della Valchiavenna . Salami that has made the history of the place like its dairy cheeses , so called because they are produced in the lower valley dairy where the milk is collected and processed to obtain high quality cheeses. The pizzoccheri , the tagliatelle prepared with both the white flour with that of buckwheat, they are one of the most famous specialties of this area which tradzionali the formula it should be seasoned with butter, chard, Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of pepper.
Here is a list of places and restaurants where to eat in Chiavenna