Exploring the region in search of artistic and cultural treasures with unparalleled beauty
There’s a reason that Tirano is known for its picture-book blend of history and culture: a mix that reflects the nature of this incomparable area, where there are ancient roots and traditions to discover and distinguished, beautifully preserved palazzi and open-air museums to admire.
No journey of discovery through Valtellina could begin anywhere but Tirano, the gem of the valley, and departure station for the UNESCO-protected red Rhaetian Railway, or Bernina Express. Wander through Tirano’s history-stitched streets dotted with castles, churches and captivating palazzi that resonate with ancient, well-preserved charm before heading out to explore the beauty of the surrounding landscape with its vineyards, apple orchards and forests.
If you’re seeking an intoxicating trip back in time to discover the region’s artistic heritage, set off from the heart of Tirano’s lively old town to see the Sanctuary of the Madonna, widely considered to be Valtellina’s most important historic building, the 16th century Palazzo Salis, now a museum, with its spectacular frescoes and beautiful Italian-style garden. Up the valley stands Grosio, where ancient inhabitants left even more visible marks – more than 5,000 petroglyphs carved into rocks at the Parco delle Incisioni Rupestri, with the oldest dating back to the end of the Neolithic era. No trip to Media Valtellina would be complete without admiring the most important Renaissance palazzo in Northern Italy: The Palazzo Besta in Teglio, with its stunning courtyard with double loggias and lavish frescoes depicting scenes from the Aeneid – the purest expression of the Renaissance.
Looking for the most authentic sites? Easy: follow the Sentiero dei Castelli, a roughly 30km traffic-free path immersed in vineyards and orchards that weaves through a tapestry of beautiful buildings, including churches, castles, towers and archaeological remains that serve as a reference point for Valtellina’s ethnographic history.