Media Valtellina

Sondrio | Road 50 km | The definitive Valtellina road ride – vineyards, orchards, tiny roads.

In winter it’s hard to know which roads are still passable by bike – is that stretch of tarmac getting any sunshine at all? A safe bet is to keep high on the south-facing slopes. That’s exactly what this sublime route does. A breath-taking excursion into Valtellina’s wine territory. We think it is unrivalled!

You’ll head eastwards up the valley along the main road for a short stretch – it’s very quiet though. After a few minutes of pedalling you’ll find yourself on back roads that careen along the bottom of the valley, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the orchards to Chiuro. Once you reach Chiuro, there’s the beautiful Castionetto climb that takes you up to the Panoramica. That road, the Via Panoramica, is something else entirely. Unbeatable views, fairly quiet on the traffic front, it’s a real pleasure to cruise along. This route doesn’t follow it for long though; you’ll be spewed out onto back roads that bypass the bigger villages and go all-in for authenticity. Expect little archways, ancient buildings and a whole lot of character through the vineyards.

This route starts and finishes at Sondrio train station, which even in the winter should get a fair amount of sun.


Have a good one!

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Ponte in Valtellina | Run 13km | Rifugio ramble up high

This route is very close to hearts of runners from Lombardy as the rifugio ADM (Amici delle Montagne) used to be the summer training base for many of the region's top runners. They'd train twice a day, chop wood and clear trails. Pretty idyllic way to spend your summer and very different from pounding the track at St Moritz, where the mountains just make a nice backdrop. Here, the mountains are truly 'lived'.

 

Great route, it goes high, breaks the treeline and offers beautiful views. 

Not really doable in winter. Unless it's one of those winters with very little snow. 

Buglio | Gravel 26km | Lost lanes and adventurous climbs

A solid route of tiny tracks, disused and half-finished gravel roads, some cute villages and views galore. Starting and finishing at Sesterzio. 

Year-round but watch out for the descent down from the reservoir at Lotto as shady tree-covered corners could be a bit icy in winter. 

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Campo Moro | Run 20km | Digging the diga

A bit techy and arguably at altitude so you really want to pick your day to do this route. It's one of the blow-your-mind loops with beautiful trails, boulders, ridges and the crystal clear water of the reservoir, hence the name 'diga' which is Italian for dam. 

A choice of rifugios up here for a post-run cake and cola.

Summer only. Works in both directions. 

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Sondrio/Valmalenco | MTB / Gravel 54km | Vert metres for Valmalenco

Riding out of Sondrio on the Sentiero Rusca isn't the most inspiration start to a mountain bike ride so some might argue that you don't really need a mtb for this route. However, there are trail diversions galore once you've got those vertical metres in your legs in Valmalenco. 

Summer and early autumn only. 

Chiuro | Road 58km | A for adventure, B for b-roads, C for Chiuro

Loose description of 'road', this one wouldn't be averse to somewhat extra grip on certain roads on the northside of the valley. The first half is almost totally traffic-free until you reach the main pass road down from Aprica. In summer this gets a little busy so just watch out for motorbikes careening their way up the pass, in a mad dash to overtake lorries. It's not great but it'll whizz by. Then you're back onto small roads. You have to rejoin the main road super briefly before you start the climb to Teglio, but it isn't a dealbreaker, we promise. 

A hilly route, but unfortunately off the cards in winter. All of the climbs will be worthwhile. 

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Val Viola | Run 43km | A very special hut-to-hut run

Here's a particularly mind-blowing route that starts in Val Grosina, just above Grosio. From there, a number of tracks and trails head up the valley towards Rifugio Eita. (There's also a road with restricted access but the trails on the righthand side of the road are much more interesting). From Eita, continue in the same direction and run and over Passo Verva along a gravel track. Drop down the other side and you're into Val Viola. Swing left, follow the single track and keep going until Rifugio Federica in Dosde.

Tip: sleep here and carry on the next day. 

Once you've regained your energy at the rifugio, head up towards Passo Dosde at 2,800 metres. It's pretty amazing. A slightly techy descent to a lake (the deepest in the Alps), before the downhill gets super runnable towards Malghera. This is where you might start meeting other hikers, but you'll be going to fast back to your parked car at Fusine that you won't notice. A great way to round off a hut-to-hut. 
 

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Mortirolo | Road 137km | A more mellow approach

From Sondrio you'll first ride the Passo Aprica before a long, swooping descent to Edolo. From here it ramps up gentle to Monno before a steep climb under a canopy of trees takes you up towards the Passo Mortirolo. You'll ride a few kilometres along the top before hitting the pass sign and the top of the much steeper side. Start going down that descent but take a right turn towards Grosio. Safer and a lot less steep, this narrow downhill pops you out on the far side of Grosio. From here, follow the small roads or even the Sentiero bike path back towards Tirano and Sondrio. 

The Mortirolo doesn't usually open until late May/early June.

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Sondrio | Gravel 41km | Life lessons in Val Cervia

The road up from Cedrasco is steep, so perhaps get all your conversations out of the way before embarking on the suggested first hour of this ride. It levels off after a while and there's beautiful, wide open scenery with meadows and high, high, high mountains on the horizon. If you bring a bike lock (not that you'll need it), you can do a ciclo-Alp adventure and keep running once the two wheels have taken you as far as you can go on the gravel. 


Val Cervia is often over-looked but that's what is so special as you'll barely see a soul. Just marmots and deer. Exactly how it should be, 

 

For the descent I'd nip off to the right when you see a bumpy track. It'll add some more excitement to your ride. 

 

Summer only.

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Chiuro | Gravel 67km | Groading up the mid-valley

Set aside a good few hours for this exploratory gravel ride around the valley. Expect the unexpected: cute villages, snaking singletrack, rasping-breath-inducing cobbled climbs, and more. We expect a lot of highlights on this route. Don't let yourself be navigated though – this is one where you should take any turning that takes your fancy.

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Castione | Run 11km | The partisans' last stand

Setting off from Postalesio means you'll get a few kilometres of flatter running to warm your legs up ready for the climb. It's a tough one, but super rewarding when you realise that you're exploring rarely-seen territory, even for the locals. Other than us, the only runner you might see here will be a former international boxer and his dog. 

The descent starts a little bit slip-and-slidy, but opens up into an incredibly runnable gravel track. 

Teglio | Road 87km | By b-roads

This is 87 km with a lot of bang for your buck. Exciting, tiny roads that wiggle across the valley sides. It might be easy to brush this route off but it's a great starting point for bigger rides. The climb from Bianzone up to Teglio is included in the Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini but gets so crowded with inept climbers during the gran fondo that it's much better to do in your own time, on your own ride, away from the masses. 

There's a section on the Statale that's almost unavoidable, but you could take the Sentiero Valtellina if you really hate the main road. 
The route back to Sondrio teases with the 'Via Panoramica', which is delightfully short of traffic and swoops and swerves its way back along the south-facing slopes. It's an exciting route that provides amazing views. There's always the option to stick to the Via Panoramica if you prefer to bypass the super scenic, slightly arduous route that is outlined here.

Year-round.

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Buglio | Run 12km | San Bell by name, bello by nature

This route came to fruition in 2017 for the launch of a brand new uphill mountain race, which takes place in February. It starts from Agriturismo Sesterzio (a lovely B&B that does superb food and unrivalled hospitality), and begins with a rather steep, narrow trail. After just a few minutes it eases and weaves up through the cute village of Regoledo, with a mixed bag of terrain. After leaving the village via a beautiful single track, the climb continues, criss-crossing the road before jutting off to the left and following a gravel climb up to one of our favourite hidden houses in the valley. The descent is super fast and fun, bringing you back to Monastero then Maroggia, then finally Sesterzio again. 

Finish this one off with dinner or cake at Sesterzio. It's worth it. Those guys know their wine too.

 

Year-round route.

Ardenno | Run 8.7km | The 500s, in it for the mid-valley mule tracks

Loosely based on a race held every October, this route does a beautiful climb before looping through cute villages with great views. It's fast and furious to descend. You'll have fun, we promise.

 

From the highest point you can easily add another 1,000 metres of climbing by following signs for Alpe Schermendone. It's worth it when you get up past the tree line. It isn't a particularly tough climb either, just follows the ridge line with views all down the valley from under a canopy of trees.

There's a great bakery in Ardenno to round off your run – they take a long lunch break though, so time your effort.

Year-round route.

 

Postalesio | Run 7.3km | Ca' Moroni mandem

You're bound to have a fondness for your most local route, which is why this route has found its way here. But adopted home village aside, the view from Ca' Moroni and its cute cluster of houses makes any run worth its effort.

 From Ca' Moroni it flattens off onto a gravel track for about 1km, before joining the road briefly and taking a trail up and down to the Pirimadi, Postalesio's geological addition to the curiosities of Valtellina. 

Expect to startle plenty of deer in autumn and early winter. 

Stock up on cheese when you've finished this route. Postalesio is home to the best goats cheese producers in the valley, if not the whole of Italy. They can be found just opposite the bar at the entrance to the village.

Year-round route

Triangia | Run 17km | Vineyard vagrants, the extended version

A staple run in the valley, the vineyard climb from Triasso to Triangia is a tough section of uneven steps that seems never-ending. It does end, but you might wish it hadn't because it's just so beautiful.  Obviously afterwards the first thing you should do is go and find some Sassella red wine, preferably that made by the cooperative wine sellers in the village of Triasso or by Alfio Mozzi, Valtellina's fastest wine producer. 

You can make so many variations of this run, including starting from almost anywhere: Sondrio for a longer climb or Castione for a shorter loop. This one starts and finishes in Postalesio to give your legs a warm-up and warm-down. The trail across the top of the vineyards from Castione is part of the Terrazzamenti trail, and it's just magical. 

Above Triangia you've got the option to include the lake or not. I probably would but there's some beautiful pine forest trails that loop around it.

The descent back to Castione goes by the name 'Rodelbahn', as it weaves its way playfully through the woods. Enjoy it. 

Year-round route. The wine harvest is in October usually, so that's a great time to see the hustle and bustle along the route. 

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Triangia | Gravel 39 km | Alpe Colina, the scenic way

This ride starts and finishes in Postalesio, but you could easily start from anywhere – you'd just end up climbing even further. 

From Triangia the road is tarmacked beautifully up to at least 1,100 metres where you'll find a cluster of houses called Ligari. You can fill up your bottle and nip into the 'village' for some cake and a chat at the restaurant. It's open all-year round. 
The road then worsens a little, but doesn't turn to gravel until around 1,700 metres of altitude. Then expect steep, concrete corners and rutted out gravel. Once you reach the cross at 1,900 metres, the track 'flattens' out for 6-7km before dropping down ever so slightly to Alpe Colina. The whole of this stretch is pretty beaten-up gravel so mountain bike tires are definitely recommended. 

 

From Alpe Colina, you can take the road straight down to Postalesio. The first 1.5 km is still gravel, but unfortunately in 2017 they made the decision to tarmac a lot more of the road. It's in a great condition now if you're into going fast. There are a lot of options for proper descending on trails, just look for deviations on either side of the road.

 

At 1,000 metres you'll reach Pra Lone, an opening with a few houses, and here's where the real trails start, dropping down to Ca' Moroni then Postalesio. These are not gravel bike-friendly, just sayin'.

Route reserved for summer and early autumn.

 

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