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69.1 km - Altitude gain 2350mt

Tirano - Livigno (Mottolino)

Tirano -



Sunday 19  May 2024 69.1km Altitude gain 2350mt
Stage suitable for: Experts

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Located in the heart of the Alps on the Italian-Swiss border, Tirano has always been a natural melting pot of
peoples and cultures, vendors and travellers. Here history meets nature, and art knowledge. This is why Tirano sticks in the minds and hearts of those who visit it, even if just for a day. In Tirano you will discover a prime example of the Renaissance in Valtellina – the imposing Sanctuary of the Madonna of Tirano. Strolling through the loggias and gardens of the noble buildings in the historical centre, you will reach Palazzo Salis where you will be able to admire its splendid frescoed rooms. Then, from gate to gate under fifteenth-century
walls, you will be accompanied by Ludovico Sforza and Leonardo da Vinci. Tirano is the ideal starting point for walks and excursions (on foot on by bicycle) up the Mortirolo Pass or along the Adda in a stunning landscape of terraced vineyards and charming hamlets. A Slow City since 2008 and historically a wine town, Tirano is the point of arrival and departure of one of the most fascinating and admired UNESCO World heritage Sites: the Bernina Express.


In Tirano what is classed as so-called “good and close” is an entirely natural experience. Taste after taste, producer after producer, the territory oers a triumph of flavours. Valtellina apples are worth trying and can be purchased from several small farms in the area, in addition to honey and preserves. Valtellina wines can be accompanied by bresaola and the famous pizzoccheri. However, Tirano’s finest dish has for centuries been its Chisciöi – buckwheat fritters made with stringy cheese. Before concluding the meal, sample some local cheese: make sure you taste Bitto DOP and Casera DOP.


Like Valtellina, Tirano is synonymous with characterful red wines. Some of Valtellina’s most famous wineries where one can sample and buy wines such as Sassella, Inferno, Grumello and Valgella – perfect representatives of the territory – lie between Tirano, Villa and Bianzone. Sforzato DOCG deserves a particular mention: a red wine with a superb concentration of flavour and aromas, it can stand proud alongside more renowned Piedmontese Barolo wines and after substantial ageing is sheer bliss.

Points of interest

The Renaissance-era Basilica Madonna in Tirano
Amongst Tirano’s bounty of architectural brilliance, the Basilica di Madonna di Tirano truly stands out: an age-old destination for believers from across Europe, it’s a reference point for the region’s past. In all its artistic grandeur, the sixteenth-century basilica represents one of the most monumental renaissance buildings in Valtellina. Inside it features a triple nave in the form of a Latin cross, plus a wealth of stuccoes, sculptures, and works of art. There’s also a grand organ featuring exquisite carvings, first begun in 1608 by Giuseppe Bulgarini from Brescia, and later completed by the Milan-based G.B. Salmoiraghi with the addition of three panels on the organ’s parapet.

The lavish Palazzo Salis
Sat in the heart of Tirano’s old town, Palazzo Salis is a spectacular property built between 1630 and 1690. For many centuries, this grand site was the official residence of the counts Sertoli Salis – the governors and Grison podestà of Valtellina – and it is, in fact, still owned by this noble family.
Back in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Salis’ ten grand rooms – all beautifully frescoed – were where all the major decisions for the valley were made, and now it is finally able to reclaim the same breath-taking splendour after a string of restorations. Attractive from the outside, its late-1500s façade is flanked by two towers with one central portal, done in a Baroque style and leaning on a design by the Italian architect ‘Il Vignola’.

The Bernina Express: a UNESCO World Heritage Site
In the heart of Tirano, just a few steps from the Basilica of Madonna di Tirano, the Bernina Express starts, not only a simple railway connection between Italy and Switzerland, but a real travel experience to discover unique landscapes, bre athtaking views of untouched nature, and fascinating places rich in history, culture and tradition. The engineering and architectural masterpiece from the beginning of the 20th century has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Albula line since 2008.
The Bernina Express runs all year round: in winter, amidst the beautiful snow-covered landscapes; in summer, with the possibility of using open convertible cars that allow travellers to “breathe in” the fresh and healthy air of the Alps; in spring, between flowering gardens and fields and some rare late snowfalls; in autumn, amidst panoramas with shades of bright orange, through yellow to red, almost like a painting.

Livigno (Mottolino)


A valley more than 22 km long at an altitude of 1,816 metres: here lies Livigno (whose name probably derives from the late Latin word labineus, namely “place subject to avalanches”): a true mountain paradise, both in summer and winter, protected by the Italian Alps. A destination chosen by Italians and international tourists to spend their holidays in pursuit of fun, sport, relaxation and good food.

Local cuisine

The so-called Little Tibet offers a wide selection of bars and restaurants throughout the streets of the pedestrianised centre, as well as alpine huts and inns located in the surrounding valley. The fil rouge of Livigno’s food and wine offer is the quality of the products and the genuineness of the raw materials, meticulously chosen by the chefs to create unique dishes telling the story and traditions of Livigno.

Points of interest

MUS! Livigno and Trepalle Museum: located in an old Livigno home, this museum aims to promote culture and tradition, documenting local history and offering educational workshops and events not to be missed.

Trepalle: Trepalle is the highest inhabited village in Europe (at 2,069 metres). Connected to Livigno both by a road and a panoramic path running through Val Tort, it has a special history intertwined with that of Don Alessandro Parenti, a parish priest with an energetic and innovative spirit who left an indelible mark on the history of the village and the entire Valtellina. The figure of Don Alessandro Parenti is said to have inspired the writer Giovannino Guareschi, who visited Trepalle in the summer of 1948 and met the priest on this occasion. Guareschi was very impressed both by the village – an ideal destination for those who want to live outside the city context and be completely surrounded by nature – and by the parish priest.

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