Bellissimo (and bountiful!) Bormio
You may not have ever heard of it, but it’s another very special place in Italy, that we consider “fuori strada” (or otherwise known in english as “off the beaten path”).
Bormio (“Burmi” in Valtellina dialect) is a sweet Italian town located in Alta Valtellina between the Swiss border and Stelvio National Park. Tourists are attracted by its traditions rooted in centuries of history, the cuisine with its cheeses, wines and mouth watering bresaola, PLUS its wonderful outdoor activities. In winter, ranging from ice skating to dog sledding and snowboarding, but also cross-country skiing and alpine skiing (it has hosted World Alpine Ski Championships twice. in 1985 and 2005). Even in the summer one can ski on the nearby glacier of the Stelvio Pass.
In summer, it is an excellent base for mountain biking, rock climbing, golf, sport fishing, archery and horse riding. Another great plus is the focus on well-being and relaxation. Bormio is famous for its hot springs that date back to the time of the ancient Romans. The spas are three: the Baths of Bormio, which are located in the territory of Bormio, and two factories, the Bagni Nuovi and Bagni Vecchi.
Bormio is about a 3-hour driver NE of Milano. There is also a train that takes you to Tirano (about 30 minutes from Bormio with regular buses to and from), but with a car you can visit some many wonderful “nooks” not to miss while there such as Laghi di Cancano, the spas, the small hamlet of Livigno (a tax free zone for shopping!), the glacier of Stelvio, even St. Moritz in Switzerland is only 1.5 hours away (also Bolzano, another BVI favorite town!), etc…
You will also eat like kings and queens in Bormio. Most famous is its bresaola, a cured meat served as antipasti in very thin slices. This is usually made from beef, but sometimes a restaurant will serve bresaola made from deer, written on the menu as “cervo”. Deep reddish in appearance, this is quite rich in flavor. There is also Bitto, a D.O.P. cheese that is aged for various periods ranging from 70 days to 10 years. Primarily a cow’s milk cheese (up to 10 percent goat’s milk may be added), this is made only during the summer in the area’s mountain dairies. In general, the dairy products are special. Probably the best butter I have ever tasted comes from this valley!
Another “must eat” are gli schaat (small fried cheese balls that I swear do not taste heavy or oily!)…and oh, the wines! This is Nebbiolo country (yes, just like in Piemonte!) and the Valtellinese make some wonderful, slightly softer wines with a hint more earthy and rustic taste. Top wines here include the Valtellina Superiore and Sforzato di Valtellina.
There are plenty of nice places to stay in Bormio, but we have to point out one very special recommendation, La Genzianella. This small, family run hotel is such a treat. Classified as a 3-star, we only received 5-star service. Rooms are bright, comfortable and clean, we enjoyed all our meals including a super breakfast spread, and the staff (mostly family) is priceless. To top it of, the price is really reasonable.
For dining out, go to Il Filo for a bit more upscale ambience and their famous 3-meat skewer on steroids as we call it (see photo for details) and Il Vecchia Combo for some of the best schaat I have ever tasted!
You also find more info on Bormio at:
As many of you know, I am a beach person. Me and the sea rarely part. But Bormio surprised me. To the point of saying, I could see living there for a year. A trial run. I don’t think I would be disappointed.
I cannot wait to return…
Posted by meganmccaffrey | 2 comments