Sunday, December 24, 2006

Castione della Presolana – Winter Fun Vacation in a little known Mountain Community

Castione della Presolana, the last town in the Upper Seriana Valley, owes its name in part to Mount Presolana which dominates over the area. The Castione basin and its outlying district of Bratto, Dorga and Cantoniera face each other in terrace-fashion along the road that leads up to Presolana Pass. The pass faces Adamello and serves as a divide between the Valle Seriana and the Valle di Scalve. Castione is a classic Bergamo winter resort and is also frequented during the summer due to its panoramic location and the fine hotels that have a long tradition of hospitality.

The ski lifts are located in the Cantoniera area toward the pass and in the south on Monte Pora. The slopes range from beginner to expert and the scenic view is captivating, as are the cross-country ski trails at 1600 meters. The slopes are not just limited to skiing. The wide trails permit snowboarding and sledding. The local operators also organize classes for all experience levels.

Rock and Mountain climbing are also big attractions with numerous groups organizing excursions in both the winter and summer months. For young climbers the local groups organize classes during the summer time for some spectacular climbs. Cycling is one of the most followed sports in the Bergamasca. The Presolana is no exception sponsoring international races riding over and through the 2,200 meter passes. Finally a new addition in the last 10 years is the appearance of top grade golf courses including both Italian and European competitions.

The Presolana is a destination, like many destinations in Italy, primarily known by the locals. The schools prepare fieldtrips and the older kids will make this a favorite weekend destination. The lack of notoriety does not mean that the snow is not great or the infrastructures are not adequate. Close by are the Springs of San Pellegrino, the water so famous here in the US. Spa treatments are available with a little planning and there are numerous B & B, Agriturismo and apartments for rent. I cannot suggest great lodging because I lived just a hop, skip and jump away but the people are friendly and down to earth. They could easily be your drinking buddies on a Saturday night.

This is a white winter vacation for those who want to stay away from the crowds and just enjoy a week in the snow. The food is fantastic, many of the local dishes are traditional Bergamasco so Polenta Taragna, Pizzoccheri with porcini mushrooms, Taleggio, Casoncelli, and wild Boar are just a few of the hearty dishes. Carnevale is celebrated with masks on the ski slopes including night parades with torches. Vin Brule’, dancing, live music and pastries are on tap just about all year round. Surely no one will write about this jewel of a small but for me it was a winter escape for many years.


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Blogger RennyBA said...

Thanks for taking us through this wonderful trip - you always makes such great post with all the details and great information.

Wish I was there as there are no snow in Norway yet - so no white Christmas:-( And you know I love golf so it was an even greater red because of that.

From all of me to all of you: Merry Christmas:-)

2:34 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Renny These places have an advantage for the snow. They start at about 1,000 meters and go up from there.

Merry Christmas!

2:44 PM

Anonymous Shari said...

The place sounds really amazing. The pictures are breathtaking. I agree with rennyba. Thank you for taking us through this wonderful trip. :)

Happy Holidays!

12:06 AM


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