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Ancient Valtellina Hillside Vineyards: Italian Food & Wine Experience

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Just look at those terraced hillside vineyards!

Just look at those terraced hillside vineyards!

Valtellina Region of Italy

Natural scenery abounds in this northern region of Italy known as the Valtellina. The Valtellina consists of a wide valley with the river Adda running through it. It has hilly to the mountainous terrain of the Alps, with Switzerland on its northern border. People have made a living for centuries in Valtellina, tending vineyards. Grape growing is a vital part of the economic life of its inhabitants.

My hubby was fortunate enough to experience seeing this spectacular area on a wine trip several years ago. The pictures shown in this post will be ones that he had taken while there, plus some additional ones from others.

Hillside Vineyards

This broad valley is full of small settlements of people who have labored over the centuries to create these rock-lined hillside terraces for the growing of the grapes plus other life-sustaining crops such as maize, apple trees, and other crops. The hills are hard to work, and most all of it is done by hand.

These hillside vineyards are on the south side of the valley, where the sun bears down upon the rocks, heating them and providing the right environment to grow the vines. The plentiful sunshine makes up for the low average annual temperatures typically found at these elevations.

Most often, the best wines come from stressed vines, and the grapes growing in this rocky and arid environment of the Valtellina have become well known for their flavor profiles.

This northern region of Italy near the Swiss Alps receives snow and offers mountain skiing as a winter pastime. Yet plants like cactus thrive on the valley floor due to their east and west exposure. It is a rarefied climate with a fascinating ecosystem.

Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Valtellina in Lombardy

Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Valtellina in Lombardy

Hotel Campelli

The photos below show the Hotel Campelli where for the duration of the vineyard tours in the Valtellina region, my husband along with the two people from Russia, two from India, two from Korea, one from Sweden, one from Argentina as well as the driver, tour guide and interpreter stayed. My hubby was the only one from the United States on this portion of the wine trip, which started at a "MiWine" trade fair in Milan, Italy.

It looks as though it would be a great place to stay for a while during a vacation in Valtellina. The lush plants and views from the hotel are beautiful.

Visiting Wineries

I'll now share some photos that my husband took. He and others in the group got to visit some of the wineries in the Valtellina. It was a treat he will long remember.

Marsetti Winery

In the first photo below, the tour bus could not get closer to the Marsetti winery. The people walked four blocks through the narrow winding streets to the winery. It consisted of two rooms, and they produce only 4,000 bottles per year (as of the year 2006 when my husband was there sampling the wines).

AR.PE.PE. Winery

The AR.PE.PE. Winery is under hillside vineyards. Part of the mountain intrudes into the winery, and construction took place around the massive rock. Large stainless steel tanks and chestnut wood barrels house the wines until ready to be bottled and sold.

Nino Negri Winery

From the smallest winery, the two-room one at Marsetti located beneath a house, my husband's group would end one day of winery touring at the largest, which was Nino Negri. This winery is in a beautiful fifteenth-century building. A large corporation owns it and produces several million bottles a year.

The group sampled more of the acclaimed Valtellina wines, many of which come from the Nebbiolo grape, the predominant grape variety planted in that locale.

Triacca - LaGatta Estate

Those hillside vineyards viewed at the Triacca - LaGatta Estate are amazing!

It was originally built 500 years ago and was formerly a Dominican convent and a place of pilgrimage. It later became the De Gatti family summer residence (thus the name), and since then, again has changed hands and is now the home of the Mascioni family.

Now wine connoisseurs flock to this location where they can taste the fruit of the vines tenderly cared for and turned into a luscious liquid that would please Bacchus, the mythical Roman god of wine.

Signature Foods from the Valtellina

Naturally, the guests on this wine trip also got to eat some of the local foods from the Valtellina.

The signature dish of Valtellina is called Pizzoccheri. It is a combination of buckwheat plus regular flour noodles cut into a tagliatelle (ribbon shape) cooked and layered with Valtellina Casera cheese plus Parmesan cheese, potatoes, Savoy cabbage, or chard, garlic, and butter. Sage is an additional flavor ingredient sometimes used.

Another cheese from this region is called Bitto. There are plenty of pastures with grazing cows and sheep in the Valtellina, supplying the residents with what they need to make these local products.

Other gustatory delights included the marvelous air-dried and aged salted beef called bresaola and served paper-thin. After being introduced to it and coming back home to Houston, we have fortunately been able to purchase some of it here so that I could at least sample that flavor from Italy's Valtellina.

By no means does this describe all of the local foods from this area. Suffice it to say they were wined and dined on this trip!

Vacationing in Valtellina

While I have shown some of the photos that my husband took while on his wine trip, what else might draw people to this Valtellina area of Italy if wine is of no interest? Plenty! Located 86 miles (139 km) from Milan in the heart of the alps, this mountainous terrain offers stunning vistas with a wide variety of flora and fauna.

These mountain hamlets with churches, palaces, towers, and bell towers, plus other buildings going back many centuries, contain treasures for people interested in exploring. There are old frescoes on walls, rock carvings from the Bronze Age, a fort going back to the first World War, and even a place where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. These are available to view for those willing to traverse roads with hairpin curves or do some hiking and biking along paths, some of which follow historic mule tracks.

Many lifts, as well as cable cars, transfer skiers to numerous ski runs. Snowboarders can also have fun on these snow-capped mountains in the winter. How about some hang gliding?

I would personally stick to some hiking and perhaps soaking in some of the heated spa waters after a day's excursion and sipping on some of the Valtellina wines after dining on some locally produced food.

A portion of the Valtellina is protected by the Stelvio National Park and the Valtellina Orobie Regional Park, plus some National Monuments.

Shows historic centuries-old buildings, the scenic valley, apple orchards, and more in addition to the vineyards

Although there is some Italian spoken in this next video, much of it is scenery with music. What can be seen includes some of the following:

  • Helicopters are transferring picked grapes from the vineyard hillsides.
  • The spectacular Valtellina terrain, as viewed from above
  • People soaking in the hot springs located in the Valtellina
  • Visitors, enjoying a sampling of the wines and more.

Photographic Dream

I would be busy snapping one photograph after another, just judging from the photos that my husband brought home! The scenery is spectacular! How about you? Does this look like someplace you would also enjoy visiting?

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2021:

Hi Bruce,

It is my pleasure writing about your fantastic trip and resurrecting such happy memories for you. I enjoyed learning about the Valtellina. It is such a gorgeous area!

Bruce Woods on March 11, 2021:

Viewing this post brings back such wonderful memories. The Valtellina was a highlight of my first ever trip to Italy. When I was informed my itinerary would include this area, having never heard of it, a bit of research was conducted. The more I read the more excited I became. It was a chance to experience wines that at the time were virtually unknown here in the U.S. Once there, the wines and the scenery more than lived up to my expectations. Thanks for refreshing my wine trip activities. Yes, this was a working trip.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 16, 2019:

Hi Rajan,

My husband certainly had a good time there. I am glad that he came back with the photos he took as well as the memories he has shared with me. It does look like a very scenic part of the world.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 15, 2019:

Valtellina looks spectacular and a place I would love to visit. Thank you for sharing some lovely photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 08, 2015:

Hi Audrey,

It really does look beautiful. My hubby had a very busy but wonderful time on that trip.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 08, 2015:

This looks like a wonderful place to visit!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 08, 2014:

Hello Tolovaj,

Your recommendation is duly noted! I would love to visit those countries someday!

Tolovaj on September 08, 2014:

Living in the neighboring country I can confirm Italy has A LOT to offer and the coast is only the top of the iceberg. It is almost so beautiful as Slovenia (which is still kind of secret among tourists), but much bigger :)

Apart from culinary treats, you have a lot of historical monuments (Greece and Rome are cornerstones of Western civilization), a lot of really nice people, ...

I kindly recommend it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 30, 2013:

Hello Barbara,

It does look like a spectacular part of Italy. My husband certainly enjoyed getting to see it. :)

Barbara Badder from USA on September 29, 2013:

The photos are beautiful. I love it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 17, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

In this case it is my hubby who has gotten to see the beautiful Valtellina area of Italy. I have not traveled to Italy yet...hopefully someday! Glad that you liked learning about it, as I also did. Appreciate your comment and votes.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 16, 2013:

You've been to so many beautiful places! Lovely photos and tidbits about Italy! Voted up and awesome! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2013:

Hi Indian Chef,

Thank you so much for the compliments! This would surely be a beautiful part of Italy to visit. Thanks for not only your comment but your 5 star rating, vote and the share.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on May 13, 2013:

Peggy I must say that in all your travel hubs you bring out things which no other blogger does. I would too one day love to visit Italy and your pictures are marvelous as no one usually show this side of country. Very beautiful pictures. Voted up, 5 stars, awesome and sharing on hubpages.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2013:

Hi Kathryn,

Italy is definitely on my bucket list and yes, I hope to get to visit it someday. Hope that you get there also! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

Those hillsides of the Valtellina region of Italy certainly do look inviting. So glad that you enjoyed this hub and thanks for your votes, share & pin and thanks for your comment.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on May 12, 2013:

Italy has always been one of the places at the top of my "want to visit" list. These are beautiful photos, and informative tour of the area. Thank you! And I hope you get to go on a trip there sometime, after seeing so many of the photos your husband took on his trip.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 12, 2013:

Wow! The landscape of Valtellina Vineyards is just spectacular and the first picture is of the terraced hillside is awesome with the amazing entrance to the AR.PE.PE. Winery.

An excellent write up with some awesome pictures of natural exquisite beauty. Certainly the beauty of the place itself seems beckoning to me.

Voted up and across, rated 5 stars, shared and pinned.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2013:

Hi Crystal,

The pace that he keeps on these wine related trips would be a killer for me. I would rather go to Italy sometime on vacation and enjoy these sites in a more leisurely manner. At least I am getting a preview of the various areas from his photos and descriptions of where he has been thus far. Italy is definitely on my bucket list! Thanks for your comment.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on April 05, 2013:

Please don't let your husband go back without you! It looks absolutley breathtaking. I'm ready to go right now!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 01, 2013:

Hi vespawoolf,

The Valtellina does look like a totally amazing place! Hope you can someday soon cross it off of your bucket list. That would be nice. Thanks for your comment...and safe travels. :))

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 31, 2012:

How in the world did I miss this hub?? The food sounds fabulous and of course, the scenery and wineries would be unforgettable. Valtellina is definitely on our bucket list. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2012:

Hi vox vocis,

Ahh...I hope to get to see Italy in person someday as has my husband. His trips were on business, but the scenery cannot be overlooked when there. It is so beautiful! Glad that you liked this hub about the Valtellina. Appreciate your comment and vote up.

Jasmine on September 25, 2012:

I absolutely understand why you answered that question the way you did. I must join the club. In my opinion, Italy is the most beautiful country in the whole world. I enjoyed this hub and the photo gallery very much. Voted up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 16, 2012:

Hi Nora411,

You and me both! I would also love to travel to Italy someday. Nice that my husband has gotten to go there and I vicariously enjoyed the trip through his photos and descriptions. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Nora411 from Chicago, IL on June 16, 2012:

Wow I have always thought of Italy to be a beautiful place, but your photos have truly inspired me to want to take a trip there! Your photos are amazing! Voting up and beautiful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 03, 2012:

Hi missolive,

Hopefully you can accompany your husband to Italy the next time he goes, and hopefully I can do the same with my husband. The northern part of Italy in the Valtellina area looks so gorgeous. Glad to know that you enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on May 03, 2012:

Peggy, WOW! This hub is rich with beautiful information. My parents and husband have traveled to Italy and I do hope to make the trip myself one day. You have certainly inspired me to do so. You never cease to impress with the wealth of diverse info that you provide. Excellent lay out and so easy to read. Voted up and across!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

Yes...just over the mountains is Switzerland when you are in the Valtellina area of Italy. Surely looks gorgeous! Thanks for your comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 30, 2012:

This is practically Switzerland, isn't it. I didn't realize they grew wine that far north and up. The lunch view is spectacular except for that tower. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2012:

Hi Darlene,

Wouldn't it be nice if we could be making our plans right now for a mid-May trip to Valtellina, Italy? I can pack my bags quickly...how about you? (Smile) Thanks for your comment.

Darlene on March 31, 2012:

Breath taking! Would LOVE to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2012:

Hi Judi,

It would be lovely to be able to linger in the Valtellina area of Italy for a while and then hop on over into Switzerland. Such gorgeous scenery! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 29, 2012:

Hello lilMissScrittore,

You and me both! I would love to spend weeks in Italy soaking up the atmosphere, culture, architecture, eating the foods and drinking the wines, etc. Thanks for commenting on this area of Italy called the Valtellina. Hope that both of our dreams come true someday.

judio on March 29, 2012:

A trip to anywhere in Italy would be wonderful, but this

think I'd ever leave!

lilMissScrittore on March 29, 2012:

Peggy, what a beautiful hub about Italy! It is on my list of must-sees! I want to spend weeks there just soaking up the art, architecture, food, language, and people. Your hub has only continued to inspire my dream to get there one day and really seek out all it has to offer.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2012:

Hello Kalmiya,

So nice to hear that you enjoyed this hub about the Valtellina area of Italy. Thanks for your comment.

Kalmiya from North America on March 25, 2012:

What an amazing hub! Thank you for all your great photos and videos; very inspirational. I've enjoyed your hub and learned about making a great hub. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2012:

Hello shalycriston,

Glad that you enjoyed this information about Valtellina in Italy. Thanks for your comment.

Shaly Criston from USA on March 24, 2012:

Very interesting Hub, Voted up

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2012:

Hi Brett,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed seeing the landscapes from the Valtellina area in Italy. Thanks for your comment and the share. :)

Brett C from Asia on March 24, 2012:

A beautiful and truly comprehensive travel hub. Loved some of the photos, it has been a long time since I have traveled landscaped like that!

Thanks for SHARING, up and awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hi Cheryl,

So glad that you enjoyed this hub about Bruce's trip to the Valtellina area of Italy. You have had polenta at our house. As to Valtellina wines...hopefully they will soon be represented here and available. Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on March 21, 2012:

What an amazing vacation and photos. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. Beautiful mountains and vineyards. You have shared great photos and videos of Valtellina. I would love to sample the Polenta and the different wines in Valtellina. Your hub is very detailed and interesting. Another great vacation spot. Beautiful and informative hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hello Ivona,

We can thank my husband for getting these pictures while he was enjoying the Valtellina area of Italy. Nice that you have gotten to see Venice and Florence. I hope to get to Italy someday! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hello Tom (explorations),

Thanks for your comment. Hope that you get to enjoy Valtellina on another trip to Italy. It surely is gorgeous!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hi Sandra,

From what I am learning about Italy, I would love it also. Hope that you get to visit the Valtellina area someday and thanks for your comment and the share.

Ivona Poyntz from UK on March 21, 2012:

Your photos are stunning, and I also love Italy (although I've only been to Venice and Florence)

explorations from Philadelphia on March 21, 2012:

Looks like a wonderful trip Peggy! I've been to Venice and Rome...this looks like the place to be during our 3rd trip to Italy. Thank you for a great Hub and being so thorough. When I grow up, I want to creat some Hubs like yours. Tom

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 20, 2012:

Hi SanneL,

That must have been quite a trip that you took all across Italy! How I would love to do that someday! I can dream. Thanks for your comment and votes, etc. on this hub about the Valtellina area of northern Italy. Appreciate it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 20, 2012:

Hi Denise,

It sounds as though that trip with your daughter was fantastic...getting to see all of those places of interest in Italy, France and Switzerland. Thanks for your comment and heading on over to your poem now.

Sandra Busby from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA on March 20, 2012:

Oooooh! I love Italy, but have never visited this part. Thanks for SHARING. Sandra Busby

SanneL from Sweden on March 19, 2012:

Another gorgeous travel hub Peggy! This mountainous part of Italy is truly breathtaking, and you have showed us just that by your amazing pictures. I would have loved to watch the video. However, it's blocked to viewers in my part of the world.

Many years ago I drove from northern Italy all the way to the southern part, to take the boat over to Greece. Italy is very beautiful, but I found the northern part to be exceptional beautiful. Voted up, pressed a lot of buttons and shared.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on March 19, 2012:

Peggy-my daughter Cara (cardelean) and I traveled through France (see my poem: Giverny), Switzerland and into Italy. We went to Venice, Rome and Florence, but my mother's relatives live in a tiny village in Northern Italy which I have yet to visit. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2012:

Hi teaches12345,

Hope that you and your friends from Barcelona (another great place!) get to enjoy a trip to the Valtellina area of Italy someday. I know that with your love of good food, wine and scenery, you will enjoy it. Thanks for your comment.

Dianna Mendez on March 18, 2012:

This vacation spot has everything you would want, great food, wine and views. Lovely hub coverage of such a beautiful place. We have friends in Barcelona and I am sure that this could be a possible trip some time for us. Voted up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

It would be easy to visit the Valtellina part of Italy and combine it with a trip to Switzerland since they share a mountainous border with one another. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2012:

Hi Denise,

I would definitely like to get to visit Italy sometime and take some of my own photos. Which part of Italy did you visit? Thanks for your comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 18, 2012:

I'll have to second Italy as the country I'd like to visit again, especially now that you've explained the beautiful Valtellina region. Never new about this place. Probably best to combine this with a trip to Switzerland. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2012:

Hi Prasetio,

I was not on this trip with my husband but would certainly like to see the Valtellina region of Italy someday in person. I was working with his photos and what he told me about the trip. Beautiful place and so interesting! Thanks for your comment and votes.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on March 17, 2012:

I really enjoy your travel hubs, Peggy, and this one is no exception. I was in Italy once and would love to go back. Rated up, UABI. The photos are superb, but I know from visiting, that they still do not do the countryside justice. You must go and visit! Well done.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2012:

Hi Gene,

I am sure that Bruce would be happy to spend much more time in Italy and be your tour guide. He loves what he has seen of it and this Valtellina area is spectacular from his reports of it. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2012:

Hi Mary,

My husband has been to the Valtellina area of Italy but I was not with him on that business wine trip. Hope to be able to see it someday in person. Thanks for your comment.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 17, 2012:

Very informative hub about trip Valtellina. I have the same passion with you. Italy is one of the top country on my travel list. I really enjoy your tour in Valtellina and Valtellina totally has many beautiful place to visit. I believe that you can't forget this vacation with your husband. Peggy, You always have something good to share. Especially for beautiful places. I love all pictures and the video as well. I had never disappointed to give my vote and press all buttons here, except funny. Take care and enjoy your day. Cheers...

Love and peace,

Gene Jasper on March 17, 2012:

Great hub! Another place I need to go. Any chance Bruce could be my tour guide?

Gene

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 17, 2012:

You lucky gal! To have gone here and toured this beautiful place. It was a learning experience, too. This place is on my bucket list for sure. I voted this UP, etc.etc. Beautiful photos.

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