Sondrio: Traditional Italian Villages; Family-Friendly Apres Ski -
The province of Sondrio is in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The capital of province is the picturesque city of Sondrio which dates back to the 5th century BC. The town's main sights are clustered round Garibaldi Square, including the Palazzo Sassi, the ancient road to the Valmalenco linking the town to Switzerland, the Masegra Castle, and the Historical Museum.
The province is famous for its vineyards in the summer - particularly the Sassella and Grimello - and skiing in the winter. Ski resorts in Sondrio include Aprica, Bormio, Caspoggio, Livigno, Madesimo, Pescegallo, and Santa Caterina.
Aprica (1200 metres) is particularly popular with beginners for its wide gentle slopes. Its 40 kilometres of slopes are served by 24 lifts. Skiers can reach a maximum vertical of 2310 metres altitude. The pistes are divided into seven blue runs, 10 red, and four black. It is also home to 13 kilometres of cross-country trails.
The gentle Superpanoramica run stretches six kilometres from 2000 metres to town. The après ski scene in Aprica features a range of bars in the town centre and hotels. Non-skiers will enjoy ice skating and swimming.
The Alta Valtellina Ski Area is comprised of the resorts of Santa Caterina, Bormio, and Livigno. It offers a combined total of 110 pistes (39 blue runs, 57 red, and 14 black) and a maximum height of 3020 metres altitude. The new eight-seat gondola transports skiers up to 2775 metres. The après ski scene features relaxed bars and rustic restaurants. Non-skiers will enjoy the moonlit snowshoe walk in the Stelvio National park.
The resort of Santa Caterina (1740 metres) is a traditional Italian town with old architecture and unspoilt scenery. Its 35 kilometres of pistes are best suited to intermediate skiers and boarders.
Bormio (1225 metres) is known for its historic centre, modern skiing facilities, and hot spring spa. The town is centred round its medieval town centre with cobbled streets and street cafes. Bormio is a popular tourist attraction for thermal baths set against beautiful mountainous scenery.
The village has hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and many World Cup ski racing events. The ski area features 70 kilometres of pistes served by 14 lifts. Skiers can reach a height of 3012 metres altitude. The resort is particularly well suited to beginners and intermediates.
The peaceful village of Santa Caterina (1720 metres), up the mountain road from Bormio, offers 35 kilometres of pistes best suited to intermediate skiers, with two blue runs, 12 red, and two black. Skiers can reach a height of 2890 metres. The resort has hosted women's events for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championhips.
Livigno (1816 metres) is known for its sunny conditions and 100 kilometres of well-groomed slopes. The modern lifts transport skiers up to 2800 metres altitude and the slopes cater for all difficulty levels. It also boasts 40 kilometres of cross-country skiing.
The traditional village of Caspoggio (1800 metres) is lined with old architecture. Its 60 kilometres of ski slopes reach a top altitude of 2370 metres and are divided into eight blue runs, 13 red, and six black.
The small attractive village of Madesimo (1545 metres) offers 50 kilometres of runs that are best suited to intermediate skiers. It is known for its excellent ski school, snowpark, and good lift system. The resort centre offers a relaxed atmosphere with friendly bars and cafes.
Pescegallo (1450 metres) offers a small ski area of 11 kilometres and is best suited to beginners. Its four slopes are served by two lifts and transport skiers to a maximum height of 1950 metres.
The ski area of Sondrio is easily accessed from the airports of Milan and Bergamo, both approximately 100 kilometres away. Car hire is available from both airports. Alternatively, buses run to the city of Sondrio.