Suggestive paths between rocks and lush vegetation lead the tourist to mountain lakes and settlements of ancient foundation and the hiker at the top, through pastures and huts... In any season, an exciting adventure for all nature lovers!
The Valle Brembana - with its lateral valleys Serina, Taleggio, Brembilla and the east and western branches that lead to the Orobie Alps - represents a land in which natural scenes alternate and that span from the ridges of the Orobie Alps to the plain, passing through mountain lakes and inhabited villages founded in ancient times.
Beautiful paths between cliffs and luxuriant vegetation lead the hiker to the summit passing through hilly landscapes and past refuges, while, in winter, fans of skiing will be able to choose from a variety of cross-country trails, walks with snowshoes or, for the most expert, ice climbing.
However, in any season, on foot or by car, by mountain bike or on horse back, the discovery of these valleys will be an exciting adventure for all lovers of nature, of any age, who will have the opportunity to be enchanted by the wood and iron handicrafts, also the beers, the polenta, mushrooms and cheeses, all outstanding among the local products.
The first municipality coming from Bergamo is Sedrina, that hosts the Tourist Information Centre and the Tourist Reception. The gem of this small village is the altar piece of Lorenzo Lotto, a Madonna in Glory and Saints of 1542 kept in the parochial church, designed by the architect Codussi, native of Lenna.
Continuing we reach Zogno, that proposes at its entrance le Grotte delle Meraviglie (the Grottos of Wonders), 143 metres deep and rich in multiform calcareous concretions (accessible by reservation). In the central public square of the village there is also the Museum of the Valley, that boasts more than 5000 finds and objects of the life and work of the men of valley.
Well worth a visit is San Pellegrino Terme, a town that is very famous for its water springs with therapeutic properties, known since 1200. Jewel of the Lombard Liberty, the imposing Casino inaugurated in 1907 after only 20 months of construction. On the opposite side of the river the Grand Hotel stands out and has hosted rulers and politicians of the belle époque, entrepreneurs, writers and actors up until the end of the '70s.
Another interesting village from a historical and cultural point of view of the Brembana Valley is San Giovanni Bianco, whose historical centre maintains its original structure with its Romanesque bridges, the ancient road of Priula and Palazzo Boselli that, built in the XV century, is one of the noblest buildings of the entire valley. Worth a visit is the hamlet of Oneta, a well-kept village that boasts the fifteenth-century house of Harlequin, a world-known mask.
The Brembana valley also hosts one of the most beautiful villages of Italy: Cornello dei Tasso. The Borgo Medievale (the Medieval village), that can only be reached on foot through a stretch of the ancient Via Mercatorum, and is homeland of the Tasso family, founder of the postal system.
Branzi is a characteristic resort, famous above all for its production of the homonymous cheese. Here, every year to the end of September, the San Matteo Fiera (Fair) takes place, that re-enacts and divulges the traditions of the place and allows consumers to discover the extraordinary qualities of the principle cheeses of the Orobie (Typical Cheese Branzi FTB, Formai de Mut of the high valley Brembana (PDO), Bitto Storico (PDO and Presidio Slow Food), Strachitunt Valtaleggio (PDO), Stracchino all’Antica (Presidio Slow Food/Slow Food Foundation), Agrì di Valtorta (Presidio Slow Food).
In high Val Brembana, at an altitude of a thousand metres, there is the ancient mountain village of Ornica, a place that has kept intact a life style on a human scale and follows the slow rhythms of nature, with its life in the old houses during winter and in the mountain huts for the summer haymaking and the hill country for cattle grazing. Ornica is the centre of the association Donne di Montagna (Mountain women), that founded the first Albergo Diffuso of the Lombardy.
A lateral valley that offers incredible naturalistic scenes is the Taleggio Valley, called the small Bergamo Switzerland. The road follows a natural route: dramatic features (long deep engravings of rocks heaps created by the erosive action of the waters of the rivers over the course of thousands of years), anticipation of treasures of this area. From the churches scattered in every tiny hamlet, many of which boast high-quality works of art, to dairy production of excellence, the valley has even created an eco-museum to safeguard through its contemporary residents the fascination of local history and tradition.
One of the most spectacular features is situated at the entrance of another lateral valley: the Valle Serina, a place that offers corners of intact nature dedicated to pastures, ideal for gentle walks, pauses for relaxation and ancients monuments integrated within the landscape.
There is of course Foppolo and its ski slopes, on which the first “skiers with wood-skis” arrived in 1902 (from the “L’Alta Valle Brembana” newspaper). In reality the investments of the ‘30s – ‘40s intensified in the ‘70s along with the construction boom, filling Foppolo with tens of modern architectures typical of the fashionable skiing destinations in those years, making it into the most famous winter station of the province of Bergamo. In the same years ski lift systems were also installed in San Simone and in Carona, today these are combined in a unique ski area that offers skiers with a single ski pass, a 50km circuit of ski slopes.
Less known, the Valle Imagna, right lateral valley through which the homonymous river flows, is characterised by its pristine nature and by ancient villages and area with stone houses with the famous “piode roofs” (very thick local limestone rock slabs). One of these is Arnosto, dating back to the 14th century, displaying buildings of great historical and artistic value: a walk through its streets takes the visitor back in time to the life of the Pre-Alp populations of the past. It is worth seeing, in Ubiale Clanezzo, the medieval bridge of Attone on the Imagna river and the customs office of Clanezzo next to an old mill on the banks of the Brembo called “Porto”: here a modern rope footbridge suspended over the river offers a view over the point of confluence of the two rivers. Finally, the Sanctuary of Madonna della Cornabusa (literally roccia buca), carved into the cliff by a “divine hand”, and the wonderful panoramas over the valley and over the Brianza-province lakes that can be enjoyed from Costa Imagna and are truly stunning.
Where the Brembana Valley meets i Grigioni, near the Passo San Marco (access pass to the Valtellina) is found the most ancient refuge of the Alps, the Cà San Marco, built in 1593 that has been a road worker’s house for centuries. In order to better enjoy the refuge, it is worth reaching it on foot setting off from Mezzoldo: along the path you will cross well-maintained stretches of the Priula road, passing along the way a number of casere (mountain houses), because throughout Alta Valle mountain walking and the production of cheese is very popular!