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Bormio, Province of Sondrio, Lombardy

Situated in a basin where three valleys join, the Valdidentro, Valdisotto and Valfurva, at the northern entrance of the Valtellina, along the road leading to the Stelvio mountain pass, Bormio is a renowned spa town and a winter resort.

All surrounded by beautiful mountains, where all winter sports can be practised also thanks to the modern facilities for curling and ice-skating, while trekking, mountaineering, horse-riding are the main tourist activities in the summer. The spa waters are located 4 km from the town, in the hamlet called Bagni di Bormio, and have a temperature from 38 to 41ºC.

Info

  • Altitude: 1,225 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 4,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 23032
  • Phone Area Code: 0342
  • Patron Saint: Santi Gervasio and Protasio, celebrated on 16 June

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The origin of the name is still unresolved, some believe it may derive from the German "Warm", others from a divinity of the Gauls, "Bormo" the patron of thermal waters. Archaeological findings point to an Etruscan settlement in the area, but the first historical mention is in a letter of the 6th century AD from Cassiodorus to a Goth king, mentioning the "Aquae Burmiae". At the time the Goths made a road connecting the Engadina to the Valtellina and proceeding towards Germany.

Between the 10th and 13th centuries Bormio was disputed by both the bishops of Como and those of Coira, and was gradually able to obtain a remarkable autonomy. In 1376 the town came under the Visconti of Milan, and maintained many privileges, that were however lost when in 1487 it was occupied by the Lega dei Grigi (or Grigioni).

History - Modern Times

In 1797 it was included in the Cisalpina Republic, then in 1815 the congress of Vienna gave the whole Lombardy to Austria. In 1859 after the Second War of Italian Independence Bormio, with the rest of Lombardy, became part of the newly established Kingdom of Italy. In the early decades of the 20th century spa establishments and the increasing popularity of winter sports gave new impulse to tourism.

What to see

  • The historical centre, with renaissance palaces, many of them frescoed inside
  • 3 km to the south-west the mineral springs of Cepina
  • 22 km to the north-east the Stelvio mountain pass, at an altitude of 2758 meters, which is among Europe's highest roads, connecting the Valtellina to the Valvenosta, in the heart of the Stelvio National Park, an area of rich vegetation and with many important protected species.
  • to the south east, the Valfurva valley, covered with thick forests, which leads under the glaciers and to the Cevedale summit (3764 m).

Events

  • On Easter Sunday, the Pasquali, an ancient tradition consisting in the blessing of five live little white lambs, one for each of the five ancient quarters (Buglio, Maggiore, Dossorovina, Combo, Dossiglio), that compete for the best parade, with allegorical carts and shepherds in traditional costumes.

Where to stay