Sondrio, 05 agosto 2014   |  

Along the Valtellina path towards ancient churches

From Sondrio to Grosio, through the "Sentiero Valtellina” (Valtellina Path), the cycle and pedestrian track that goes along the river Adda valley, in a landscape of fields, vineyards, woods. A 47 km journey on two wheels away from traffic congestion, which gives also the opportunity to see relevant monuments and historic sites like three ancient churches: the sanctuary of the Madonna della Sassella in Sondrio, the sanctuary of the Madonna of Tirano and the church of San Giorgio in Grosio.


The sanctuary of Madonna di Tirano

The sanctuary of the Madonna della Sassella, Sondrio

The sanctuary of the Madonna della Sassella is a nice building from the 15th century located on a rocky spur at the entrance of Sondrio, the main city of the Valtellina, in a wonderful landscape of vineyards terraces, well known for the high quality wine produced there. The church, clearly visible when reaching the town, contains many relevant works of art, like the white marble lunettes of the portal with a nativity scene in high relief attributed to the Rodari brothers; frescos with scenes from the life of Mary by the painter Andrea De Passeris (1511) found at the base of the apse and an Annunciation scene. Also the small multicolor stained glass window with a nativity scene, on the right of the apse, represents a remarkable example of the local traditional stained glass works. The sanctuary was enlarged at the end of the 17th century with the addition of a portico.

Information at Sondrio Valmalenco Tourist Office - Tel. +39 0342 451150 - +39 0342 219246 - 

The sanctuary of the Madonna of Tirano

With three cross-shaped naves, the sanctuary of the Madonna of Tirano is the best example of the Renaissance in Valtellina, with rich decorations and sculptural works and the huge organ almost 14.50 meter high, supported by eight pink marble columns from Arzo in the Canton Ticino, which is world famous for the wonderful wood carving work made by Giuseppe Bulgarini from Brescia between 1608 and 1617, later completed by G.B Salmoiraghi of Milan. The sanctuary was built on the spot where, according to the tradition, on September 29th 1504 at dawn the Virgin Mary appeared to Mario Homodei from Tirano, promising spiritual and physical health upon condition that a shrine would be built in her honor on the same place, near the Folla bridge and outside the city walls. In 1946 Pope Pio XII defined the Virgin Mary of Tirano as the “special patron saint of the entire Valtellina”.  Opening hours: (from 1st October to 30th April)  7.00 - 12.15 and 14.30 - 19.00

Information at Tirano Tourist Office Tel. +39 0342 706066 -

The church of San Giorgio in Grosio

The church of San Giorgio is located in the historic center of Grosio, close to a small square with a polygonal stone fountain. It probably dates back to the 13th century and was mentioned for the first time in a document in 1252. The church still preserves its original late-medieval interior aspect with a single aisle, rectangular base, a square presbytery and semicircular apse. On the facade, above the main marble portal, there is a fresco by Andrea De Passeris from the early 16th century. The inside walls are covered with frescos by Giovanni da Sondalo, De Passeris and other local artists, among whom Cipriano Valorsa, named the "Valtellina's Raffaello".

Information at Tirano Tourist Office Tel. +39 0342 706066 -



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