Valtellina – the little red train that climbs the mountain

Valtellina - the little red train
The Little Red Train winding through the mountains – AdobeStock_305666877

Valtellina – the little red train:
Would you like to do a giant slalom through the mountains?

Then get on the red train of the Retica Railway at Tirano that “boldly” climbs up to the 2253 meters of the Bernina Pass to then descend towards St. Moritz.

Starting immediately after Tirano you enter the lateral Val Poschiavo, which is part of Valtellina but politically belongs to Switzerland.

With the snow train during the winter and until mid-April, it’s possible to sit comfortably in warm panoramic carriages and with 360° view, while a magical world passes before your eyes. Or, during the summer it’s possible to reach, also in open carriages, excellent panoramic points, impressive glaciers, and the “four-thousand,” sparkling with eternal snow.

Valtellina - the little red train
The Little Red Train in wintertime – AdobeStock_99781105
For further information:

Ufficio Turistico Tirano
Piazza Stazione – 23037 Tirano (SO)
Tel. +39 0342 706066 – Fax +39 0342 706066

Ferrovia retica Tirano
Tel. +39 0342 701353 – Fax +39 0342 704575

Ferrovia retica Poschiavo
Tel. +41 081 8440132 – Fax +41 081 8441073

Ferrovia Retica Website

Valtellina - the little red train
The Little Red Train in downtown Tirano – AdobeStock_68128302
Where to stay in Tirano

Tirano is in the middle of the Valtellina. A regular train line connects it to Milan with a two-hours travel.

The prettiest town along the valley floor, Tirano is the terminus for trains arriving from Milan via Lake Como and others arriving from Switzerland. At its east end is the quiet old town, with winding lanes next to the gushing Adda. About 1.5km west of the centre stands the proud Renaissance Santuario della Madonna church.

The Rhaetian Railway map
Ferrovia Retica Map
St Moritz
St Moritz – AdobeStock_314505523

Since 1864 St Moritz attracted royals, celebrities, and moneyed wannabes. It’s Switzerland’s original winter wonderland and the cradle of Alpine tourism. With its shimmering aquamarine lake, emerald forests, and remote mountains, the town looks a million dollars.

Yet despite the string of big-name designer boutiques on Via Serlas and celebs bashing the pistes, this resort isn’t all show. The real riches lie outdoors in the mountains, with the superb carving on Corviglia, hairy black runs on Diavolezza and miles of hiking trails when the snow melts. The town has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and most are surprised to hear that the town first gained fame due to its mineral springs, which were discovered 3000 years ago and established the town as a summer spa resort.

The Little Red Train during a March trip to St Moritz -© Silvia Massetti
Where to stay in Saint Moritz
Valtellina - the little red train

Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan

Take a ride on the Bernina Express, Switzerland’s alpine delight. This train journey takes you along one of the most beautiful railway routes in the world – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – through the Bernina Pass to the exclusive resort of St Moritz at the ‘Top of the World.’ Enjoy a round-trip scenic coach trip and ride a bright red rail car, passing unrivaled landscapes amid the towering peaks of the Swiss Alps, including the time to spend in charming Tirano and St Mortiz.

Valtellina - the little red train
Gondolezza Restaurant Pontresina

At the mouth of Val Bernina, Pontresina is a low-key alternative resort to St Moritz, only 8km away. Pontresina is a brilliant place to stay, especially if you are into the outdoors. There is a lively main street, great hiking, and skiing right above the town, and easy access to the spectacular heights of Punt Muragl at the top of the Muottas Muragl Bahn funicular. Val Roseg, with its hiking, cross-country skiing trails, and horse-drawn carriage rides, is just across the valley. The amazing Morterasch glacier is also close.

It’s not often you can sit in a former Diavolezza gondola car and dine out on top-notch fondue or raclette. Head up to the back of Pontresina to find this yellow cable-car cabin and accompanying sun terrace.
Discover cheese heaven with Fondue and Raclette!
“Indulge.” The taste of mountain cheese, melted and brought to your oak table as Fondue and Raclette in the most traditional of dishes. This former cable car cabin offers food in the original atmosphere; and is now a sun terrace, after more than 30 years on the mountain.
Book this high original for your special celebration.

Where to stay in Pontresina
Valtellina – the little red train Continuing to Graubünden
Landwasser Viaduct – ©

From St Moritz you can continue with the Little Red Train in the Albula Valley, arriving to Chur in the Graubünden canton.

The viaduct at Filisur spans the Landwasser Valley and leads directly into a tunnel. The construction of the three main pillars in 1901/02 was an outstanding architectural feat, considering that the viaduct was built using only two cranes and without scaffolding. This is the most spectacular landmark on the Rhaetian Railway and it has become famous the world over.

Continuing to Graubünden – Chur
Chur – © Silvia Massetti

Chur is the biggest city in Switzerland’s biggest canton. It is worth a wander if you walk up to the Altstadt (Old Town) and do some exploring. The city itself is like a vibrant gallery, with arty boutiques, authentic restaurants, and relaxed bars.

The Alps rise like an amphitheater around Chur. Switzerland’s oldest city, inhabited since 3000 BC, Chur was almost destroyed by fire in 1464. German-speaking artisans arrived to rebuild and, in the process, inadvertently suppressed the local Romansch language. What’s spoken these days is a local variant of the Alemannic Swiss-German dialect.

You decided to come this far. You should plan to spend the night here, return the following day, it’s worth it!

Valtellina – the little red train:
Some additional tourism destinations in Lombardy

William Dellorusso
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy

Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.

The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)

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