Cinque Terre of Val Gandino - Trail Degli Altipiani

The Cinque Terre of Val Gandino: a jewel hidden in the mountains of Bergamo

The Cinque Terre della Valgandino represent a series of ancient villages located in the Gandino Valley (Val Gandino), north-east of the city of Bergamo.

These villages are characterised by narrow alleys, stone houses, ancient churches and a rustic atmosphere, reminiscent of the charm of the past.

Where are they?

Valgandino takes its name from the town of Gandino, which in turn is part of the Mountain Community of the Seriana Valley.

It is a valley located below the Orobian Alps, 25 km from the city of Bergamo, comprising several municipalities, including five villages that have become famous for their combination of history, art, nature, architecture and culture: they are the municipalities of Gandino, Leffe, Casnigo, Cazzano Sant’Andrea and Peia.

What to see in the Cinque Terre of Valgandino

Gandino

This village is perhaps the most interesting to discover, as it houses the monumental Basilica of S. Maria Assunta, a Museum of Sacred Art with a large collection of gold, silver and lace objects, making it one of the most important ones of its kind in the world, a Nativity Scene Museum, the Benedictine monastery of S. Carlo, founded in 1610 and also known as the Convent of the Ursuline Sisters, and a historical centre dotted with several churches and impressive noble palaces.

Basilica S.Maria Assunta in Gandino

Basilica S.Maria Assunta in Gandino

Casnigo

The village of Casnigo, on the other hand, is the birthplace of the ancient Bergamo bagpipe, also known as baghèt in the local dialect.

Other attractions include the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity and the Church of Our Lady of Erbia, where the last tunic worn in life by Pope John Paul II is kept.

Leffe, Cazzano e Peia

Leffe, on the other hand, is the beating heart of the area’s ancient textile industry, whose ancient, still functioning machinery can be admired in its Textile Museum.

Here, visitors can learn about the entire production chain, from silkworm larvae to weaving, and then spinning and carding.

Finally, Cazzano Sant’Andrea and Peia are lively and dynamic villages with an abundance of natural beauty to be explored in the surrounding area.

Textile Museum in Leffe - Mechanical Shuttle Loom

Textile Museum in Leffe – Mechanical Shuttle Loom

Things to do in the surrounding area

Here are some activities or attractions not to be missed if you visit the valley:

  • Hiking: the Gandino Valley offers a variety of hiking trails through forests, alpine meadows and scenic valleys. There is a range of routes suitable for all levels of ability, from quiet scenic trails to challenging mountain climbs.
  • Serio Waterfall: not far from the Valley, in the territory of Valbondione, you can find the Serio Waterfalls, which, with a total of 315 metres divided into three jumps, become the highest waterfall in Italy and one of the highest in Europe. It is an incredible natural spectacle and a must-see destination for anyone visiting the area.
  • Outdoor Activities: the Gandino Valley is a paradise for those who love outdoor activities: you can go mountain biking along its scenic trails, such as the famous ‘malghe path’, rock climbing, trekking along the Monte Farno trails, or even try paragliding to enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley from above. In winter, on the other hand, you can wear snowshoes or cross-country skis: the Montagnina circuit is located in this area, and it is the ideal destination for Nordic skiing enthusiasts.
Cinque Terre of Valgandino - Percorso Del Bosco

Cinque Terre of Valgandino – Percorso Del Bosco

Events and food in the Gandino Valley

The Valgandino villages offer a calendar full of events and festivals all year round. When visiting the valley, you can come across markets, food festivals, open-air concerts or traditional festivals such as the Egg Race in July, as well as religious celebrations such as the Triduum during Lent and Corpus Christi, which allow you to become even more familiar with the local culture.

The traditional local cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes, including cheese, salami, cold cuts and several specialties made with Gandino Spinato corn, a very special variety that was first planted here in 1632.

In terms of historical and cultural importance, it should also be mentioned that it was in Gandino that the red shirts worn by the Garibaldi’s Thousand were dyed, and it is also here, in the Church of San Mauro, that the precious relic of the hood worn by Padre Pio can be found.

Val Gandino Egg Race

Val Gandino Egg Race

How to get to the Cinque Terre of Valgandino

There are several options to reach the Valgandino, depending on the starting point and on your favourite way of transport. In general, the valley is easily accessible by car, while public transport is a little more complicated.

If you are travelling by car and arriving from Bergamo, you can take the SS671 in a north-east direction towards Clusone, and then follow the signs for Gandino. It takes about 30 minutes to drive along the 25 km to the village. The A4 highway and the Orio Al Serio airport, one of the busiest in northern Italy, are also very close.

There are also some bus lines connecting Bergamo and the Gandino Valley. You can check timetables and fares at bus stations or on the bus company’s website.

When to go

The great variety of events and activities, the surrounding mountains that are easy to tackle even for the beginner, make the Valgandino a destination worth exploring in every month of the year.

In winter, to enjoy winter sports or simply to be immersed in the peace and quiet that can be experienced when climbing to the Rifugio Parafulmine, and in summer to enjoy trekking, climbing and other outdoor sports.

For further information and insights we recommend visiting the official website.

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Credits: All images taken from www.lecinqueterredellavalgandino.it and www.museodeltessile.it

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