History and fresh mountain air. A town where art, history, nature and the healthy mountain air all make for an invigorating place to explore. Come to Sondalo!
Come and explore this unique gateway to the Bormio region, the town of Sondalo.
Discover the old town
Sondalo has an ancient old town which is well worth a visit. It is mentioned in documents dating back to the 11th century, although its origins are even older.
As you wander through the narrow streets of the town centre, you will see plenty of evidence of its Mediaeval past, including the characteristic octagonal fountain which was the centre of village life.
The church of Santa Marta is also a must-see, with its traditional Romanesque bell tower and numerous frescoes inside by Giovannino di Sondalo and Cipriano Valorsa.
Lastly, on the outskirts of the old town is the church of Santa Agnese, dating back to 1215, perched on a rocky outcrop where there once stood a castle.
Pineta di Sortenna, a pioneering Italian sanatorium
The Pineta di Sortenna is Italy’s leading sanatorium. Opened in 1903 and located in the pine forest above Sondalo, the sanatorium is notable for its art nouveau style architecture which is very different to the severe and austere hospital architecture of the time. Today, it is a spiritual centre, and its façade is full of balconies and verandas, once used by residents to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
A remarkable place, we recommend visiting when it is open to visitors.
Sondalo’s sanatorium village, a pioneering health centre in Sondalo
On the side of the mountain above Sondalo there is a huge sanatorium which, for a long time, held the title of Europe's largest. This is the Sondalo sanatorium village, a complex of nine buildings set in the forest which transformed the area into a temple of health.
The importance of this complex for the health of the whole of the Italian population has been well documented.
In Sondalo, the unique combination of clean mountain air, light and sunshine was the magic recipe for strengthening patients and helping them to recover.
But the Sondalo sanatorium was much more than a care home. During World War Two, the sanatorium housed, amid great secrecy, important works of art from major museums across the country and private collections.
Today, it is the leading hospital for the Valtellina and Italy. If you are interested in learning more about its history, visit the Museo dei Sanatori.
The sanatorium is so huge that, to avoid polluting the air, food and equipment were transported around the complex by cable cars.
Valle di Rezzalo, a small valley that will capture your heart
Inside the Stelvio National Park, the Valle di Rezzalo still retains its traditional charm of days gone by, with traditional little huts made of interlocking wooden logs and stones, as well as a wealth of flora and fauna of great natural interest.
Starting from the village of Fumero and climbing up the valley, following the course of the Rezzalasco river, there are numerous opportunities to go for country walks or bike rides in the summer or ski mountaineering tours in the winter. In summer, try the path that climbs towards Passo dell’Alpe. You can see remains of the line of World War One fortifications with tunnels, trenches and forts.
Al Romit, the oldest wooden cross in the Valtellina
The church of San Francesco in Sondalo houses the oldest wood carving in the region. This is the Al Romit crucifix, named after a hermit who lived in the church in which it was kept. This beautiful example of Romanesque art is notable for the intense expression and composure of Christ and the figure of Mary Magdalene, with a sorrowful and semi-recumbent pose, carved in a small space at the feet of Christ.