Those who love the Valtellina, but do not know the hidden secrets, could take advantage of Easter Monday to take a trip of nature and history in the ancient village of Grosio, a few kilometers away from the most famous Tirano. On the state road that leads to Bormio, in fact, just before the tunnels that form the antechamber to the Alta Valtellina, stands this small mountain village that is noticed by motorists especially for its manor, the New Castle, located on the top of a hill set between the valley of the Roasco torrent and that of the Adda and belonged to the Visconti family in 1500.
If you immediately notice the series of agricultural terraces (very similar to those in Liguria) surrounded by dry-stone walls that surround the hill, only those who decide to stop in Grosio will be able to discover the most remote roots of the Valtellina: behind the New Castle The remains of another still more ancient castle, that of San Faustino, dating back to 1100, lie as jealously guarded. Some ruins remain of this fortress, including the Romanesque bell tower belonging to the Castellana Church of Saints Faustino and Giovita, which preserves, in the center of the presbytery, two medieval tombs carved into the rock.
Our journey to discover the remote roots of the Valtellina begins right here, from Dosso dei Castelli, where the Rock Engravings Park develops, which represents the most exhaustive testimony of the ancient local populations. Established in 1978 by a consortium composed of the Province of Sondrio, the Mountain Community of Tirano and the municipalities of Grosotto and Grosio, thanks to the donation of the lands and medieval remains by the marquise Margherita Pallavicino Mossi Visconti Venosta, the park stands as main purpose the enhancement of the rocks with incisions, including the Rupe Magna.
Discovered in 1966, the Rupe Magna is one of the largest rocks of the entire Alpine arc, with over 5,000 depictions dating from the end of the Neolithic and the Iron Age. The engravings tell the everyday life of the Valtellina ancestors, through the representation of rupestrian instruments, such as cupels and rakes, of anthropomorphic figures, of animals and also of medieval crosses. According to scholars, most of the engravings were made with the technique called "a martellina", obtained by tapping the rocky surface with a stone striker, thus creating small circular concavities.
Between 1992 and 1997, the excavations carried out in the south-western area of the New Castle brought to light the remains of a settlement that dates back to the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Archaeologists hypothesize the presence of populations coming from the upper Rhine valley (the current Canton of Grisons in Switzerland) and from the central-eastern Alps (today's Trentino-Alto Adige). The exhibits are exhibited in the Antiquarium, where visitors can learn about the origins of Valtellina through tables and information panels.
Grosio, however, not only holds this archaic and mystical charm. The village is located in a scenic area of great impact. Behind the village, in fact, the Rhaetian Alps rise up, in the midst of which the Val Grosina takes off, perhaps little known but ideal for hiking or mountain biking, between ponds and waterfalls, including also sacred buildings, churches, shrines, chapels and mountain huts. Stop for a break in Malghera, at 1958 meters above sea level: here is the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Muschio, built in the 1920s following a miracle event that took place here. The church dedicated to the Madonna of Lourdes in Eita and the small church of Sant'Antonio in Biancadino are also worth a visit. In short, if you are in Valtellina and pass through Grosio, you can rediscover the past of the Valtellinese people through the presence of very precious remains and breathe the typical mountain atmosphere. A day of relaxation, out of areas more touristy congested, like the beautiful Bormio and Livigno, and immersed in total peace.