Livigno, a small town in the northernmost part of the northernmost province of Lombardy, is best known as a ski destination. However, this town almost on the border with Switzerland, has a lot to offer in the summer months as well. I dare say – maybe even more than in the winter.
The history of Livigno is riddled with moves and decisions that have brought people to this very remote part of Italy. The valley of Livigno, shaped by the river simply called Big Water (Akua Granda) and surrounded on all sides by the imposing Alpine passes, was very difficult to access in old times. Even today, in the wintertime, it is advisable to investigate well if any of the passes are impassable before embarking on the Livigno road. Only three roads lead to the town. Two links to Switzerland. The first one through the Forcola di Livigno Pass at 2,315 meters. It is open in summer only. The second access is through the Munt la Schera Tunnel. The third road is connected to other parts of Italy through the Foscagno Pass at 2,291 meters.
One of my favorite legends from this area is that the first settlers were people of Slavic origin who traveled up the Danube to its tributary, the Inn, before moving further up the river to the Spöl. What is certainly not a legend is the fact that in the 1840s, the Austrian Empire declared Livinho a tax-free zone to support the development of the then very poor Livinho. The Kingdom of Italy confirmed this status, and today the Republic of Italy has continued the tradition of exempting Livigno from some fees.
The status of the duty-free zone has helped the development of Livigno and today it is a beautiful Alpine town filled with traditional wooden houses. Also located in a pristine natural landscape, there are over a hundred modern hotels. They offer a rich winter holiday at ski resorts. You’ve likely heard about Livigno as a ski center and winter destination.
Like most winter centers, Livigno aims to extend its rich winter season into the summer months. During summer the town traditionally offered accommodation for mountaineers, hikers, and nature lovers. Taught by the example of one relatively close town – Bormio, Livigno has been increasingly attracting mountain biking enthusiasts in recent years.
If I had to compare Livigno to popular mountain biking locations in France, I’d say that Livigno compensates lack of extreme cycling content with the incredible beauty of the countryside. Although you have a wide selection of single-track biking trails, they are not as demanding and widespread. But the choice of all-mountain treks is very rich and diverse.
In the end, I will dare to express an opinion that I will not find many like-minded. Namely, we all know that Italy is a beautiful country. One of the most beautiful in Europe. When it comes to the beauties of Italy, the most frequently mentioned area is the province of Tuscany with its hills and rich vineyards. Don’t get me wrong, Tuscany is beautiful and without a discussion worth a visit, but … The very north of Italy, province of Lombardy and the particularly remote areas along the Swiss border are incomparably more beautiful to me.
For me, this is the best Italy has to offer.