THE RACE AND THE TERRITORY
The first edition of the Valle Spluga Gravel Marathon will embody all of this
Valchiavenna is looking forward to being conquered by the gravel world, a philosophy that combines nature with sport, grit with style, good company with food and wine satisfaction.
Four Gravel and Mountain Bike routes to discover the tracks, the panoramic views, the emotions that this corner of Lombardy generates when you cycle through it.
This winning formula, blending competition and bicycle touring, enables everyone to take part in a true experiential tour in the full gravel spirit.
If you are a cycling explorer, looking for a unique territory in terms of culture, morphology and climatic conditions;
If you are a competitor, you will find the 2 most challenging time-trial sections to test yourself and others.
If you are a gourmet and want to enjoy a day with family or friends, stops with gastronomic tastings will be your goal.
This is your event; this is your day: Sunday 17 September 2023.
Valchiavenna: land of magical sensations located in the heart of the Rhaetian Alps, a breath away from Como Lake, a step away from the enchanted valleys of Madesimo and St. Moritz and a crossroads between the Spluga and Maloja passes.
Clean air, unspoiled landscapes and breathtaking views await all hikers who choose this Alpine valley as their destination.
Over 50 km of slopes await two-wheel enthusiasts. The main cycle-pedestrian itinerary develops from Villa di Chiavenna, connection point with the cycling route of the Swiss Val Bregaglia, up to Verceia, a few km before Como Lake. From adherence itineraries to overhangs, from short monotypes to routes of a few hundred meters, from natural cliffs to monoliths: the variety is wide and the offer is complete.
The Municipality of Chiavenna is located at the foot of the Rhaetian Alps, where the valley of the Liro river (Val San Giacomo or Valle Spluga) and that of the Mera river (Val Bregaglia) meet.
It was this strategic location that made the town fortune since ancient times: at the crossroads of the roads to Milan and Como, along the Maloia and Spluga passes.
For centuries Chiavenna has presented itself with a coherent and harmonious aspect: the beautiful houses, the portals and the soapstone fountains are the evidence of how rich and important this town was at the time of the great trade with central Europe.
The current historic center is considered to have a sixteenth-century layout, as the medieval town was destroyed by a fire in 1486. The construction of the walls by Ludovico il Moro followed. In the first half of the seventeenth century Chiavenna participated in the insurrection of the Valtellina people against the oppression of the Grisons.
In more recent times in historical chronology it was dominated by the French and the Austrians before being reunited with the Italian motherland in 1859.
At an altitude of 1070 m., there is Campodolcino, a village lying on a vast green plain crossed by the Liro river.
Campodolcino is the starting point for splendid panoramic walks both on the Lepontine side, with the basin of S. Sisto and Alpe Servizio, dominated by Pizzo Quadro and Pian dei Cavalli, and on the Rhaetian side with Alpe Angeloga, the towering Pizzo Stella, the small lakes of Mottala and the villages of Gualdera and Bondeno.
Campodolcino is an important stop on the historic Via Spluga, which still today connects the Swiss town of Thusis to Chiavenna, with a suggestive hiking route.
Campodolcino is an excellent base for mountain bike tours. You can tackle routes of all kinds of difficulty and height difference: from the flat raspberry trail along the Liro river in the valley floor, to the “Fraciscio-Motta” MTB itinerary characterized by slopes in some sections of more than 20%. The more adventurous bikers will be able to test their skills on more technical all-mountain / enduro itineraries such as San Sisto and Pian dei Cavalli, Val d’Avero … and others.
Immersed in greenery and kissed by the sun, surrounded by peaks over 3000 m and dotted with alpine lakes, Madesimo is the ideal place to spend your summer holidays.
Madesimo is also unique to discover by bike: from mountain bike routes to e-bike itineraries, from the ascent to the Spluga Pass to the descents in the Bike Park.
The possibilities to enjoy the mountains on foot, on two wheels and even on horseback are endless.
Located at an altitude of 1.550 meters above sea level, a few kilometers from the border with Switzerland, Madesimo owes its notoriety as a tourist resort both in summer and in winter to its particular geographical position and to the possibility of being able to ski during the winter season, up to an altitude of 3.000 m, ensuring optimal snow cover from December to April.
Montespluga is an alpine village, overlooking the lake at 1908 meters, along the road that climbs from Chiavenna towards the Spluga Pass.
The village has preserved its original appearance with the houses around the road and the old customs building called La Casa, rich in water and pastures in the presence of the border peaks of the area.
It is the starting point for numerous hiking, mountaineering and ski-mountaineering destinations and a transit point along the Via Spluga route. There are various excursions that Montespluga offers and proposes, the views are beautiful and the atmosphere is evocative.
Isola is the first hamlet that you meet going up, in the municipality of Madesimo.
A mandatory stop for travelers on the Via Spluga, from here you can go through the Cardinello gorge, one of the most evocative stretches of the entire route to reach Montespluga and then enter Switzerland.
The Carden paths network has also been created in Isola, winding through picturesque mountain pastures, the Carden are historic buildings built with the “blockbau” technique.
A food and wine tour
Have you ever been inside a crotto?
At the Valle Spluga Gravel Marathon you will have to: it is a ‘must’ in this area of Lombardy, which is just over an hour from Milan!
Crotti are natural cavities typical of the mountainous regions of the Alps, particularly the Valchiavenna.
The natural conformation of these cavities, the temperatures and the internal drafts have made crotti the ideal place for storing and seasoning food.
Over time, they have become true typical taverns, where only traditional dishes are served.
Brisaola and goat’s fiddle
At Gravel Marathon Valle Spluga you should definitely try some local specialties such as goat’s fiddle or Valchiavenna brisaola.
Goat´s fiddle is made from the shoulder or thigh of a goat. Made from animals reared in a semi-wild state and fed with wild herbs, it was given its name because of the way it is cut, by resting a napkin under the chin of the animal while the other hand cuts it with a knife, like a bow!
In Valchiavenna there are records of the production of “bresaola” (for some deriving it from ‘’brisa’, a very salty bovine gland, or from ‘brasa’, embers in dialect), in all its stages up to curing (in crotti) and smoking, as far back as the 15th century.
You will certainly have something to tell your friends at the end of your Gravel experience in Valchiavenna!
Heroic viticulture and a wine shop... one of the highest in Europe
Why not taste the best local wines in one of Europe’s highest wine bars, the Albergo della Posta at over 2,000 metres above sea level?
By participating in the Gravel Marathon, you can enjoy the Spluga Valley area while discovering the local food and wine tradition.
One of the most important characteristics of the area is its bond with viticulture, admirably testified by the daring terraces on which the vineyards have been carved out with immense effort and constant commitment of generations, so much so that it has been defined as “Heroic Viticulture” and entered the restricted list of localities protected by the U.N.E.S.C.O. as a World Heritage Site.
In the wine we find clear traces of the colours, scents and flavours of the earth, the rocks, the sun and the cold of the Valtellina mountains that give its grape variety, the noble nebbiolo “Chiavennasca”, an original imprint.
Latteria cheese from Valchiavenna are a delicacy produced in the dairies in the lower valley.
The taste varies according to maturity: the young cheese (60-70 days) is soft and delicate, rich in the scent of fresh milk.
The longer the cheese ages, the more intense the flavour becomes, with a rather spicy aftertaste.
A flavour that will make your stay in the area special for the Gravel Marathon Valle Spluga! 😉
Biscotti, biscotìn e... Oss de morda
Biscotìn de Pròst’, biscuits from Chiavenna, Fioretto cake and “Oss de mord” (bones to bite), Montagnoli: the cuisine of Valchiavenna is full of delicious desserts, created by mixing local ingredients of such a rich area.
What about you? Which one do you prefer? 😋
If you haven’t already done so, you can enjoy them at the Gravel Marathon Valle Spluga