Perpendicular to the contour of the Alps and nestled into the Swiss canton of Grisons, Valchiavenna is a veritable open-air museum: it embraces an area of considerable importance for its history and strategic borderline location that served as an important transitway. It is also renowned for its unique natural elements, such as the soapstone. The valley is ideally divided into three parts: one part is dominated by the plain of the Chiavenna valley, the key of the Alps, characterised by an elegant urban environment that served since Roman times as a trading centre towards the north, one part directed towards the Spluga pass with its snowy peaks and finally, the granite Bregaglia Valley, facing north-east towards St Moritz.
Valchiavenna offers numerous opportunities for winter sports and entertainment: skiing, telemark skiing, snow kiting and cross country skiing. Visitors can also enjoy Nordic walking, a type of hiking performed with special sticks or fitted snowshoes, a way to exercise freely, at your own pace. Those who prefer ice skating can head to the indoor facility near Pratogiano, which remains open even on rainy days. Valchiavenna is also a destination for rock climbing, bouldering (a unique type of climbing over boulders and large stone blocks), mountain biking, canyoning and fishing.
Valchiavenna is also known for its grottos, some of which are open to the public and have been converted into restaurants that serve authentic and rich traditional cuisine in a characteristic environment with a touch of sophistication. These are natural cellars (that formed under the boulders of ancient landslides) from which a "sorel" blows, a current of air that maintains the temperature constant (cool in summer and warm in winter), making this an ideal environment for ageing wines and curing meats and sausages. In Valchiavenna, almost every town has its own area where grottos form groups of highly impressive building and urban layouts, leaning against each other and embedded into the rocks.
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