Via Priula, Walks in Lombardy
Via Priula is a hiking route of great historical value. It closely follows the ancient trading route built in 1593 by Alvise Priuli, the Venetian Podestà of Bergamo, to connect the Po Valley with Valtellina and the Alps and beyond.
Its political and strategic importance stemmed from the fact that it linked Bergamo with the Splügen and Septimer Passes, which belonged to the Grigioni, without encroaching on the territories of the Duchy of Milan.
With the opening of this new route, the Republic of Venice – in open competition with Milan – strengthened its trading relationship with the countries on the other side of the Alps, Germany and Flanders. Now, it is possible to walk Via Priula from Chiavenna to Bergamo, passing though the valley floor of Valchiavenna, Pian di Spagna, Bassa Valtellina, the Bitto di Albaredo and Brembana Valley and vice versa. It is a long route – of which there is also a cycling version – which passes through a cross section of Lombardy's alpine and pre-alpine territories. Expect a wealth of monuments, points of cultural interest, gastronomic specialities, inviting guest houses and hotels.
Part of the route – especially in the mountain section – follows an ancient mule track, while the valley floors feature country roads, cycle/pedestrian tracks and other paths. In total, Via Priula stretches for around 140km and takes several days to complete. At 1992m above sea level, the San Marco Pass is route's highest point.
Over 40 years ago, the Transorobica road replaced the old track through the Bergamasque Alps and pre-Aps, but many of the place names, smaller roads and buildings preserve its ancient past.
At the San Marco Pass, where the road reaches 2000m above sea level, visitors can admire the ancient cobblestones, the old road inspector's house and a large boundary stone.
The wide, covered porticos of the town's main street are a reminder of times gone by, when merchants would stop here to rest, unloading their mules and horses and storing their goods.
It is a varied route which invites visitors to observe their surroundings and reflect on man's role in the transformation of the landscape.
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