With its 130,700 hectares, in the heart of the Central Alps, the Stelvio is a typical high-altitude mountain park: about three quarters of its territory is above 2,000 meters and reaches a maximum of 3,905 m at the top of the Ortles.
The Ortles-Cevedale group, on the border between Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, is its geographical heart.
The areas at the bottom of the valley are characterized by the presence of mowing meadows while the slopes are dominated by coniferous woods; going up further, you reach the alpine prairie which, with the increase in altitude, becomes more and more discontinuous to give way to those species that grow, as isolated specimens, even at very high altitudes.
The fauna counts, only among the vertebrates, more than 260 species. The important presence of great birds of prey (golden eagle and lammergeyer), the rich populations of deer and ibex, marmots, white hares, ermines, etc., deserve to be remembered.
Besides being a Park with great scenery and luxuriant nature, the Stelvio is also a Park rich in history. During the First World War, the western end of the combat front ran here. Many traces of those tragic events still remain today, especially in the Braulio Valley and the Stelvio Pass, the Forni Valley and the Gavia Valley. Military roads and mule tracks, trenches and military villages still bear witness to the events of the “White War”.
The protected area involves as many as twenty-three municipalities more or less widely included within it (ten in Lombardy, ten in the Province of Bolzano and three in the Province of Trento).
Each of the municipalities of the Park is an ideal starting point for the exploration of the protected area. Its 1500 km of paths allow you to venture out and discover the nature and human landscapes of the Stelvio.
Bormio is a small town on the southern border of the Stelvio and Valtellina National Park.
It is renowned for its thermal baths and for being an important ski centre. It is a fantastic destination all year round and not only for its hot thermal springs but also for the mountain passes appreciated by cyclists and motorcyclists, numerous hiking trails and much more.
Kuerc Square (“lid” in Valtellina dialect) and Bajona Tower: it looks like an amphitheatre-shaped canopy with benches inside. It dates back to the 14th century and has always been the place where meetings were held and justice administered: decrees and sentences were displayed on its columns. On its left are still present the base of the sedan where once the condemned were chained.
Bajona Tower or “Torre delle Ore“: together with the Kuerc is one of the symbols of Bormio and dominates the main square of the town. The name of the tower refers to the large bell that was once part of the construction, whose sound summoned the Major Council that ruled the county and the gatherings of the people. The large size was also used to make the sound reach the surrounding valleys.
Not only that, the sound of the bell also warned in occasion of popular festivities, in case of fire or enemy invasion. A legend tells that the overly vigorous and long-lasting chimes, a sign of the approach of the Visconti troops, then caused the bell to fall, which shattered to the ground.
Baths of Bormio:
The Bagni Vecchi are ancient Roman baths and centuries old caves that use the beneficial properties of millenary springs, offering the opportunity to take a real journey through time of over two thousand years. They offer various thermal baths and have a panoramic outdoor swimming pool overlooking the town and the valley.
The Bagni Nuovi, instead, of more recent construction, are composed of four sectors with different thermal paths and a sauna covered in stone pine from the early nineteenth century.
Civic Museum: it is a small but precious museum composed of 27 rooms and located in Palazzo De Simoni, in the historical centre of Bormio: it contains over 4,000 objects that tell the culture, crafts, work, folklore and religious life of the territory.