STAGE 3: Sondrio – Castionetto (16.4 km)
As you ascend the northern slope to exit Sondrio, you are immediately immersed in stunning scenery, surrounded by the enchanting terraced vineyards, overlooking the narrow Togno Valley.
It passes through the hamlet of Ponchiera, also entering leafy patches of chestnut groves. After the first 4 km uphill, the route continues without any particular elevation gain, reaching the village of Montagna in Valtellina, dominated by the romantic ruins of Castel Grumello. Another 2 km of mostly flat terrain leads to Poggiridenti, a natural balcony built on a glacial terrace, from which the terraces where tenacious vineyards rise can be seen downstream.
Once past Tresivio, the section leading to Ponte di Valtellina is characterized by alternating cultivation and forest on the slopes where the Rhon stream flows, and attention is caught by fields of olive trees. At km 14, after some slight ups and downs, the lively Valtellina village of Ponte is reached.
Finally, the trail descends from the village and then climbs back up to Castionetto di Chiuro, the finishing point of this stage. Here vineyards produce Fracia and Valgella and sometimes give way to apple orchards and groves.
Length: 16 km
Height difference in ascent: 550 m
Downhill elevation gain: 340 m
Highest point: 649 m
Lowest point: 335 m
Type of surface: mixed
Municipality of departure: Sondrio
Place of departure: Sondrio
Municipality of arrival: Chiuro
Place of arrival: Castionetto
All year round
The Terrace Trail is a route suitable for all bike lovers. Just over 70 km long, it runs through the Lower and Middle Valtellina and takes its name from the long rows of vines encountered on the way, with impressive visual impact. But in addition to vineyards and striking natural vistas, the Via dei Terrazzamenti offers a path of slow tourism, entering the most characteristic villages, discovering artisan workshops and stores of typical products, restaurants, wine stores and orchards. This local and cultural heritage is enriched even more by the remarkable monuments, churches, works of art and prehistoric sites along the Route.
The Via dei Terrazzamenti, which is maintained at an elevation between 300 and 800 meters (also on unpaved dirt roads), can be traveled in both directions in all seasons, but try to avoid the hottest summer days. Those who wish to tackle the Via consecutively can stay overnight at various locations along the route, while bus and rail links allow return to the starting point for those who prefer to travel the individual stages in one day
Credits gpx: Altarezia.eu and Distretto culturale della Valtellina
Credits ph: Luca Arzuffi, Jacopo Merizzi, Marco Brigatti, Ugo Zecca, Paola Balatti, Massimo Mandelli, Tamara Della Vedova and Fondazione Cariplo