The history of Val di Mello
Who's was Valmasino – for many centurys the people of our valleys and villages was owned by someone – first part of the Roman Empire and later of the Sacred Roman Empire – property of convents, nobilty as all the land was given them for govern and gain.
For example at 922 ValMasino was given by Rodolfo II of Borgogna, the king of Italy, to the bishop of Pavia. The whole territory between the valley of “Ratti” and Valmasino was called in the middleages “Mount Domofle”, which later became of Vicedomini ( as the names of the nobile owners).
From this antique feudal organization derives also the collegation with the municipy of Mello, from which Valmasino will be separated only during 1800. This is why the name Val di Mello (17km far from Mello), as peasants who grazed the territory here were from Mello. Still today most of the land here belongs to Mello´s people and not Valmasino´s.
Valmasino has been very famous for its thermal waters, already 1460 the authority of Morbegno reccomends the hot waters to the Duke of Milan (Francesco Sforza), owner of Valtellina.Today there is a Bagni Masino Thermal resort working in Valle Bagni, with excellent services for all types of thermal care.
The excellent alpinistic resource will be discovered only at the end of 1800, as the Valtellina becomes a province of the Italian Kingdom. English, american and german alpinists begin the exploration, followed soon by italians. The names of our peaks and walls are among the most known for the alpinists arround the world. But the massive climbers and tourism increase began only at the late 1970-s, as young people from all over the world began creating here new climbs, very different from the traditional alpinistic paths . Now there has been a further development in the mountain-sports as a new wave like bouldering has enourmousley increased the climbing possibilities in the Val di Mello, but also in rest of Valmasino.
Valmasino is now one of the few places in Italy where the bouldering opportunities attract thousands of young people into the mountains.
The Val di Mello is a magical place, both hard and severe, with granithic mountains and plain and peaceful during the beautiful summerdays, when you can admire the magnificent meadows full of flowers and you have no scent of the power of the nature when, it should fly into a rage. Here generations of peasants have seen the snowstorms, bursts of the wind to take you away, waterfalls of rain, flooding rivers and avalanges still in may! At the same time you have charming springdays, hot or even sultry summers and postcard winters with meters of snow covering everything, that you´ll remember forever.
When you step out from your car, instantly you´ll smell the fresh air, and depending of the period the scent of different flowers, in the distance also the delicate sound of cowbells ringing together the rumour of the river falling in the background.
This is Val di Mello - in front of the magnificent mount Discrazia you´ll feel yourself protected in the little paradise of this valley, surrounded by its majestic walls.. This place will always remain in your hearts, special as it is, sooner or later one always returns here, does´nt matter whether you have seen the valleys pacific or angry side.
“The Valley” is located in the alpine-group of Masino-Bregaglia- Discrazia, which in 2009 became a natural reserve. The valley is east to west oriented and is almost compleatley flat, laying at1050-1150meters from the sealevel, where it begins to rise after rifugio”Rasica” [a good place to eat also!] following the path until Alpe Pioda.
At your left Val di Mello opens to the lateral valleys, beginning from Val del Ferro (the only valley still in use for graze of cows, taken up at over 2000m by Mello´s peasants), Val Levincina, Val Qualido(two), Val Zocca, Val Torrone, then arriving in the center with Val Cameraccio and Alpe Pioda and following at the right side by Val Remoluzza, Val Romilla, Val Temola, Val Mezzola and concludes with Val Arcanzola.
In Val di Mello you can exercise on excellent granith walls, exposed to south, which offer a great quantity of “climbs”, very different in length and difficulty. The good period for visiting our valley is from march till november.
Here we nominate only a few of the climbs most famous like the ones on“ Precipizio degli Astereoidi” – The “ Oceano Irrazionale”, “ Pappagallo”, or others like “ Via Paolo Fabbri 43”, “ Gli Oracoli di Ulisse”and “Luna Nascente”.
To reach the valley you should follow the state highway nr.38, at the Ardenno location you continuo on indications towards Valmasino. After 13 km. the road reaches the S.Martino village, where at the second hairpin bend going to the right begins the road for Val di Mello (going left the road goes to Bagni Masino thermal resort).
The road to Val di Mello is closed during summer, only with permits and the camping customers are allowed to enter, at your arrival to our campground we shall procure you the necessary pass for transit during your stay here. You do not need to take the ticket in S.Martino parkingplace!
Besides the sporting activities, the Val di Mello has become a place of relax for many families, who visit it for simple walking, pick-nic or some visit to the lateral alpes, stays at the campings, swimming in the river or fishing competitions, etc, etc. Every year the number of the visitors increases, also thanks to the ulterior activities organized by the municipy of Valmasino in Cataeggio, Filorera and S.Martino.
Is rapresented by the unique presence of “Gigiat”! He is seen very rareley but its only habitat exists only here! When you reach S.Martino you can see a big affresco of him rapresented on a wall at the entrance of the village, if you are respectful of the nature , you´ll have nothing to be afraid of in meeting him, otherwise is better you watch out! In the rest of Italy this animal does not exist, so to give him a look you have only here.
Besides the Gigiat there are several other animals in Val di Mello, foxes, goats, ibexes, deers and roe-deers, hares, partridges, squirrels, dormouses, ermines and so on! As the Val di Mello now has become a national reserve, there is no hunting allowed here, so rising a bit in the velley, it is quite easy to see the wild goats or at the Alpe Pioda you can often see a big fox hunting some hare. Last year during the evening the deers often came by until the camping-ground, wondering around undisturbed.
Even though the valley is visited by thousands of turists every day, in the evening it still turns into the wild and magical paradise it´s always been!
Val di Mello today