Ponte di Legno is one of the best Italian destinations in the Alps, open all year round. Read on to know how to enjoy it.
I was crazy about skiing and then snowboarding, although I have never got good at it, and when my mum and dad decided to buy a little house in Zoanno, a district of Ponte di Legno in Val Camonica, I was beyond excited. I was 24 at the time, and I started to come to Ponte di Legno every winter for the ski season, and I was in awe every time.
I felt so lucky to be able to enjoy snow so often, although I didn’t see any hint of progress in my style and performance, but that was ok, I had so much fun. When I left Italy, to start a new life around the world, Ponte di Legno and my snowboard adventures were the things I missed the most.
I decided to include Ponte di Legno into my blog not only because it is such a dear place to me, one of my special homes in the world, but most of all because it is one of the most beautiful places that I consider worth visiting both in winter, for the amazing ski experience and in summer, when it offers a huge variety of hike and biking trails that you can easily do on your own and for every level of difficulties.
In this post, I will give you some general information about the area in which I will subsequently develop in more specific articles with the hope to offer you as many tips as possible and to inspire you to visit this beautiful region where Adamello Park and Stelvio Park meet.
Ponte di Legno in itself is a cute little town with only 1800 blessed souls (counting Ponte di Legno and the districts of Zoanno, Precasaglio, and Pezzo) in the low season, which become 25000 in the ski season. Located in Val Camonica, which is home of a UNESCO site, in Brescia province, and in the heart of Adamello Park, Ponte di Legno has always been a very popular sky resort among the northern bourgeois in Italy, but also a famous destination for many international tour company which would chose this awesome ski resort for their groups. Despite the huge urban development in the past 20 years, the cute town and its districts in the close surroundings were able to maintain its charm and beauty. On the contrary, the construction of residential and vacation rentals was a natural and necessary step after the huge development of the ski resorts that connect the mountain slopes in Ponte di Legno with the huge resorts in Tonale, at 14 km driving further up, and the close neighborhood of Temu’.
It’s a calming and soothing place far from the hustle and bustle of the city life and I loved to notice that despite the progress of technology and the fast-paced society we are living in, it has remained the same laid back and bucolic place, a little anachronistic if you want, but that’s probably what makes it so beautiful and attractive.
At a glance, you will notice the little wooden balconies and perfectly arranged flower pots full of colored flowers surrounded by the lush green mountains in the summer, while in winter everything turns white and immaculate.
The heart of Ponte di Legno is a piece of jewel in itself. Fancy shops, cute local architecture, all clean and in perfect order, delicious restaurants offering hearty local cuisine and a stream of water (actually two) running through the buildings which make it look like a perfect movie setting. Right in the center of town the two streams Narcanello and Frigidolfo actually merge to form the Oglio river. From our little cabin, located in Zoanno, a district just above town, we love to do our daily exercising, walking down and up in the morning and sit at the bar in the plaza or, during the evening, having our aperitif in the lovely bars around town. Our favorite is La Rasega, in the typical wooden mountain cabin style where you can sip delicious wine and taste local appetizers. But I will dedicate a full section to the local cuisine and bars.
Locals here are very kind and welcoming and the thing that I appreciate the most is the passion and pride they have for their own land, and who wouldn’t, when you live in such blessed place surrounded by nature, where you can still drink water from the natural source and eat cheese right after you see how it has been made? You are in full contact with nature without needing WIFI.
While I am gathering as many information as possible, I will leave you with useful addresses on which you can rely to organize your trip
Best hiking trails – All around Ponte di Legno and surroundings there are thousands of trails of any difficulty that you can hike without a guide. They are all well marked. I am going to share my experience with what I have done although it won’t be enough for sure, as the region is full of amazing trails and secret corners that you might want to explore.
To start with, you can check out these useful sites for more information:
Turismo Val Camonica – for a list of certified touristic guides, that will be able to take you and visit the historical and cultural side of Ponte di Legno, Vezza d’Oglio, and the entire Val Camonica.
PRO LOCO – It’s a local association which provides touristic information of any sort, trails and places to visit. The web site is in Italian but if you send them an email or you go personally once you get there they will offer you all the information in English.
The physical address is PRO LOCO PONTEDILEGNO Corso Milano, 37 25056 Ponte di Legno (Bs) Telefono: 3317148895 e-mail:[email protected]
CAI – It’s a national association with local branches constituted by local people passionate about their territory, who are working hard to organize local events and preserve the environment so that you can enjoy it and appreciate it fully.
PONTE DI LEGNO TONALE (ADAMELLO SKI )This website is the best I have found so far- they offer information both for summer and winter activities. It’s very complete and well organized.
Best Restaurants – As you know Italian cuisine is probably the best of the world, or so they say… but few know that we have a variety of cuisine and it is very regional; culinary specialities that you find here are very different from what you will find in Rome or Naples, although everything delicious but definitely different in taste. I will try to offer you a small guide of the best restaurant that you will find here in Ponte di Legno and surroundings, although wherever you go to eat here it will be very hard to be disappointed.
Best Hotels and Apartments – It has been very common to rent an apartment instead of booking a hotel although the hotel offer is great and very diverse. You can stay in Ponte di Legno or at Tonale or in the surrounding small town if you wish to have a cheaper solution. At the end of the day, it’s always advisable to have a car so that you can reach easily every destination. Please follow this path if you wish to see your best accommodation options. For Ponte di Legno; For Tonale
Skiing – here you will find information on the local ski schools and where they are located.
HOW TO GET THERE
Going to Ponte di Legno is very easy by car, if you set up your GPS you will get there from anywhere. But also by bus or train you have different options. Here below the sources where you can find updated schedule and time tables.
You can check the timetables here: You would need to connect to Brescia from any city and then look for Brescia- Edolo, which runs every hour. In Edolo you will find the BUS in connection to Ponte di Legno. There is no direct connection but I assure you the views are amazing and you will enjoy your rides. If you wish to spend a couple of days in Brescia on the way up or down, you won’t regret it. It’s an amazing city full of history and culture. (I will write a post soon)
Here is another link I have found to check your connection!
There is a Bus Line called SAB that runs daily from Milan to Ponte di Legno and you can check their schedule here
TAXI SERVICE – Autofficina Sandrini transfers from and to the airport and cities tel. 036494556 – Mob. 3683147976 – 347 6489202
Mountain transport with four wheels drives – if for any reasons you cannot walk or hike you can always hire a transport service with access to many amazing places so that you can enjoy your view as well. Just call for information and reservations the following numbers 348.8240521 or 036491289
FURTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
SHOPS OPENING HOURS – Remember in Italy we have a siesta :), therefore our shops of any kind are usually open in the morning from 8 to 12.30 and in the afternoon from 3.30/4.00 pm until 7.30 pm, except bars and restaurants of course. Also on Monday mornings shops are generally closed.
PHARMACY There is a Pharmacy by the main square which is closed on Sunday and Friday, however by the door you will find information on which other pharmacies are open in the surroundings.
WATER – Tap water is drinkable here. You might find a few fountains around town and during your hikes, which you can enjoy with no issue at all. It might be a little “ironish” in taste, but it’s ok to drink.
SHUTTLE BUSSES – In the snow season and in the high season of the summer ( from the end of June through the beginning of September), you will have a shuttle bus available connecting Ponte di Legno and other closer villages with the starting points of the trails in the surrounding area.
CAFES WITH WIFI – In Italy, it’s not so common to find Cafes or restaurants with WIFI and sometimes when you ask they look at you as if you asked for the moon. When I was here I needed desperately WIFI because my portable modem broke down and I needed to work so I felt like a beggar going places to ask for it. But I was lucky:
- BAR- RESTAURANT MASO GUERRA – it’s actually one of my favorite places to go because it’s very quiet and cozy and if you happen to be there for lunch or dinner, food is great too. The staff is lovely and on my second day the waiter remembered my order from the day before. What detail!
- BAR OLIMPIC – Not the best treatment but WIFI is great and it is right close to the station. The piadina with ham and mozzarella is great though 🙂
- BAR CASTELLACCIO- at the time I was there it was not installed yet since they had changed the management. But it was almost ready. The Bar is quite popular for the aperitive, therefore after 5 pm it gets crowded, but if you need to work during the day it should be ok.
- LE BRICIOLE RESTAURANT – Besides the best pizza ever, you can ask for WIFI access. I wouldn’t go there just for a coffee and WIFI but if you happen to go for lunch or dinner they won’t mind you using the wifi. The owner is really lovely and welcoming. One night I asked her to let me stay and work after my pizza and she was very helpful.
IMPORTANT FACTS AND EVENTS
- Ponte di Legno has been several times one of the stops of Giro d’Italia, the so popular international bike race.
- It’s home of the Adamello Sky Raid, An important and strenuous mountaineering race that takes place here in April every year. It is a prestigious and very hard competition where the bravest and mountain expert athletes fight against altitude, fatigue, and time to keep their title or sometimes just to get to the finish line. The quickest can do it in a little more than 3 hours while the slowest about 8 hours, with 8000 mt of altitude gain. To me, all those who participate are heroes just for showing up.
- LA GRANDE CORSA BIANCA ( the big white race) it’s a huge international event that takes place only in Ponte di Legno and this year in February, it was at its 4th edition. It’s a winter trail that you can run by foot, ski, or fat bike. The original race is 170 km long or the reduced one is 80 km. It’s an amazing event that crosses both parks, Adamello and Stelvio among historical remaining, typical architecture, wild animals, and overwhelming nature.
- Many other local events take place here and you can keep up to date by checking the CAI web site.