San Pellegrino, the “four season” well-being
Water is the leading theme in San Pellegrino Terme, a village in the heart of the Brembana Valley where relax and cuddles are daily pleasures in the landscape of the Orobie Pre-Alps. The thermal water from the source Vita and its therapeutic properties have been approved by the Health Department since 1992. So this village has become an oasis of well-being where you can take care of yourself and try all the customized invigorating treatments far from your daily busy life. Relaxing in the mountains, the cycle routes, the route from Zogno to Piazza Brembana along more than 20 kilometres and the many possibilities to explore the valley from a different point of view by kayaking in the river Brembo or by going fishing make this village an ideal destination to be lived throughout the whole year.
Art Nouveau is all around
In San Pellegrino Terme time stopped at the beginning of the XXth century, in the middle of the Belle Époque when the life enjoyment used to dominate the feelings of the upper-middle classes that were searching for leisure activities that could be easily reached by their carriages. If you walk along this place you can still sense the elegance of that time when the Romanov or the Savoia families used to go there to “go through waters”. Between the end of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth century the village near Bergamo became one of the most glamorous “villes d’eaux” in Europe thanks to the construction of the Casinò, the Grand Hotel, the mineral water bottling plants, the constructions of beautiful private villas and finally thanks to the construction of the Thermal Baths and the room of Soda Drinks, a real triumph of Art Nouveau. If you visit these places you’ll go back in time and you’ll see how the wealthy people used to spend an entire season at the Thermal Baths and used to relax by listening to good music, by attending dance parties and by eating very good food. You can enjoy all these cuddles too after more than one century and you can quietly and fully sip them.
The healing water
San Pellegrino is an icon of water. You can’t leave this village without making a toast. The legend goes that Leonardo Da Vinci, Federico Fellini, Salvatore Quasimodo have been among the most famous supporters of the “healing water” of San Pellegrino since 1200. The village is an ideal destination for the ones who are seeking for a relaxing time thanks to the healing effects of the source water. Water comes out of three main sources at 26 degrees of temperature and it is a mix of different sources, Palazzolo, Salaroli and Fonte Vecchia, they come down from the rocks before coming out of the soil when they are pure and rich of mineral salts. To make the mineral aftertaste sweeter the bubbles were added at the beginning of the XXth century so the village of San Pellegrino became a symbol of sprinkling water as well.
Well-being in the green
You can relax in San Pellegrino also by hiking up the surrounding mountains along the quiet tracks while you’re enjoying the view of the Orobie Mountains and the Brembana Valley. You can reach the iron cross on the peak of Mount Zucco that watches over the village, the green fields, the forests, the farms with a climb of 245 metres. Reaching the tiny village of Sussaia is an exciting experience through a mule-track and the Tribulina Madrera dedicated to Madonna delle Grazie. The historical cable-way Centro-Vetta is going to be restarted after 100 years. You’ll be able to reach the park on the peak (parco della vetta) and visit the Caves of Dreams (Grotte del Sogno), go through the woods up to the Boione source surrounded by the waterfalls, the natural pools and the Liberty houses of the district of San Pellegrino Kulm.
Caves and diorama
The Caves of Dreams are among the wonders of nature in San Pellegrino: a tiny net of stalactites and stalagmites with peculiar shapes and colours, it sounds a dreamlike experience. The caves, three pits on a single fault, were discovered in1931 by Emenegildo Zanchi and they were reopened for the tourists in 2012 after a stop that lasted thirty years. On a sunny day you can reach this charming place along a mule-track that goes up from the Casinò to the Vetta district and you can enjoy the landscape near the river Brembo and the surrounding peaks. On rainy days the Natural Science Museum deserves a visit. It is located at Villa Speranza where you can see a 3D exhibition of one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of the Orobie Pre-Alps: the basin of Calvi with Pizzo del Diavolo in the background and a number of specimen of the area’s vegetation in the foreground. The diorama has been made by the German artist Uve Thuernau.
Tasty San Pellegrino
A number of Doc types of cheese, the polenta taragna covered with a lot of good cheese mainly the Bitto and the Branzi are the protagonist of the tables in this village where the pleasure for life matches the good food. The village and the whole Brembana Valley are a paradise for cheese lovers: you can taste the “strachitunt” Dop, an herbal cheese that has been produced since 1800 by mixing the evening curd with the morning one then the cheese is stewed and it goes through the salting process; the “formai de mut”, the cheese from the mountain pastures from the Alta Val Brembana including the taleggio Dop is a must as well while the Agrì from Valtorta must be tasted too since it belongs to the Slow Food Movement. Let’s mention the historical Bitto, the stracchino cheese from the Valleys and the Branzi. A place of honour on the tables of San Pellegrino Terme is given to the chestnuts that are used to make the gnocchi (a type of pasta), the soups, the sweets and the typical dishes of hare meat and venison with the wild herbs among which there is the “parùch”, the wild spinach that is mixed with the cream and the cheese to become a fantastic sauce to be tasted with the sausages and the corn polenta.
Sleeping, tasting, buying
San Pellegrino Terme is in the heart of the Mountains that surround Bergamo. The reference address is Albergo Centrale, that offers several equipped rooms, the well-being centre and a restaurant not just for the hotel’s guests but for anyone aiming at spending a beautiful day. The Albergo Papa has a long tradition, there’s a meeting room and a dining- room where the typical local dishes are served; all the rooms have been restyled in the hotel Avogadro, where the specialties from the city are served in the big dining room among which the polenta taragna and the typical casoncelli (a type of pasta). Risotto, casoncelli, polenta and stewed meat are some of the specialties that are offered at the Restaurant Tirolese, that has been based in the centre of the thermal city since 1976; there’s a dining room arranged on two levels and a mezzanine. There’s a lot of polenta taragna in the menu of the Restaurant Cafè Liberty, an ideal location for the feasts as well. The typical casoncelli ( a type of filled pasta), the polenta with the Branzi cheese and a lot of venison like the deer and the roe are the protagonist at the Restaurant Il Riposo, facing the International Thermal Baths building of Sanpellegrino, very well-known for the production of its water. If you want to bring home the tastes of San Pellegrino Terme there’s the brewery Via Priula where you can buy some good home-made beer like the Bohemian pils, the blanche, the dappelbock, the American lager and the fruit beer. The store of the dairy farm Giupponi is a mandatory stop since you can buy genuine products among which the cheese made of cow’s milk like the ricotta cheese, the crescenza cheese, the primo sale and the Agrì from San Pellegrino Terme or the seasoned cheese like the Branzi and the Bitto. Besides the cheese you can also buy the salami, the sauces and the jams produced by the farms spread in the valley.
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