Why Valchiavenna will always have a place in my heart

On Sunday we finally got to the mountains. We went up to Gualdera above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. Valchiavenna is the valley that leads up from the top of Lake Como all the way to Val Bregaglia and then Switzerland and up to St Moritz. I spent a lot of time there when I was young, or rather the part when I was young in Italy, and so whenever I go there it always feels like going home in a way, even more so on Sunday because we went there with old friends who were there the first time round too. Years ago we camped up on a high mountain plain called Angeloga by the lake near the mountain refuge. It rained all night and the tents got slightly battered while we stayed up and talked about our lives and our dreams. I was the young English woman – or probably girl is more accurate – halfway up a mountain with her now husband and his mates.

I have this dream of getting an old baita (rustic house) up there in Valchiavenna one day. I’ll write there and walk and learn to cook pizzoccheri the way they do up in Valchiavenna, roughly shaped potato and stale bread gnocchi oozing in local butter and cheese. I’ll also keep hens, but above all I’ll be back in my beloved mountains.

I’ll write about Valchiavenna more over the coming days, about the places and the food, but in the meantime I made a video of some of the scenes we saw. There’s talk of Lombardy becoming an orange zone again along with other regions in Italy. Italy’s split into zones at the moment – yellow, orange and red, with red being the most restrictive. If we become an orange that will put a stop to days out, and so because of this it all feels more precious.

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