Spaghetti fields of Livigno, Italy.
Last year I organised a day trip to Italy with 30 of my colleagues to the Lombardy region of Italy for a foodie tour which not only visited a couple of fine vineyards to partake of the wonderful aromatic wines of the region but more importantly to partake of one of the worlds most delicious foods on earth.
The coach turned up to collect my group of excited co workers at 06:00 hours and before we knew it we were whizzing down the M23 to Gatwick airport. Thankfully we had no hand baggage to check in and were quickly through security where we then went straight to the boarding gate for our flight to Milans Linate airport. Our flight took off sharply at 08:00 and we arrived at 10:00 Italian time.
We quickly disembarked and flew through the airport to our waiting coach. We drove around the perimeter of Milan skirting the industrial city taking us out into the wonderful Lombardy countryside with the fantastic vineyards hugging the hills of the area. By 11:30 we pulled into one of the first vineyards that we would experience that day. We had a quick tour of the vineyard before a quick wine tasting of the wonderful tasty and aromatic wines of the vineyard. We were out of the vineyard before we knew it and on our way to the unique spaghetti fields of the most famous of the brands spaghetti growers the Baralli farm. We were met by the king of pasta producers Mr Covalli and his amply built wife Maria Consuela di Covalli who was to be our guide around the orchards.
After a ten minute climb up the slowly rolling hills we came across the orchard and there in front of us was the Spaghetti trees all neatly lined with reams of three foot long spaghetti hanging from the branches of the spaghetti trees. She explained that these trees are nearly as hardy as Olive trees but the spaghetti grows over the cooler winter months so that they are ready for harvesting by the end of March by which time it is about 3 foot long. She invited us to pick the spaghetti off the trees which we proceeded to do and before we knew it we were all laden down with punnets of spaghetti.
We returned to the farmstead where massive pots of boiling water was waiting for us. We dropped some of the 3 foot long spaghetti into the boiling water and let it bubble away for five minutes exactly. Remember this was the freshest of spaghetti and had not been in the processing room for drying out. We served it up with Bolognaise and opened a few bottles of the wonderful Lombardy wine which helped to wash it all down.
Soon we were all stuffed and heading back to the airport to catch our return flight to London Gatwick airport. Of course there were a few who over indulged and were not feeling too good on the returning flight due to over consumption of alcohol. At this stage I would like to wish you a pinch and a punch for the first day of month.
Written especially for Dooyoo this 1st day of April 2013.
Recently returned from Livigno on a boarding trip (Feb '10). Took us 7.5 hours to get to Livigno resort after renting cars from Milano airport - a proper mission!! So much so, we all chipped in to buy a tax-free EU TomTom for the return journey - bargain and saved us 4 hours drive time! ;) The resort is awesome and well presented (looks brand new), with friendly helpful locals, cheap well furb'd restaurants - stone baked pizzas as low as 4euros, steak 12euros, pint 3euros!! Duty-Free shopping too - though don't be fooled, some shops were much more expensive than the UK! Runs were great for all standards, nice wide gradual (fairly quiet) runs for beginners up to more challenging quieter runs for the advanced boarder. Has some great parks though access was limited due to the annual Livigno River Jump comp' heats taking place! LIVIGNO 4.5 STAR Recommended
Livigno is such a great place for a Holiday!!
Livigno is situated in the North of Italy, about 5 hrs away from Milano. It is a valley situated in the heart of the Alps.
Me and my friend spent an unforgettable 11 day holiday at Livigno in March of 2006.
We were new to skiing but that was not a problem at all cause at Livigno there are about 7 schools were you can learn to ski.
We learnt to ski @ San Rocco Skiing area (next to the church). Our instructor was great; he was very helpful and patient with us. San Rocco is a very good place for beginners, and then intermediates can ski at Carosello and Mottolino.
The hotel we stayed at was awesome. The family run "Hotel Astoria" is located very close to the skiing piste Carosello 3000 and San Rocco.
The food is excellent and so is the service. We used to have clean towels and sheets everyday.
Shopping is really great at livigno. I must say that clothes are very expensive to buy, for for electornics and liquors it is the best! everything is duty free. I bought a car stereo for 125 euros when from Malta it costs about 250 euros.
There are alot of restaurants where you can eat and the food is not that expensive, and it is very good. While sking you can also have a break by buying something to eat from restaurants close to the pistes. On the top of the Mountain at Carosello 3000, there is also a restaurant, so if youre going to spend a day sking up there, you will have were to eat.
Also i must mention that although you will be in the snow, the sun affects you. If you don't want to end up like a red tomatoe the next morning, I suggest that you use sunblocks and sunglasses.
I must say that there is alot of night life at livigno... the best of all is Marco's Pub on a friday night. But one thing againts you is that the free buses at livigno stop working at 7.00 pm and you cant go to the discos unless you have a car, or get a taxi. For us it was bad since we did not have a car hired and didnt know how to get a taxi service, so we only went to pubs close to our hotel.
Also one thing which is a bit stressy is the long distance from Milano Malpensa airport to Livigno, especially is you are using the train and pullman. it takes about 7 hours to get there. But if you get a taxi directly from the airport it will only take about 3.5 hrs.
On the Whole livigno was a dream come true. We made alot of friends and had alot of fun. When ure skiing the day passes so quickly. 10 days were not enough for us... we are going back next year and it will be for a longer period so we can enjoy more the beauty of the alps, make new friends and meet the old ones.
The people are extremley friendly...
If anyone is planning a skiing holiday... I would recommend livigno as 1 of the best skiing resorts.
Go there and enjoy it while it lasts and you will make sure that you'll go back the next year....
Huh! i ended up crying when i came back home!! I didnt want to come back!!
Enjoy your stay people!
Fleur, Malta. :)
Livigno is a duty free village on the Italian / Swiss border and is known for it's value due to its status as a duty free town. The reason for this is steeped in mystery, but the most popular reason is that the tax men used to arrive for collection, only to never return. We stayed at the self catering Capriolo apartments booked through Inghams which we paid £300 - quite reasonable as we went during the Xmas period. The brochure said the apartments sleep up to 4 but I'd say that was definitely a squeeze. Also be wary of the ground floor as we were woken quite a few times in the early morning by revellers. As far as I'm concerned, Livigno is the best place to go for self catering. The food is good, hearty and cheap whether you like simple pasta (home made) or meat fondues. Pizza's are cooked in a traditional oven and costs about £3 and as for the alcohol!. I thoroughly recommend the Bella Vista. We stumbled upon this place by accident but have since found it is the favourite place for the reps. We ate there for 3 nights, indulging in 3 courses, coffee, sweets, drinks and apperetifs and it only costs about £15 per head. As a ski resort, I think the mountains are neither long or challenging enough for an intermediate boarder/skier, but perfect for anybody who wishes to learn. The abundance of snow ensure you won't get hurt too much when you fall and all the instructors speak good English. We went during Xmas '02 and found it was absolutely freezing. I know this is what you expect for that time of year but really, as an experienced boarder, it was FREEZING! This is due to to it's snow-sure high altitude which can kick up a bit of a wind. This is what my opinion is: Good for beginners but intermediates and experts would find it boring very quickly. Parents or guardians of young children should also be aware of the 7 hour transfer from Milan airport and make sure you're not staying near one of the many cheap
drinking holes. Prices make it great for shopaholics. Everything is cheaper from designer clothes to toiletries to electricals to cigarettes and alcohol. We bought a 0.5cl bottle of Blue Smirnoff for £3!!! Great food at fantastic prices so definitely recommend self catering. And plenty of cheap apres ski.
I was a total novice with no experience of ski resorts. I was looking for somewhere to take my 11 year old daughter who was classed as an intermediate skier (I didn't actually know what that meant). I don't ski and as I suffer vertigo I couldn't even accompany her up to the mountain restaurants. I had no idea of how to book lessons, hire skis or what to expect. (Now I know, wait - book lessons when you get there and can access the pros and cons of the various schools, Livigno is unusual in that it has 6, also I was afraid that it would be difficult to hire boots and skis and buy lift passes that too would have been very easy to do in the resort but actually no cheaper than going through the tour operator) Livigno was the ideal spot to choose. We booked through an internet travel auction site called lateescapes.com and got a pleasing bargain. I chose a hotel without a bar or restaurant or entertainment because my child needs her sleep (so do I). After great deliberations and much scanning of the Airtours brochure I chose the Valandrea Hotel. It was ideal: only 8 rooms, finished a few years ago so all the fixtures and fittings were modern and well-designed. You could ski back to the hotel and there was a well designed locker room with heated boot compartments. My only mistake was to book the ski school through the tour operator because late in the season when the weather warms up the snow on the nursery slopes melts during the afternoon and the following morning the lessons are held on ice. I should have booked her into the Top Club at the Mottolino (which has a website Mottolino.com), because their lessons are held on nursery slopes at the top of the mountain (hence Top Club) and don't suffer the ice problems. I booked her private lessons there for 3 afternoons, which she thoroughly enjoyed. The other travellers in our group were very friendly and took my daughter under their wing and supervised her during the other afternooons.
The board basis was half board. The food was not a total success, I was quite content with the quality and quantity for the money but my daughter wasn't keen - too many chips - and when she asked for ketchup the only variety was "hot" which came as a shock to her. The meals were at another hotel which is under the same management as the Valandrea:the Pontiglia which had 3 stars. Talking to other travellers staying in 2 star hotels where there was no choice on the courses there was a salad bar which would have made all the difference to the meals. We didn't sample the nightlife - but the others had a great time - Gallis Bar figured heavily. Also an Irish Pub which served Draught Guinness. We did do some shopping. Ski wear and skis were incredible bargains and watches, and other duty free items. We were helped by the end of season sales which brought the prices down into the bargain basement. Unless you suffer from travel sickness don't be put off by the long transfer, if you are lucky with the weather (and we were both ways) the journey is absolutely beautiful, and the destination is worth it.
My wife and I went skiing in Livigno in March 2000 looking for somewhere a little cheaper and smaller where we could work on our skills. Accommodation We stayed at the Garni Francescato, which offered new clean rooms with ensuite facilities. While not overly large, they were fine for a week where little time was to be spent indoors. The breakfast room/bar, was downstairs and offered an alternative place for relaxation. TV’s were in all the rooms, as well as a personal safe. Advantages Livigno’s main claim to fame is it’s Duty Free status. This means that no sales tax of any sort is charged on purchases. In practise this means that high duty items such as tobacco products and alcohol are good value, whereas lower duty items are simply reasonably cheap. Livigno is based high up in the Swiss/Italian Alps. This means that you can expect good quality snow right through the season. The village itself is along the banks of a river, with the two skiing mountains reaching up on either side. The skiing is separated by the valley, but buses can easily be caught between them Day trips to St Moritz are also available for those who would like to see where the rich and famous ski. We went on this trip and although it probably wasn’t worth the money, being able to say, “Of course I’ve skied at St Moritz darling. I was there just after the millennium.” is quite nice. Disadvantages The main disadvantage of Livigno is the long transfer time from Bergamo Airport. It is generally in the order of 5 hours. We were unlucky as fog and mist made us divert to Milan Airport. The resulting delays meant that we didn’t get to our hotel until 9 pm. This is after leaving home at 4 am that morning! Although both mountains have quite reasonable amounts of skiing terrain, they are not linked together. This means that transferring from one side to the other required a (a
dmittedly short) bus trip. The terrain also tends to focus on beginners and the intermediate. I suspect that most advanced skiers would get bored during the week. Recommendations. Livigno is probably best for people who want a holiday as much as a skiing trip. It would also appeal to the shoppers out there who want to splash some cash on something new. However if you’re looking for challenging skiing terrain, it probably isn’t the spot to go.
We were in Livigno in February 1999. Stayed in the Hotel Alpina half board, the Hotel was fine, very picturesque shuttered bedroom with an accomodating bath, but the food was only ok. I felt like kicking myself for not going self-catering. The resort is a sprawling affair, with loads to do. There are lots of shops, everything's duty free so it’s a good place to spend money. I bought myself a pair of ski boots here for 60 quid. We also bought plenty of decent Malts and Brandies too. A word of caution on that though. There are customs posts at the entrance to the valley and it's not supposed to be treated like an ordinary EU destination, ie 1 litre of spirits is supposed to be the maximum you can take with you. Livigno boasts plenty of bars and good restaurants. The Galli is a very lively bar, good at apres-ski time. Unfortunately I didn't get to see much of the night life proper as I had a touch of the flu - I even missed a days skiing :-( A big bonus for us deprived Isles folk was that the cinema showed a film in English each week, something we don't have. The skiing area is extensive, but spread out. I didn’t see much very challenging here for the higher intermediate, but plenty for anyone below that standard. We had lessons with Ski Livigno Italy, very well organised , competent and friendly instructors were a big bonus. Livigno has no real bad points, except for a transfer time of about 4 ½ hours, I would definitely recommend it.