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The Commune of Livigno

Livigno has had an interesting history, which is a testament both to its remoteness and to the resilience and determination of its people.

Geographically Livigno is on the roof of Europe, the river Sp쬠which is a source of the River Danube, rises in the valley, whilst the other great river of Europe, the Rhine, rises at the other end of the Engadine valley nearby in Switzerland.

Until the 1960's Livigno was practically cut off for the winter months, and its altitude and short summer made it difficult to grow crops. For generations Livigno was subservient to Bormio, but the effort made by the people of Livigno in developing a truly international reputation as an ecological tourism destination has paid off, and now the population of Livigno exceeds that of Bormio.

Livigno's remoteness and its geography meant that the people were able to secure tax privileges since the middle ages and it retains duty-free status today.

The closest airport is 200km away making Livigno one of the most remote places in Europe, but its remoteness is a very great part of its charm and the exceptional friendliness of the people.

The writer has been visiting Livigno for over 30 years, and things indeed have changed, there is a lot more traffic in the town centre, though large areas have been pedestrianised. There has been a building boom, but the architecture is sympathetic and many older buildings have been beautifully preserved. The way of life has changed much less in Trepalle and as only 500 people live in the parish, it has a very special atmosphere.



Livigno is really a safe and fun place for kids, lots of activities, kindergartens and ski schools available from age 3. Spending time in Livigno with a young family is a truly fantastic experience. Whereas in some Ski resorts going out with children will be frowned upon, the Italians and particularly the Livignese make families with children feel welcome. At Baita Zelda in Trepalle the housekeeper will occasionally be happy to baby-sit for the odd night out. A truly experienced Lady who has been given the "very-Ok-seal-of-approval" by our test children.


There are over 200 duty free shops in Livigno, all the designer brands are represented at genuine duty free prices. In Trepalle there is a full range of duty free and food shopping, but there is not a pharmacy.

Eating and drinking

There are several traditional restaurants in Trepalle including the writer's favourite 'La Pernice' where a hot stone fondue is available for a ridiculous price. In Livigno there is a wide selection of restaurants from basic to gourmet.

Livigno attractions

Skiing: There are 110km of prepared runs, and Trepalle lift (4-man chair) provides quick and easy access to the Mottolino ski area. For Carosello, a bus is available from the bottom of Teola lift every 20mins to Carosello. The writer has found that the ski & bus option is quicker than driving there.

Mountain biking: Over the last 10 years Livigno has developed an excellent reputation for mountain biking, the altitude adding to the physical challenge and giving competitors who train in Livigno an aerobic advantage. There are many trails.

Walking: The summer brings meadows of wild alpine flowers, and wonderful silence disturbed only by the distinctive whistles of Alpine Marmots and the jangling of bells worn by the occasional grazing cow. The uninhabited valleys of Alpisella and Federia are especially peaceful.

Horse riding: Available summer and winter.

Fishing: Lago di Livigno was greatly expanded by a 1960's hydroelectric project, which also provided benefit by means of a tunnel to Switzerland, offering the first opportunity for year-round access to the valley. The lake is popular with fishermen.

Bormio: The 'white mountain' offers the largest vertical descent of any ski resort in Europe and the white mountain challenge is held in January each year.

Bagni di Bormio: The thermal baths at Bormio were mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder in 47BC, and now compromise two resorts: Bagni Vecchi and Bagni Nuovi, both definitely worth a visit.

Geological Museum: Interesting and unique, this museum at Bormio is well worth a visit.

St Moritz: Chi chi and overpriced, but eternally 'the' place for a now rather aged 'in crowd', St Moritz is an easy and pleasant day trip. Driving there takes about 50 mins in the winter and 25 mins in the summer (when the Forcola pass is open). The skiing is quite different to Livigno, and the infrastructure notably creaking, watch out for changes in the weather and poor piste markings as there are several ways down off the mountain and a train or bus ride might be necessary to get back to your car. Year-round glacier skiing is available at Bernina Diavolezza and Stelvio, both reachable from Livigno within 1 hour.

Engadine Valley: Small medieval villages perched impossibly on mountainsides, more Swiss than toblerone. Another great day out.

Have a really great stay in Trepalle.


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