Introduction to Livigno Ski Resort Italy
Located high in the Italian Alps, Livigno ski resort Italy’s Sondrio province lies close to the border with Switzerland in the north of the Lombardy region. At the lofty elevation of 1,816m (5,958 feet) above sea level, the charming village with its quaint baita architecture is considered the highest inhabited parish in Europe and has around 6,300 residents. It even uses its own dialect for local street names and maps.
There are just three roads exiting the town. The Via Forcola follows the Aqua Granda River south towards Switzerland through the Livigno Pass (Forcola di Livigno), and with an elevation of 2,315m (7,595 feet) it is only open in summer. The second route, also destined for Switzerland, runs north through the Munt La Schera tunnel and the third heads south-east through the Foscagno Pass towards Bormio, Livigno’s main neighbour.
Despite its remote situation, the Livigno Ski Resort Italy has some surprising cultural attractions. It is home to several music groups and bands including the Corpo Musicale, a folk group, the Monteneve Chorus and the Carcent Theatre Group. They all play a part in entertaining visitors in all seasons. There is also a lively Sporting Club which has produced a number of Olympic skiers along with world-class rally car driver, Gigi Galli.
History of Italy’s Livigno Ski Resort
Originally a self-sufficient farming community with a lucrative sideline in smuggling, Livigno was “discovered” as a ski resort in the 1950s. Set in a broad valley, the Alpine village boasts stunning mountain scenery, surrounded by snow-capped peaks against a clear blue sky.
The creation of the Lago di Livigno reservoir unfortunately destroyed part of the old village, but the iconic wooden chalets that remain are brimming with character and charm. The most significant buildings, besides the Town Hall and baita huts, are the local churches. The Caravaggio Church has a painting attributed to the famous 16th century painter Caravaggio, and the 16th century Saint Rocco Church was built in thanksgiving for sparing the village from the plague.
In the early 1950s, limited access to Livigno due to the snow meant that only a few winter sports enthusiasts, mainly Germans, enjoyed this winter playground. They would haul their toboggans up the slopes to ride the endless virgin slopes. By 1959, Livigno had two ski lifts. The opening of the Munt La Schera tunnel in 1965 improved access for both summer visitors and winter skiers and by then Livigno boasted six hotels.
The growing popularity of winter sports in Italy meant that by 2002, Livigno ski resort was in huge demand with 100 hotels and 32 ski lifts. Today, the long ridges provide a total of 110km of excellent ski runs, including 12 black, 37 red and 29 blue pistes plus around 30km of cross-country trails.
Getting Around Livigno
Livigno ski resort is Italy’s hidden gem, offering reliable snowfall and a good choice of slopes for all abilities served by a reliable lift system. A free bus service transports skiers to the outlying lifts along with an affordable taxi and minibus service. However, guests staying at the Hotel Alexander are in a prime location, right at the foot of the Teola Pianoni Bassi Ski Lift.
Ski Resort Amenities in Livigno Italy
The unpretentious village has its own Alpine charm with a main pedestrianised street lined with traditional bars, restaurants, supermarkets and specialist shops. Livigno has enjoyed tax advantages dating back to the 16th century, and currently enjoys a duty-free status first granted by the Austrian Empire in 1840. Although the sovereignty of Livigno has changed over the years, it has retained its coveted VAT exemption, making it a great destination for those looking for extra value, particularly when shopping for some of Italy’s luxury goods.
Due to the high altitude, Italy’s Livigno ski resort has a long season from late November through to the end of April. It offers good quality skiing at affordable prices and is the ideal choice for families and those who enjoy après-ski socialising but do not hanker for a rowdy nightlife.
As a winter ski resort, Livigno continues to thrill snowboarders, downhill and Alpine skiers. In summer it welcomes a host of hikers, mountaineers and mountain bikers who enjoy this breathtaking destination in the Italian Alps.
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