Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Grand Tour for 30th Wedding Anniversary - Tirano

Tirano, Sondrio, Italy. Monday/Wednesday 09/11-October-2023..

The third stage of the Grand Tour: Tirano wasn’t one of our destinations per se, it was more like a place to stay overnight before the Bernini pass section of our three week rail journey. 

Many travellers seemed to be simply passing through but members of the Interrailing for the older crowd FB group gave the impression it was worth a day there so that is what we did. We booked the quirky Old Town Apartments just off a little square on the south side of the river.

The afternoon of our arrival we went for a wander around town and up to Castello di Santa Maria on the outskirts of town. 

While there we spotted something bright red way up on the hill opposite. A quick Google map revealed it to be Big Red Bench Project #218. We decided that a trip to the bench would be our exercise for the following day. Hard to spot but it's up there! 

Meanwhile, we wandered around town a little more. Being on the border with Switzerland the town certainly had a very Swiss vibe, hardly surprising.

We went for supper at Parravicini, just across the square from our apartment. According to TripAdvisor it is the number one restaurant in Tirano and certainly we had an excellent meal.

Next day we packed a picnic lunch and set off through the vineyards in search of the Big Red Bench. We eventually found an encouraging sign.

As you will see from the zigzagging tracks, it proved difficult to find but we persevered. Satnav only works well for roads and well trodden paths. With a dodgy signal and goat tracks to follow we went back and forth through the village several times but persevered and eventually found it.

It is big! There was a clue in the name after all.

The criteria for a bench were that it should be on accessible public land, in the countryside and have beautiful views. This certainly fits the bill.

Simpler and shorter on the way back as we knew where we were going, in fact it only took half the time.

Amazingly four days later Mary’s sister stumbled across the only one in Scotland, near Arbroath, by accident due to her satnav giving dodgy directions!

That evening, it was another delicious meal this time in Posteria Del Rosso, on the north side of the river very near the train station. A great place with fantastic food and an interesting wine list

We used the Margi Bar café just outside the station for lunch and aperitif. The owner / manager was a real character, all the staff were friendly and the prices not too outrageous despite the location.

The next day we were ready for the highlight of the trip: The Bernina Pass.

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