Welcome to Paradise
Santa Caterina Valfurva is a hamlet within the Municipality of Valfurva and surrounded by the peaks of the Ortler-Cevedale mountain range at 1738 metres (5702 ft) above sea level in the heart of the Stelvio National Park.
Nestled in a peaceful setting, Santa Caterina is an absolute paradise for skiers and snowsports fans and a unique destination for anyone who loves the pristine environment of mountainous countryside in summer and winter.
An important centre on the Republic of Venice to Valtellina trade route between the 14th and 17th centuries, Santa Caterina also became a popular spa town in the 1600s when parish priest Baldassarre Bellotti discovered two types of chalybeate springs. One was rich in sulphur while the other was richer in iron with a distinctively sharp, spicy taste and called “akua forte”, meaning strong water.
These healing springs were used to create the first hot-water spas (which were later smartened up and extended in 1800). Water from the springs was also bottled and sold throughout Italy and abroad.
The springs dried up between the two 20th century World Wars. This had a negative effect on the local economy as fewer tourists visited the town and sales of bottled water also came to an end. The spa was initially converted and later demolished.
A small museum has now been opened near the Cevedale slope. Visitors can learn about the history of the town and its spas thanks to the photographs, stories and mementos from a period of such great importance to the entire area.
After the Second World War, Santa Caterina gradually transformed itself into a holiday destination for people who love winter sports and spending time in the mountains.
It is also the hometown of celebrated alpine skiing champions and mountaineers, such as Deborah Compagnoni, Marco Confortola and Pietro Vitalini.
Santa Caterina in the 21st century
Santa Caterina is a start-of-the-art destination that offers extremely modern, functional facilities and accommodation while still respecting the environment and the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
With ten lifts, 35 km (21.8 miles) of pisted runs for alpine skiing, 15 km (9.3 miles) of Nordic skiing trails, night skiing, six lodges/restaurants by the pisted runs, and a wonderful mountain resort (Sunny Valley), Santa Caterina provides the best that winter sports can offer in a uniquely, magical setting.
And there is just as much to do in the summer: mountain biking, cycling, mountaineering, rambling, walking and hiking are just some of the many ways to spend an enjoyable, active yet relaxing holiday in Santa Caterina.
There is great awareness of environmental issues in Santa Caterina where they take a proactive approach. For example, the tourist resort has been heated by a virgin biomass power plant since 2008. Natural resources are used to produce the heat, such as waste materials from cleaning and managing the forests (branches, foliage, bark), sawmills, pruning and lopping, and grass cuttings.
All homes and accommodation are connected to the piping from the power plant and each building has a heat exchanger so they can be heated without releasing any smoke into the atmosphere. This ensures complete protection for the environment and surrounding countryside.
The local cuisine features all the dishes traditionally found in Valtellina, such as sciatt (cheese-filled buckwheat fritters), pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta), venison, cured meats and cheeses, and of course the famous polenta, which is still cooked in copper pans over an open fire. These dishes show how important it is to keep the area’s time-honoured culinary traditions and distinctive flavours alive. Naturally, these delicacies are paired with some of the most famous local wines, such as Sassella, Inferno and Grumello, and the legendary mountain grappa.