Iconic, beautiful and famous

‘Soak in and sip up’ the local culture in Bormio


For many cyclists, the summer offers opportunities to explore further afield. It’s a chance to ride the iconic, beautiful and famous. It’s often a journey full of mixed emotions. Different emotions at the base of a climb. Different emotions at the summit.

However, the bit in between is the ‘glue’. This connected experience bonds people together. It creates camaraderie and makes special friendships. This glue becomes the post-ride anecdotes and lasting ‘feel good’ memories.

The original Grand Tour

These trips are so much more than a bike ride. They are a cultural and educational right of passage.

Historically the term ‘Grand Tour’ originated in the 17th century. It was the custom of wealthy young men to take an educational trip to Europe, primarily Italy. It was a ‘hands-on’ opportunity to explore local art, history and culture. By the mid-18th century, the Grand Tour formed part of aristocratic education. Today’s Grand Tour iteration is no longer for wealthy young men only. Everyone is welcome. It is an opportunity to ‘soak in and sip up’ local culture.


The historic town of Bormio is a perfect Grand Tour destination. With a population of around 4,000, it is located in the Province of Sondrio (Lombardy). Bormio sits at the base of the high-altitude Stelvio Pass (2,757 metres) and Gavia Pass (2,621 metres). Both are iconic, beautiful and famous. Not to mention pretty damn tough!

The word Bormio is thought to have been derived from a Celtic term meaning ‘warm’. Its ancient naturally warm springs have been attracting visitors since 500AD. Much of the architecture in the town dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Bormio is a truly historically rich experience.


We had been invited to Bormio by our friend and massive Pegoretti bike fan, Ercole Castellani. Ercole is a hotelier from neighbouring Livigno. He has lived and ridden in this area all his life. Ercole is the perfect ‘Cicerone’. But he does not work alone. He is assisted by his son Omar. This is an authentic Italian family affair! Ercole’s 2024 Pegoraduno itinerary beautifully blended the bike with insight and experience of the local culture.

The Pegoraduno is a yearly Pegoretti owners’ club trip. Every year a different location is selected. Owners from around the globe gather to share the spirit and ethos of this truly artisan frame builder. When they speak about their Pegoretti or recollect a conversation with Dario, they do so with enthusiasm, passion and a smile. There is a special connection between the brand and its customers. It’s a brand with authenticity and passion radiating from the centre — we love that! At this stage, it’s worth mentioning that we are not (yet) Pegoretti owners. We felt privileged to be invited and were made to feel most welcome.

Climbs and culture!

Our time was filled with plenty of ups and downtime. The ups were truly iconic and tough.

The downtime was an immersive experience of local insight and culture. We were introduced to many wonderful local wines and foods. The wine here is made from the Nebbiolo grape. It is light in the body with a cherry-scent-rich flavour. Valtelina offers some of the best red wines in Lombardy. Issac, the brother of Ercole (The family affair continues) is a also a Pegoretti owner and a local wine producer. His wine ‘Miracolo’ made the perfect partner for the Bitto cheese and local Bresaola at ‘Aperitivo time’.

Eating out in Bormio is easy, as every restaurant seems like a place the locals would go. But it’s always reassuring when your restaurant choice is selected by the ‘Cicerone’. We enjoyed every selection, but by far the most wonderous was the refuge on the summit of Torre de Cancano. A journey that takes you via road up the Cancano climb, and then continues off-road to a small refuge/ restaurant which overlooks Lake Cancano. The journey is not for the faint-hearted but the rewards are great!!!

Bagni Vecchi

No trip to Bormio is complete without a visit to one of Bormio’s 3 spas. We visited Bagni Vecchi. Situated at the base of the Stelvio this ancient Roman bath is the oldest and most iconic of the 3 spas. It has a multitude of relaxing experiences for you to explore. The 10-metre natural steam cave was originally part of the Stelvio road construction. The spa’s infinity pool is an outdoor pool with stunning mountain and town views. This is the perfect post-climb activity and a must-do if you visit.

This trip was so much more than a bike ride. The bike is so much more than a form of transport. Our Grand Tour is now complete. We feel inspired by and connected with Bormio and the people we have met.

Grazie mille Bormio and friends!