San Pellegrino water is served in restaurants all over the world and has been for over a 100 years. If like me you ever wondered what a place looks like that produces one of the most famous bottled water in the world – read on!
San Pellegrino de Terme is in the province of Bergamo, Lombardy in the beautiful valley Brembana which takes it name from the Brembo River running through the valley. Our trip started in the village of Zogno where we parked the car and continued on mountain bikes following the old railway line, which has recently been restored into a cycle path. Even the tunnels have been restored carved out of the mountain side and illuminated with floor lights.
The day was perfect with clear blue skies and bright sunshine; the autumn colours were slowly appearing making the landscape come alive. The valley sits in the Prealpi Orobie mountain range: the Tre Signori and Diavolo di Tenda Peaks take pride of place watching over the valley. As we we cycled through the valley we passed houses selling local produce including honey, apples and fresh vegetables.
Half an hour into the ride we arrived at San Pellegrino Terme where the river widens and splits the town on two: with a magnificent tree lined boulevard on one side and the famous Grande Hotel taking centre stage on the opposite side.
The whole town has an air of european splendour which it has managed to maintain since the days when the rich and famous use to holiday here. The primary attraction then was The Grand Hotel and Casino; unfortunately the hotel has been left to rot, while the casino has been restored to host weddings and events.
The factory that still produces the famous green labeled water sits just below the town and has developed into a major business not only producing bottled water but also sweet carbonated drinks like Aranciata, Chino but of course still using the key ingredient, the special water of San Pelligrino.
We didn’t linger long as are final destination was the Piazza Brembana a the top of the valley, a small town with a relaxed atmosphere where the main past time seems to be socialising in the central Piazza or drinking the famous cappuccino e brioche – cappuccino and a croissant (we decided on the latter). To finish our perfect day we had an exhilarating downhill ride back to Zogno – just what the doctor ordered to blow away the cob webs!