House / 3 bedrooms / sleeps 6

Key Info
  • Ski
  • Great for children of all ages
  • Car advised
  • Some pets are welcome - please contact the owner

Casa dell'Ava a lovely three-bedroom holiday home set in the Alps, on the Swiss-Italian border. We are about halfway between Lake Como and St. Moritz - at the end of Engadina, a beautiful valley that gets 320 days of sunshine a year and is surrounded by some of the most dramatic mountains in the Alps. The house itself is about 300 years old and built from stone. It is perched on a sunny hillside 10mins above Chiavenna, with a splendid view over the mountains. The house and area offers an unbeatable location for mountain holidays, whether you want to walk, ski or just relax. This comes partly from the sunshine and the lovely mountains of the central Alps, partly from the charm of the house and village, and partly from eating out in some of the very many outstanding local restaurants.

The Times Ecotourism choice - Nov 2006

"Alpine Dolce Vita" - The Daily Mail - February 2007

"A lovely house in the breathtaking Engadine valley" - The Italian Magazine - March 2007


We ski from the house at either St Moritz or Madesimo - 45mins and 15mins from Chiavenna. For full list of winter activities see below

Size Sleeps up to 6, 3 bedrooms
Rooms 3 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms
Will consider Corporate bookings
Access Car advised
Nearest Amenities 5 km
Nearest travel links Nearest airport: Milan Linate, Malpensa or Bergamo airports 110 km, Nearest railway: Chiavenna 5 km
Family friendly Great for children of all ages
Notes Some pets are welcome - please contact the owner, No smoking at this property

Features and Facilities

Luxuries Log fire
General Central heating, CD player
Standard Kettle, Iron
Utilities Dishwasher, Cooker, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine
Furniture Double Beds (1), Sofa Beds (1), Single Beds (4), Cots available (1), Dining seats for 6, Lounge seats for 6
Other Linen provided, High chair available
Outdoors Balcony or terrace
Access Suitable for people with restricted mobility, Not suitable for wheelchair users
Further details indoors

The house has recently been completely restored in keeping with the local area

Further details


The house has been restored in a way sympathetic to its style and age, however where possible we have introduced ways to conserve energy and water

- Heating and hot water for the house is provided using a stove that runs on recycled paper pellets. We are intending to install solar panels which will link to our hot water system. All electricity for the house is provided from hydroelectric schemes via an electricity coop run from the local town. Double glazed windows have been fitted throughout the house

- The house has a shower (a good one!) rather than a bath, in addition both toilets are new and have a reduced water flush

- Split waste disposal is available in bins at the entrance to the village (paper, plastic, cardboard, glass) and further split waste disposal (organic, metal) is available 6 days a week in the local town

More details are available on our website

The Lombardy region

The House is situated in an area of outstanding beauty close to three of the largest National Parks in the Alps, covering a massive 2000Km2 - these are the Swiss National Park (, Stelvio National Park (, and Orobie Valtellinesi Park (

The area is rich in wildlife and has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the Alps. The parks contain many protected species of wildlife including Golden Eagles, Ibex, Bearded Vultures, Capercaille and Fire Salamanders. There is talk of Lynx and wolves arriving back into the area and famously Brown Bears have recently been reintroduced into the Adamello Brenta National Park which adjoins the Stelvio National Park


Pianazzola is a charming mountain village perched on the mountainside above Chiavenna. There are about 60 stone-built houses, and while you can reach the village by car, you can only enter on foot, which makes it a peaceful spot. It sits on a south facing hill above a large zone of vineyards and below a large forest of chestnut. Pianazzola has a panoramic view across Engadina, which stretches from the top of Lake Como, into Switzerland. Since ancient times, these valleys were an important route between Northern Italy and central Europe. Fortunately Valchiavenna has not remained a major arterial route, but it is relatively easy to get here from Milan (90mins from Linate, Bergamo or Malpensa airports) of Zurich (2h30min). High above are some of the most spectacular mountains in the Alps, where famous Italian mountaineers like Cassin pioneered routes. Some of the mountains like Pizzo Cengalo and Piz Badile have granite spires and rock faces over a kilometre high


Here are some suggestions of what to do (for more details see our website)


- 2/3 days skiing at Madesimo and a day in St Moritz

- A day exploring Pianazzola and Chiavenna, walking up to Crotto Belvedere for lunch in a 'cave restaurant' in front of their roaring fire

- A wintery walk past the ice falls of Val Febbraro

- Lunch in Soglio (CH) and a walk up the dizzy granite peaks in Val Bondasca

- A day on Lake Como - wander through the narrow streets of Varenna, before having a lakeside pizza

WINTER SPRING - 2 weeks. The ideas above plus

- Back to the ski slopes for a day or two.

- Walk up the spectacular gorge to Codera, staying overnight in the rifugio. Spend the evening drinking wine and roasting chestnuts on the fire using their special chestnut pan

- Curl up on the sofa in front of our wood burning stove and catch up on all those books you wanted to read. Nip down for a swim and a sauna in the afternoon in Chiavenna, before a meal at the excellent Trattoria Uomo Selvatico

- Visit Val di Mello to see if you agree that it looks like Yosemite National Park


- A day exploring Pianazzola and Chiavenna, walking up to Crotto Belvedere for lunch

- Lunch in Soglio (CH) and a wander up Val Bondasca to see the dizzy granite peaks

- A spectacular day canyoning in Val Bodengo

- A day on lake Como - take the car ferry from Bellano to Menaggio and then wander around the lovely gardens of Villa Carlotta

SUMMER/AUTUMN - 2 weeks. The ideas above plus

- Walk or ride following the old route of the spectacular "tracciolino" mountain railway near Val Codera

- Lie in the sunshine and read in the meadows at Val di Mello and gawp at the scenery in Europes 'Yosemite' national park

- Ask in the tourist office where the mountain 'festa' is. Each weekend, locals in one of the villages celebrate the summer with a barbecue and wine - open to all. Make a day walk to the village and help them celebrate!

- Take the lift up to Albigna to see the high mountains the easy way. Walk 45mins to Rifugio Albigna for lunch at the end of a glacier

- For the ultimate mountain experience, make the two day walk up Val Bondasca to see the stunning Piz Badile, Sciora spires, and the kilometre high rock face of Pizzo Cengalo. Stay in Rifugio Sciora overnight.