Among uncontaminated green landscapes and agricultural production still linked to ancient family traditions, Sabbio Chiese and the entire Valle Sabbia, welcome its guests with a precious range of agri-food products deeply linked to the territory: great cow’s and goat’s milk cheese, genuine sausages, honey and jam, mushrooms, mountain herbs, alpine water from Mount Maniva and thermal water from the spring Castello delle Terme di Vallio, truffles and unique fish products that surprise the taste of the visitor.
There is no shortage of wild berries, honey, sour cherries, chestnuts and “Marroni” chestnuts.
Valle Sabbia is famous for the production of renowned fresh and seasoned cow’s milk cheese and delicacies deriving from the processing of goat’s milk, in particular cheese and yoghurt that you can’t miss.
In 1880 various social milk factories began to spring up in Sabbio Chiese and throughout the Valle Sabbia to spread the excellent products: Bagòss, Sabbio and Conca, Nostrano Valsabbia and Formaggella Valsabbina.
Among the edible plants that grow at high altitude we find wild radish and wild asparagus, that you can also enjoy preserved in oil.
Widespread in the mountain streams and queen of the local fishing, the trout is really loved in Valle Sabbia as well as the perch cooked with mastery especially nearby Idro Lake.
Other delicacies that can be considered unique in their kind and which are found in the Valsabbina tradition skilfully re-proposed starting from the most ancient recipes, are bread and wild herbs gnocchi, the casoncelli with melted butter or the traditional “polenta taragna”. One of the most renowned dish in this area is “the spiedo”, meat on
the spit that over time has become a symbol of a great, imposing, convivial dish for special occasions.
Tradition, in fact, provided for the almost complete use of farmyard animals meat: chicken, rabbit, pig, guinea fowl and then, of course, small birds and potatoes that grew abundantly on these cool hills.
In the past also vineyard were widespread out in Valle Sabbia, while nowadays wine comes from the nearby Garda Lake.
In recent years numerous initiatives have been undertaken for the relaunch of local culinary excellence, thanks to projects that have brought enthusiasm and good results, thanks to the gastronomic workshop that have followed and thanks to the collaboration between chefs, restaurateurs, local producers and ordinary citizens.
Points of interest
Thanks to its lovely geographical position, for its many natural beauties, for the particular urban conformation with ancient houses on the river, for the quality of the works of art you can find in the churches, the town deserves a visit which certainly doesn’t disappoint.
The route must start from the Rocca. It is located on a cliff in the centre of the town. It was an important castle surrounded by walls until the mid-1400s and here a good part of the history of the valley had its origins. It was transformed into a Marian sanctuary in the first half of the 1500s and it has two overlapping churches; a rare architectural form. On the walls you can admire a lot of frescoes dedicated to the Virgin and dated from 1505 to 1550. The view you can enjoy after walking up a long staircase, that has remained intact for centuries, is breathtaking.
The churches of Sabbio are a revelation for the paintings they contain and they are all dated from the mid-1400s to the early 1600s, when the town, thanks to the relationship of its printers with important cities, experienced its Renaissance in a fruitful way of art and of economic enterprise.
It was a populous and active village, full of ingenuity and a notable economic boost especially in the first two centuries of the dominion of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
There is no doubt that the residence in Venice, in Verona, in Ferrara, in Rome of the “from Sabbio” printers has not only produced precious books but also has brought to the country ideas, comparisons, important human relationships that have fostered the love for the beauty of art.
The Parish Church of Saint Michael Archangel displays a polyptych painted in the first half of the 1500s depicting Virgin Mary and Child and the Patron Saints of the various churches in the town. It is a work of great quality that recalls Lombard and Venetian art.
Then there are two beautiful altarpieces. One depicting the “Entombment of Christ from the Cross”, iconographically refers to a famous drawing by Raphael painted in 1507.
Then, if you visit the Church of San Martino in Sabbio Sopra, your amazement increases at the sight of the frescoed polyptych on masonry, always with the Virgin and the Saints venerated in the religious history of the town. It is extraordinary, with still gothic motifs, executed in the first half of the 1400s. It is one of the three masonry polyptychs in the Province of Brescia. Other altarpieces, dated from the early 1500s to the first decade of the 1600s, accompanied by frescoes make this church a real “art gallery”.
Sabbio Chiese is considered as “a small birthplace” of a lot of families of printers, such as the Nicolini family, known as “from Sabbio” who spread out their fascinating art and the name of their village throughout a lot of Italian cities and Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their activity was so significant that on the road signs, under the name of Sabbio Chiese, you can read the lettering “the town of printers, XVI-XVII centuries” and a great cultural enterprise has been undertaking: the construction of the Museum of Printers “from Sabbio”.
It is still a country in expansion, one of the beating centre of Valle Sabbia.