Paesaggi leggendari: Val di Lei
Ph. Anna Rapisarda

Maidens, princesses, wizards, sorcerers and evil spirits

In Valchiavenna there is a valley, the Val di Lei. But who is Lei?
Stories way off in time tell the identity of this mysterious female figure having an immortal charm. The etymology presents a different story, but now it’s time for legends which, in the depths of their origins, always contain a part of truth.

An arch dam overlooking a blue lake is the first impact that forcefully enters your eyes.
From here begins the path that runs entirely along a bank, a panoramic 9 km walk surrounded by wild nature, among waterfalls, caves, cascades, streams, imposing glaciers and large boulders from which families of marmots peep out at you. The suggestions that this silent landscape conveys have inspired many stories over the centuries. And they keep doing it even now, as you cross it, following the relaxed time of observation.

The legend

Among the legends of girls of rare beauty and princesses with incredible riches, the name of the valley leads to women fighting against evil wizards and sorcerers. The tales continue to echo in the wind that blows and emits a moan in which shepherds often recognize the cry of “lei” (her), the tormented soul of a young bride locked up until her death in a cave at the time of Roman domination.

Then the story of the malspirit, is told, that is evil spirits confined to the darkest point of the valley. Amused by making jokes and setting traps for travellers, they leave the axes in dangerous places such as ravines, to make sure that anyone who tries to catch them, will fall. We have warned you…

> Val di Lei is here

“C’era una volta, vecchie storie e leggende di Valtellina e Valchiavenna” (Comune di Prata Camportaccio, 1994)