Gandino is an ancient center where wool production and weaving has been a major contribution to the wealth of the village since its flourishing in the 14th century. There is manifest evidence of medieval society, as well as grand villas and churches from the 15th to the 17th centuries. A walk around the historical center is the chance to admire the many villas, churches and towers. Among the most outstanding of these is the 14th-century “Palazzo del Vicario” (Vicar’s Villa), now the town hall, in the main “Vittorio Veneto” square, with its arcade structure in the “broletti Lombardi” style. Others include the grand villa “Salone della Valle” and numerous other residences of the aristocratic families of woolen textile producers and traders, whose activity made Gandino famous all over Europe from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Only a few steps from these buildings, the baroque cathedral “Santa Maria Assunta” towers above, one of the major monuments of the province. Its scenic frontal façade prepares the onlooker for the magnificent interior, the furnishings of which make this basilica a true cornucopia of sacred art – from the carved confessionals by G.B. Caniana and Andrea Fantoni to the fantastic organ exhibitions of carvings and wooden engravings, in addition to many works by Italian and foreign artists from the 14th and 15th centuries.
The San Mauro church, attached to the Orsoline convent, conserves a precious religious relic: the monastic robe worn by Padre Pio from Pietralcina, which is displayed to the faithful every year in the basilica on September 23rd, the liturgical anniversary, to popular veneration. The canvasses, vestments, lace, gold, and silver objects, constituting the basic accoutrements of the basilica, are displayed in the nearby Museum of Sacred Art, one of the most important storehouses of such materials in Europe. Two sections of the museum are dedicated to the textile arts and Christ’s nativity. History, faith, and local traditions are revived each year with various celebrations The Corpus Domini parade wends its way through the historic center bedecked with multicoloured ribbons and banners identifying the various neighborhoods. The participation of the ancient fraternal associations in their traditional uniforms provides a unique quality to this procession. Early in the Lenten season prior to Easter, the deeply felt sacred “Triduo” (three holy days) of the dead is observed, when the magnificent radiant wooden halo by the Caniana workshop, about five meters in diameter, is set up in the basilica. Not to be missed the fourth Sunday of Lent is the fair of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph), when hundreds of arts and crafts stands take over the center.
In July, on the Friday before the first Sunday in the month, the unique and original “Egg Race” takes place, running from Vittorio Veneto square to Fiorano al Serio, in the valley below. This is a passionately popular competition that ends with a village festival preparing and serving a giant omelette. A great hike starting at the “Fontanei” along the Alpine trail #544 up to the Val Piana and then on up to Mt. Sovere to the Malga Lunga refuge. Another option starts at the parking lot on Mt. Farno, from where trail #549 circles Mt. Farno, first through the woods to “Tribulino della Guazza”, then the “Baroncelli Bivouac”, the “Montagnina”, and the summit of “Pizzo Formico” (Formico Peak) and back to the point of departure. Again, from the “Montagnina”, one can go to the “Parafulmine” refuge or to the “Coren del’Altar” and follow trail #545 down to “Campo d’Avene” and the Malga Lunga refuge.
From the lower side of the the valley, an excursion suitable for children starts where cars can be left at Valpiana, passes the “Fonte delle Mamme” (“Mothers’ Fountain”) to the lovely little “Laghetto Corrado”. Also going up to Valpiana you can get “Fontanei” where there is a notable rock-climbing cliff, mapped out and equipped for climbers. Besides the Malga Lunga refuge, points of restoration include the “Parafulmine” refuge, which is open on weekends and holidays throughout the year. The museum at Malga Lunga features documents, prints, and memorabilia from the partisan resistance of WWII.
There are two cross-country ski routes at Montagnina, one of 3.7 km. and the other 10, while Monte Farno is ideal for paragliding, lessons and equipment available at the ”Monte Farno Free Flight Association”. Mountain and rock climbing enthusiasts can venture up the established routes of “Falesia Fontanèi”. artificial practice cliffs in the Sacred Heart oratory and the Gandino Gym & Sports facility. In the Cirano locality there’s an archery field maintained and equipped by the Valgandino Archery Club. Then there are the tennis courts in town and short-field soccer with synthetic grass, a bowling alley, a “beach” volleyball court, and a fully equipped gymnasium.