Fratelli Ciapponi is a treasure - an Italian retailer that has resisted modernisation. Located in the Valtellina valley in northern Italy, it began selling wine and cheese in the passageways of Morbegno in 1883.

It is still run by the same family and contains many original fixtures throughout the store, which includes underground cheese and wine rooms, complete with antique utensils draped with cobwebs. The passion and life behind the shop is what stands it apart from others. Owner Dario Ciapponi has even been quoted saying "I caress these cheeses more than I do my wife".

If you want to sample the local favourite, a cheese called bitto, you'll have to go at the right time.

"The cheese has PDO status and just 30,000 wheels get made each year - "not even enough for the Italian market", according to Signor Ciapponi.

Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie says: "There is still romance and mystery to entice you in. Since the nineteenth century, the family has run this food emporium.

"Little has changed and the layout and shop fittings remain. The cheese cellar is down steep stone steps. All is as it should be."



Location: Valtellina, Italy

Established: 1883

No. of stores: 1

Fact: Signor Ciapponi owns 13 wine cellars