Bike Tour Passo di Gavia in the Italian Alps

BIKE TOURING PASSO GAVIA | ALPS

passo gavia

The Passo di Gavia (Gavia Pass) is one of the highest and one of the most beautiful passes of the Alps and sits at an elevation of 2.621m above the sea level.  Passo Gavia is located in the Lombardy region and divides the Sondrio Province to the north with the  Brescia Province, to the south.

The road over the pass (SS 300) connects Bormio to the northwest with Ponte di Legno to the south. At the top of the Gavia Pass you find "Lago Bianco", surrounded by the mountain "Corno dei Tre Signori", 3359 m.  Also there is the beautiful "Lago Nero" on 2386 m,  situated just underneath the pass on the south side. The Gavia Pass is opened from June to September. 

Riding from the northern side just before the top of Passo Gavia you will cross a bridge over the "Rezzalasco", then you arrive at the alpine rifugio "Berni" at 2545 m, here there is a war memorial for the First World War.

The Gavia Pass is often on the route of the Giro d'Italia road bicycle race and is sometimes designated the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race. On 5 June 1988, the race passed over the Gavia in a snowstorm, making for an epic stage won by Erik Breukink. American Andrew Hampsten, the second place finisher, became the overall race leader and went on to win the Giro.

Bike Tour Passo di Gavia From Ponte di Legno:

  • Length: 17.3 km
  • Average grade: 7.9%
  • Difficulty: 172.49

Bike Tour Passo di Gavia From Bormio

  • Length: 25.6 km
  • Average grade: 5.5%
  • Difficulty: 140.81

Bike Tour Passo Stelvio Riding the Climb from Bormio

 PASSO STELVIO FROM BORMIO BIKE CLIMB | ITALIAN ALPS

Passo Stelvio

Cycling Passo Stelvio from Bormio is not as famous of a climb as riding the northern side, but it still offers an epic challenge for a bike rider and a must do if you are bike touring the Alps of Italy.  The climb from Bormio to Passo Stelvio is just over 3 km shorter than the 27 km northern side, and has an average grade is just over 7%, however this ride is completely different and is just as challenging as bike touring from Prato da Stelvio.

WHAT IS THE PASSO STELVIO FROM BORMIO BIKE CLIMB LIKE

For me riding this side of the Passo Stelvio is more of a mental challenge, rather than physical, due to the enclosed nature of the climb.  I always felt I was riding in a box, there are some great views from time to time, but none of the open vistas you get on many of the climbs in Italy. Right after the town of Bormio you turn right and start climbings, the first section is a steady climb that quickly brings you up to 1700 meters, I feel the second section starts at the old tunnels.  Be sure to have a light on your bike, not so much to see through the tunnel, but to alert descending cyclist and cars.  During this tunnel section, you are also in the steepest average grades of the climb, but they last only 2 km.  The third section starts after Malga Stelvio and the water fall of Braulio, here you have the last overlayed switchbacks to ride.  This is the most enjoyable part of the climb, and you finally have some great scenery to take your mind off the effort. 

HOW TO GET TO THE PASSO STELVIO FROM BORMIO CLIMB

If you are not planning to ride in the Bormio valley, a great way to do the Passo Stelvio ride is an over and back from the Prato da Stelvio side.  You will find Bormio in the Lombardy Region, there are plenty of bike hotels in the town to use as a base for your riding.  If you come from Passo Tonale you can ride the Passo Giave to reach Bormio and then ride Passo Stelvio.  Riding up the valley to Bormio is possible, and there is a marked bike route that is used to reach Passo Mortirolo, but be warned it is not an easy ride and you have quite a bit of climbing to do to reach Bormio.

Passo Stelvio Bike Climb

 

PASSO STELVIO FROM BORMIO BIKE TOUR DETAILS

REGION Lombardy Region
PROVINCE Sondrio Province
MOUNTAIN GROUP Ortles Alps
CITY Bormio
ELEVATION AT START 1215 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION AT ARRIVAL 1758 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1543 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 7.1%
MAXIMUN GRADE 13%
TIME TO RIDE
Excurionist 2 hr 30 minutes
Cycle Tourist 2 hours
Semi Pro Rider 1 hr 25 minutes
Pro rider 1 hour 6 minutes
SPECIAL NOTES Do not do this ride without proper warm gear, even though the valley can be warm at elevation you can find severe weather, arm warms, full finger gloves, and leg warmer should be in your pockets or utilize vehicle support.

Bike Touring on the Roads of the Italian Alps

BIKE TOURING THE ITALIAN ALPS

Bike Tour Stelvio, Italian Alps

Bike Touring in the Italian Alps offers some ofEuropes mostspectualr rides.  Classic bike climbs that all cyclist strive to ride at sometime.  A great adventure vacation can be enjoyed riding just on the Italian side of the Alps or using the Passes to move from one country to the next. 

Map of the Italian Alps

WHEN TO BIKE TOUR THE ITALIAN ALPS

The best time to ride the Alps is during the months of July and August, you can also ride in late May, June, September, and sometimes early November depending on snow fall.  Most smaller roads are not always kept open during the winter months, example being Passo Stelvio.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR A BIKE TRIP IN THE ITALIAN ALPS

When you are planning your bike tour to the Italian Alps remember that weather can always change and should have multi layered kit. The best way to tour the Alps is to have a support vehicle so you can dress up and down as needed.  There are also fewer water sources along the rodes so two bottles on the bike is a must and look for places fill up when you finish one bottle. 

You should ride your own bike for the best comfort.  Most cyclist will be most comfortable riding a compac with 12-29 on the rear cog, but a triple with a 28 on the back can be nice.  Most of the climbs are around 20 km or more, the grade is not as steep as riding in the Italian Dolomites.  Riders is not the best shape should consider Mountain Bike gearing there are some many great climbs to enjoy and you do not have to pound every day out.

WHERE TO BASE YOURSELF TO BIKE TOUR THE ALPS

The Alps of Italy are located in the Piedmont Region, Lombardy Region, Trentino Alto Adige Region, and the Veneto Region.  Small portions of the Liguria Region and Fruili Venezia Region also touch the Alps. 

Many bike tour operates combine rides in the Dolomites and Passo Stelvio, but this one touches a few of the great rides.  Staying in Bolzano lets you ride 5 to 6 great passes.  Bormio is a great place to base yourself for 4 to 5 days of great rides.

CYCLE ROUTES IN THE ITALIAN ALPS

Bike Touring Passo Palade in the Italian Alps

 BIKE TOURING PASSO PALADE | ALPSBike Tour Italy, Passo Palade Dolomites

Passo delle Palade (Gampenjoch), elevation of 1,518 m a.s.l., located in the Bolzano Province of the Trentino-Alto Adige.   The Pass connects Lana in the Adige valley with Fondo in the Val di Non and is open year-round. The Passo Palade road has a maximum gradient of 9%.

From 1810 until 1815, the pass was on the border of the Italian state founded by Napoleon and the Kingdom of Bavaria to the north. 

Passo Palade Bike Tour Map

There are two roads to bike up to Passo Palade

Bike Tour Passo Palade From Fondo

  • Length: 13 km
  • Average grade: 4.1%
  • Difficulty: 56.18

Bike Tour Passo Palade From Lana di Sopra

  • Length: 17.4 km
  • Average grade: 6.9%
  • Difficulty: 132.32

Bike Touring Passo Stelvio in the Alps of Italy

BIKE TOURING PASSO STELVIO | ITALIAN ALPS

Photo of route leading up to Passo Stelvio in the Alps of Italy

Passo Stelvio is one of the highest paved mountain roads in Italy and has been part of bicycle history since the Giro d'Italia passed over it for the first time in the 1950's. Passo Stelvio is located in the Adamello mountain group and marks the regional boundary between Trentino Alto Adige Region and Lombardy Region.

There are two sides to ride when Bike Touring the Passo Stelvio. 

Bike Touring Passo Stelvio Riding the Climb from Prato dello Stelvio

Bike Tour Passo Stelvio Riding the Climb from Bormio

 

Bike Touring Passo Stelvio Riding the Climb from Prato dello Stelvio

PASSO STELVIO FROM PRATO DELLO STELVIO BIKE CLIMB | ITALIAN ALPS

bike tour italy's passo stelvio

For anyone wishing to Bike Tour the Alps of Italy the Stelvio Pass should be on your 'must ride list'.  The Stevlio Pass is one of the highest paved mountain roads in Italy and has been part of bicycle history since the Giro d'Italia first passed over it in the 1950's. Passo Stelvio is located in the Adamello mountain group and marks the regional boundary between Trentino Alto Adige Region and Lombardy Region.

WHAT IS THE PASSO STELVIO RIDE LIKE

To be honest Passo Stelvio is not for everyone, and if you attempt to ride without the proper gears or fitness level this is one of those bike climbs that can make you hurt, put your foot down, and overall humble you as a cyclist.  The climb itself is not overwhelming due to the steepness, but it is a very long climb with a continuous effort, instead most riders have problems due to not understanding how to pace themselves or not eating and drinking properly during the attempt. 

The ride can be broken into three sections: the first section is difficult to find a pace due to the changing grades, the second section is a grind because you are isolated in the forest, and the last section is a thrilling panoramic view that can challenge your mental toughness due to fatigue and altitude. 

GETTING TO PASSO STELVIO FROM PRATO allo STELVIO

The classic route up to Passo Stelvio is to start in Bolzano and ride to the top, but this normally means you have some type of a support vehicle or you are ending your ride with a descent down into Bormino.  However, if you want to shorten the ride you can take a train from Bolzano to Merano then ride theVal Venosta Bike Path or take the Venosta train up the valley to a closer start point.  If you opt to ride from Bolzano it is good to do so with a group and have vehicle support.  If you are a solo rider I suggest you shuttle up to Castelbello on the train, from here you have a good 20 km to warm up your legs before the climb.  If you are planning to ride both sides (over and back) I suggest taking the train to Malles or Spondinig to start, over and back will be a 70 km ride with over 4000 meters of climbing.

Bike tour Passo Stelvio

 

RIDING THE STELVIO PASS FROM THE NORTH SIDE

Bike Tour Passo Stelvio

REGION Trentino Alto Adige Region
PROVINCE Bolzano Province
MOUNTAIN GROUP Adamello Mountain Group
POINT OF DEPARTURE Prato allo Stelvio
LENGTH OF CLIMB 25.4 km
ELEVATION AT DEPARTURE 916 meters a.s.l.
MAXIMUM ELEVATION 2,758 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1,842 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 7.3%
MAXIMUM GRADE 14%
AVERAGE TIME TO RIDE 1:40 to 3:20 hours
SPECIAL NOTES Weather on the Stelvio can change quickly and vary from the valley so ensure you have a jacket, gloves and leg warmers with you.  This is a ride best done withsupport.

ROUTE NOTES:

The Bike Touring route up Passo Stelvio, on the northeastern side, starts in the small village of Prato allo Stelvio, and presents a climb 25.4 meters long and a medium grade of 7.4%.  There are 48 marked switchbacks to work your way through that will help you move from 916 meters above sea level to 2758 meters above sea level. The total elevation gain is 1842 meters and the fit cyclist should give themselves 2 hours and 30 minutes to make the climb.

 

Bike Touring Passo Stelvio

SECTION 1

Leaving Prato allo Stelvio you will see the Passo Stelvio Sign this is where the grade starts to increase and you have a 6 to 7 km section to get a good rhythm established.  It is very important to not over ride your limit.  During this section you will be following close to the stream 'Trafoi', there is one tunnel but it is open on the left side so there is no need for a light. This section ends once you cross the bridge over the stream. 

Bike Touring Italy's Passo Stelvio

SECTION 2

Passing over the bridge you will start one of the harder sections and the first continuous grind that makes Passo Stelvio so hard, but this is also where you start to have a wonderful view of the Livrio and Punta del Chiodo glaciers.  At 8.5 km you will start the 48 switchback countdown and your next check point is Trafoi (1534 meters), a small community that has a couple of bars, and there is a water point just before the town. After passing through Trafoi you will enter a section that will wind up through the woods on multiple switchbacks until the 14 km mark. 

Bike Touring Italy's Passo Stelvio

 

SECTION 3:

Right after the village of Trafoi you will find one of the hardest sections with small ramps up to 14% and an average of 9%. For the next 9 kms you will have a very little time to rest, you are in the woods most of the time but there are great views that will let you start to experience the grandeur of the climb.  This section will take you up past switchback 27 and Hotel Franznshohe, (a water point if you are in need). This is where you will have the final view of the stairway of switchbacks that take you to the pass.

Bike Touring Italy's Passo Stelvio

The last set of switchbacks up to the Stelvio Pass.  There are small ramps above 11% but for the most part it is very pedal-able. This is the section that makes the climb so famous, you will feel the fatigue and the effects of higher elevation, but is you can also lift your head and take in the atmosphere.  This is one of the most picturesque locations in the Alps and on a clear day this is a stunning ride.

Bike Tour Passo Stelvio

Do not forget to look back at times.

Bike Touring Italy's Passo Stelvio

At the pass you will find the Cima Coppi sign (named after the famous Italian cyclist), great views, and perhaps the best Italian Hot Dog Grill in the area.

Bike Touring The Classic Climbs of the Dolomites and Alps | Italy

BIKE TOURING THE CLASSIC CLIMBS OF THE DOLOMITES AND ALPS

passo sella

Bike Tour Italy's Dolomites and Alps is one of cycling's most spectacular adventures.  During this Italy Bike Tour the route is designed to allow you to challenge yourself on the TOP Climbs in Italian Cycling History.  Each day's route plan is organized to be enjoyable rides though one of the World's UNESCO Monuments, with plenty of options to ride extra miles.

Italy's Dolomites Mountains offers some of the best mountain roads in Europe to bike tour on. The Dolomites are well developed, and the region is famous for it’s valleys and towns that come alive with après-ski fever each winter and hikers in the summer.  Offering great rides for all level of cyclist the Dolomites should be a must ride on all bike riders bucket list.  You can go for time or just relaxing rides for stunning views, either way we have a developed program that allows you to explore the area safely.

During the Italian Dolomites Bike Tour week, you ride through the heart of the Dolomite's exploring many of the best know mountain passes that have been used for great races, for years. Enjoy great climbs, good food and wine, and fun company during a week of climbing while exploring the National Monument of the World.

For more information and detailed route information connect us via email.

BIKE TOUR ITALY - THE ITALIAN DOLOMITES AND ALPS AT A GLANCE

Saturday - Venice Airport and move to Agordo at the base of the Dolomites
Sunday - Passo Duran - Passo Stalunza - to Selva di Cadore (68 km, 2000 meters)
Monday -Passo Gaiu - Passo Falzarego - Covara (52 km, 1900 meters)
Tuesday - 4 Passes of the Sella Mountain Group - Covara (50 km, 1904 meters)
Wednesday - Passo Gardena - Passo Sella - Passo Costalunga (72 km, 2100 meters)
Thursday - Passo Stelvio - Bormio (48 km, 2100 meters)
Friday - Passo Gavia - (Optional Passo Mortirolo) - Bormio (74 km, 2100 meters)
Saturday - Arriverdici ( Transfer to Milano Train Station)

Each ride can be lengthened, or shorten based on rider preference.  All routes are on secondary roads.

The Dolomites are featured each year in the Giro d'Italia, which has become known as the 'The World's Hardest Race, In the World's Most Beautiful Place',

Bike Touring the Mortirolo Climb in Italy

BIKE TOUR PASSO DEL MORTIROLO | ALPS

Bike Touring Mortirolo in the Italian Alps

The Mortirolo Pass (Passo di Mortirolo) 1852 meters a.s.l. is a mountain pass in the Alps in Italy. Also known as Passo di Foppa, it connects Mazzo di Valtellina (province of Sondrio) and Val Camonica (province of Brescia). The road from Mazzo di Valtellina is one of the most demanding climbs in professional road bicycle racing, having been used in the Giro d'Italia stage race. 

There are 9 different routes up to Passo Mortirolo and each has it's specific difficulties. This is not a climb fo the pristina beauty of the climb, no great visita's or subline moments were you are taken in by the beauty of the area.  The Mortirolo is about the physical challenge of the climb and the pain of estasy for the challenge of the grade.  Each route up exceeds offers grades beyond the norm for average cyclist but for those that love the challenge of the climb each route is a must to do.

THE 9 ROUTES UP TO PASSO FOPPIA (THE MORTIROLO)

  • From Grosotto,  14.4 km,  Elevation Gain 1262 meters, Average Grade 8.76%, Time to Ride 1 hour 30 minutes
  • From Tovo, 13.7 km, Elevation Gain 1320 meters, Average Grade 9.6%, Time to Ride 1 hour 37 minutes
  • From Mazzo, 12.4 km, Elevation Gain 1300 meters, Average Grade 10.4%, Time to Ride 1 hour 34 minutes
  • From Grosio, 14.8 km, Elevation Gain 1222 meters, Average Grade 8.25%, Time to Ride 1 hour 35 minutes
  • From Monno, 10.2 km, Elevation Gain 800 metes, Average Grade 7.8%, Time to Ride 1 hour 2 minutes
  • From Aprica, 25 km, Elevation Gain 650 meters, Average Grade 2.6%, Time to Ride 2 hours
  • From M. Padrio, 9.4 km, Elevation Gain 920 meters, Average Grade 9.7%, Time to Ride 1 hour 10 minutes
  • From Guspessa, 12.8 km, Elevation Gain 1157 meters, Average Grade 9%, Time to Ride 1 hour 27 minutes
  • From Tirano, 32 km, Elevation Gain 1417 meters, Average Grade 4.4%, Time to Ride 2 hour 30 minutes

Exploring Monte Cervino in the Italian Alps

MONTE CERVINO (MATTERHORN) | ALPS

Photo of Monte Cervino

Know in Italy as Monte Cervino, the Matterhorn is instantly recognisable by its pyramid shape.  Monte Cervino is perhaps the most recognised mountain peak in the world. The mountain is in the form of a four-sided pyramid, with the sides conveniently facing the points of the compass.

Monte Cervino is located in the Pennine Alps above the Valtournenche Valley in the Aosta Valley region.  The mountain forms the Italian border with the Zermatt region of Switzerland. At its peak the Matterhorn stands 4,478 metres tall. Although it is not the highest mountain in the Alps, its relative isolation from the surrounding mountain peaks make it one of the most impressive.

You can only reach the peak of the Matterhorn by climbing one of the technical routes. The first ascent of the Matterhorn was in 1865, an adventure where four out of the seven in the original group died during the return journey.  There are still routes being explored today, but most of the direct routes were all climbing by 1931.

Most visitors are content to admire the view from the surrounding valleys and trails. The best way for the casual visitor to get a feel for the mountain is from Breuil, the large resort upper plateau . Cable cars will take you to almost 3,500 metres to enjoy some stunning views across the Matterhorn and surrounding landscape. Further options and views are found if approaching the Matterhorn from the Swiss side.

The area around Monte Cervino is primarily an outdoor region. You will find that mountain climbing, skiing and hiking are the most popular activities, and many of these will provide further opportunities to appreciate the size and drama of the mountain. If the time permits there is a trek that completes a circuit around the Matterhorn and takes about 10 days to complete.  This route is a substantial challenge and experience and thorough preparation is required.

There are also various small villages to explore in pretty settings around and near the base of the Matterhorn, particularly Nus and the nearby Castello di Fnis.

SKI RESORTS ON MONTE CERVINO

Exploring Monte Rosa the Italian Alps

MONTE ROSA | ALPS

monte rosa alps

Monte Rosa is Italy's second highest mountain and is located about 10 kilometres south-east of the Matterhorn in the Alps of north-west Italy. Although the summit of Monte Rosa itself, at 4634 metres above sea-level, is in Switzerland most of the Monte Rosa Massif is within Italy's Aosta Valley Region.

It is a great mass of a mountain at the head of the Valsesia, Gressoney and Ayas valleys. You can see Monte Rosa from many places in north-western Italy and from near the western Lombardy lakes such as Lake Maggiore. The name of the mountain means glacier mountain not pink mountains, as you might have guessed. The word 'Rosa' comes from the word 'rouése' which is a local word for glacier.

Guide to Exploring Monte Rosa

As with the other important mountains in the region, a popular way for 'non-mountaineers' to explore is to follow one of the marked routes.  One of the most popular routes is one that contours the base of Monte Rosa, a trek that usually takes around ten days. Although you avoid climbing to the summit on this route it is still reasonably challenging with several mountain passes to be crossed.

For those who don't want to spend 10 days trekking there are plenty of opportunities to get good views of the mountain from the valleys below.

MAJOR PEAKS OF THE MONTE ROSA

Dufourspitze 4,634 metres (15,203 ft), Ostspitze 4,632 metres (15,197 ft), Grenzgipfel 4,618 metres (15,151 ft), Nordend  4,618 metres (15,151 ft), Zumsteinspitze  4,563 metres (14,970 ft), Signalkuppe 4,554 metres (14,941 ft), Lyskamm  4,527 metres (14,852 ft), Silbersattel 4,515 metres (14,813 ft), Grenzsattel 4,453 metres (14,610 ft), Parrotspitze  4,432 metres (14,541 ft), Ludwigshöhe 4,341 metres (14,242 ft), Corno Nero 4,322 metres (14,180 ft), Vincent-Pyramide 4,215 metres (13,829 ft), Balmenhorn 4,167 metres (13,671 ft), Punta Giordani 4,046 metres (13,274 ft), Jägerhorn 3,970 metres (13,025 ft), Cima di Jazzi 3,803 metres (12,477 ft)

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY NEAR MONTE ROSA

Alagna is the most popular place to stay among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who visit the region. Of course many of the walks are challenging and need proper equipment and experience. Alagna is a major Freeride resort during the winter months.

The village standing at the bottom of the sheer cliff to the east of Monte Rosa is Macugnana.

The villages in the valleys below Monte Rosa are more Germanic than Italian in character, and occupied by the Walsers.  The people have a fascinating history within the valley, that you can learn about at the museum in Pedemonte, a short walk from Alagna. Wherever you travel in the region around the mountain you will see the unusual wooden houses that the Walsers occupy, much unchanged since their arrival in the 13th century.

A couple of cable cars in the vicinity allow access to the high mountains, for example the cable car that operates from Champoluc to Testa Grigia (more than 3300 metres above sea level) or another from Alagna to Punta Indren (3260 metres above sea level).

Other popular villages and resorts in the Monte Rosa region include those at Champoluc, Brusson, Gressoney-St-Jean (which also has a small museum about the wildlife you might encounter), Issime and Riva Valdobbia, with its church having a very colourful frescoed facade from the 16th century.

SKI RESORTS ON MONTE ROSA

Four Thousand Meter Peaks in the Italian Alps

PEAKS OF THE ITALIAN ALPS ABOVE FOUR THOUSAND METERS

Cervino Italian Alps

Primary Mountain Summitsare noted in BOLDfont- all other points listed are recognized high points and peaks on a primary mountain or along various routes. 

Location Mountain Peak Height (Meters
  Mont Blanc 4807
  Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4748
  Dufourspitze 4634
  Mont Rosa Grenzgipfel 4618
  Nordend 4609
  Dufourspitze-western fore-sommeit 4600
  Mont Blanc Freney Gr. Chandelle 4600
  Zumsteinspitze 4556
  Signalkuppe - east ridge gendarme 4550
  Mont Blanc Petite Bosse 4547
  Dom 4545
  Nordend - top of south ridge 4542
  Liskamm 4527
  Mont Blanc Grand Bosse 4513
  Weisshorn 4505
  Dufourspitze higer west ridge summit 4469
  Taschhorn 4490
  Dom - western fore- summit  4499
  Liskamm west summit 4479
  Matterhorn 4478
  Matterhorn west summit 4476
  Mont Blanc southwest ridge, Pic Luigi Amadeo 4469
  Dom northeast ridge summit 4468
  Mont Maudit 4465
  Zumsteinspitze -southwest ridge 4463
  Liskamm west summit 4450
  Parrotspitze 4436
  Taschhorn north ridge summit 4404
  Dufourspitze - lower west ridge 4385
  Weisshorn higher north ridge 4362
  Dent Blanche 4356
  Mont Maudit northeast summit 4336
  Kuskamm east shoulder (Cima Scoperta) 4335
  Weisshorn northe ridge 4331
  Nadelhorn  4327
  Schwarzhorn 4322
  Grand Combin 4311
  Ludwigshohe 4311
  Mont Blanc, Dome du Gouter 4304
  Dufourspitze, lower west ridge summit 4280
  Lenzspitze  4294
  Liskamm, Naso 4273
  Finsteraarhorn 4273
  Aiguille du Croissant 4250
  Mont Blanc du Tacul 4248
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east summit 4247
  Mont Blanc south ridge Gr Pilierd'Angle 4243
  Stecknadelhorn 4241
  Pic Tyndall  (Matterhorn) 4241
  Castor 4228
  Zinalrothorn 4221
  Hohberghorn 4219
  Vicent Piramide 4215
  Grandes Jorasses 4208
  Alphubel 4206
  Castor north summit 4205
  Weisshorn, smaller north ridge gendarme 4205
  Weisshorn, lover north ridge summit 4203
  Liskamm southwest ridge  4201
  Zinalrothorn Kanzei 4200
  Rimpfischhorn 4199
  Aletschhorn 4195
  Strahlhorn 4190
  Taschhorn southeast ridge shoulder summit 4175
  Felikhorn  4174
  Dent d'Herens 4171
  Balmenhorn 4167
  Finsteraarhorn - southeast fore-summit 4167
  Breithorn 4464
  Breithorn, central summit 4159
  Jungrau 4158
  Bishorn 4153
  Zinalrothorn Bosse (north ridge) 4150
  Grand COmbin de Tsessetta 4141
  Western Breithornzwilling 4139
  Pointe Burnaby 4135
  Alguille Verte 4122
  Zinalrothorn Gabeltrm 4120
  Isolee (P. Bianchard) 4114
  Aigulle Bianche (P. Gussfeldt) 4112
  Mont Blanc du Tacul Pointe Carmen 4109
  Weisshorn lowest north ridge 4109
  Rimpfischhorn north ridge gendarme 4108
  P. Androsace 4107
  P. Seymour King 4107
  Eastern Brethornzwilling 4106
  P. Jones 4104
  Grande Rocheuse 4102
  Barre des Ecrins 4101
  Pointe Croz 4101
  Zinalrothron Sphinx 4100
  Tour Roughe 4100
  Monch 4099
  Dent Blanche Grand Gendarme 4098
  Pointe Mediane 4097
  Felikjoch top 4093
  Pollux  4092
  Wengener Jungfrau 4089
  Finsteraarhorn northwest ridge 4088
  Pic Lory 4086
  Aletschhorn northeast ridge 4086
  Schreckhorn 4078
  Schwarzfluh Rocca Nera 4075
  P. Chaubert 4074
  Aletschhorn west northwest ridge 4071
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east face 4067
  Pointe Marguerite 4066
  Corne du Diable 4064
  Obergabelhorn 4063
  Gran Paradiso 4061
  Gran Paradiso Madonna sumit 4058
  Mont Brouillard 4053
  Aigulle de Bionassay 4052
  Piz Bernina 4049
  Gross-Fiescherhorn 4049
  Punta Giordani 4046
  Pointe Helene 4045
  Gross-Grunhorn 4044
  Lauteraarhorn 4042
  Pic Eccles 4041
  Dent d'Herens Epaule 4039
  Aigulle du Jardin 4035
  Durrenhorn 4035
  Allalinhorn 4027
  Mont Blanc du Tacul east slope 4027
  Il Roc 4026
  Pointe Eveline 4026
  Dufourspitze lowest west ridge tower 4026
  Hinter-Fiescherhorn 4025
  Weissmies 4023
  Pointe Croux 4023
  Bernina Spalla 4020
  Zinalrothorn Epaule 4017
  Dome de Rochefort 4015
  Dent du Geant 4013
  Punta Baretti 4013
  Lauteraarhorn northwest ridge summit 4011
  Lagginhorn 4010
  Rimpfischhorn west summit 4009
  Aigulle de Rochefort 4001
  Les Droites 4000

Guide to the Alps in Italy

ALPS OF ITALY

passo-gavia

The Italian Alps are divided into three main groups. The first group, the Western Alps run north to south from Aosta to the Cadibona Pass, with the highest peaks of Mount Viso 3,841 metres and Gran Paradiso 4,061 metres. This group is regarded as the highest mountain completely within Italy. The second group, the Central Alps run west to east from the Western Alps to the Brenner Pass, leading into Austria and the Trentino Alto Adige valley. This group also has high peaks, such as Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) with a summit of 4,807 metres just over the border in France, Monte Cervino (Matterhorn) 4,478 metres, Monte Rosa with a summit of 4,634 metres just over the border in Switzerland, and Mount Ortles3,905 metres. The last group, the Eastern Alps run west to east from the Brenner Pass to Trieste and include the Dolomites and Monte Marmolada 3,343 metres. The Italian foothills of the Alps, which reach no higher than 2,500 metres, lie between these great ranges and the Po valley.

alps-map

MOUNTAINS GROUPS IN THE ITALIAN ALPS

SKI RESORTS IN THE ITALIAN ALPS

Monte Crostis in the Italian Alps

MONTE CROSTIS | ALPS

monte crostis

Monte Crostis, elevation of 2,251 metres a.s.l. (7,385 ft) is located in the Carnic Alps, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.  The Giro d'Italia intended to pass Monte Crostis in 2011, but after the death of Wouter Weylandt and ongoing protests of the peloton, the jury decided to remove Monte Crostis from the route due its danger and brutality.

Monte Crostis is near the famous Monte Zoncolan climb, and sits in the Friuli Venezia Region, Udine Province. There are 3 possible routes to get the summit. Starting from Ovaro, the Monte Crostis bike climb is 17.1 km, climbing 1457 meters with an average grade of 8.5 %.  Starting from Comeglians, the Monte Crostis route is 15.5 km long, climbing 1397 meters, and an average grade of 9 %. The last way up, starts from Ravascletto, the route is 17.7 km long, an ascent of  976 meters, an average grade of 5.5%.

Mortirolo from Grosio Bike Climb | Alps

MORTIROLO FROM GROSIO BIKE CLIMB | ALPS

mortirola grisola 1

The bike climb up this side of the Mortirolo is generally ridden as the descent by cyclists returning to Bormio or other locations in the valley.  The route is one of the few open to general traffic so you must be very attentive on the narrow turns. 

mortirola grisola

BIKE TOURING MORTIROLO ROUTE NOTES

REGION Lombardy
PROVINCE Sandrio
LOCATION Cevedale Alps
START POINT Grosio
FINISH POINT Passo del Mortirolo
LENGHT 14 km
START ELEVATION 650 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 1851 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1201 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 8.6%
MAX GRADE 16%
TIME TO RIDE 1 hour 30 minutes

Mortirolo from Monno Bike Climb | Alps

BIKE TOURING THE MORTIROLO CLIMB FROM MONNO

mortirolo sign

This route up the Mortirolo is generally utilized as the descent route for those doing the Mortirolo, Bormio, and Passo Gavia loop.  As a descent the route is fairly technical and should be road with caution, however as a climb it is one of the easier routes up to Passo Foppio.

mortirola ss49

BIKE TOURING MORTIROLO FROM MONNO ROUTE NOTES

REGION Lombardy Region
PROVINCE Sondrio Province
LOCATION Cevedale Alps
LENGTH 12.9 km
START POINT SS 42 intersection
FINISH POINT Passo del Mortirolo
START ELEVATION 870 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 1851 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 981 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 7.6%
MAX GRADE 15%
TIME TO RIDE 1 hour 10 minutes

Mortirolo from Tovo Bike Climb | Alps

Bike Touring MORTIROLO climb FROM TOVO BIKE CLIMB | ALPS

mortirolo bike climb pass sign

Mortirolo or Passo Foppio is on the to do list for most cyclist who love extreme challenges.  The route starting in Tovo is one of the hardest climbs up the Mortirolo, but not as well known.

mortorola tova 1

BIKE TOURING MORTIROLO CLIMB FROM TOVO ROUTE NOTES

REGION Lombardy Region
PROVINCE Sondrio Province
LOCATION Cevedale Alps
LENGHT 12.3 km
START POINT Tovo Sant Agata
FINISH POINT Mortirolo (Passo Foppio)
START ELEVATION 551 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 1851 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1300 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 10.8%
MAX GRADE 22%
TIME TO RIDE 1 hour 25 minutes

Mount Canin | Julian Alps

MOUNT CANIN | JULIAN ALPS

monte canin

Mount Canin is a mountain in the Julian Alps on the border of Slovenia and Italy. Its highest summit, Big Mount Kanin is 2,587m above sea level. It separates the upper Soča Valley in Slovenia from the Resia Valley in Italy. On the Slovenian part of the mountain, which is part of the Municipality of Bovec, lies an important ski resort, which is the highest in the country. There is also a cave on the mountain, the Vrtoglavica Cave, that holds the record for having the deepest single vertical drop ( pitch) of any cave on earth, at a depth of . Mount Kanin is an important identity symbol of the people of the Resia Valley, and several popular songs in the Resian dialect are dedicated to the mountain, which the locals call Höra ta Ćanïnawa, or simply Ćanen.

Hiking Routes on Mount Canin

  • 2½hrs From D Postaja (The D-station of the Gondola lift), a challenging marked route.
  • 5hrs From B Postaja (The B-station of the Gondola lift), a very challenging marked route.
  • 6¼hrs From the Sella Nevea pass, climbing the via ferrata Rosalba Grasselli, a very challenging marked route.
  • 4¾hrs From the Sella Nevea pass, climbing the via ferrata Divisione Julia, a very challenging marked route.

Ortler Mountain Group, Alps of Italy

ORTLER MOUNTAINS | ALPS

ortles mountains alps

Ortler Mountain Group is at above sea level, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps outside the Bernina Range. It is the main peak of the Ortler Range. It is the highest point of the Southern Limestone Alps, of the Italian province of Bolzano (South Tyrol), and, until 1919, of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. In German the mountain is commonly referred to as "König Ortler" (King Ortler), like in the unofficial hymn of South Tyrol, the Bozner Bergsteigerlied.

The massive mountain is capped by a glacier on the northwest flank and has a long north ridge that ends at the village of Gomagoi and separates the valleys of Trafoi and Sulden. The South ridge leads to the Hochjoch (3527 m) on the main ridge of the Ortler Alps that forms the border of the Province of Sondrio and South Tyrol. Going west on this main ridge are the Thurwieserspitze (3652) and Trafoier Wall (3565 m), while to the Southeast are the Monte Zebrù (3740 m) and the majestic Königspitze (3859 m). From nearby mountains in the northeast the impressive lineup of Königspitze, Zebru and Ortler is known as “das Dreigestirn” (the three heavenly bodies).

HISTORY OF THE ORTLER MOUNTAIN GROUP

The Ortler was first climbed by ("Pseirer-Josele"), a chamois hunter from St. Leonhard in Passeier, and his companions Johann Leitner and Johann Klausner from Zell am Ziller on 27 September 1804. The ascent had been a request of Archduke Johann of Austria, who felt strongly that after the first ascent of the Großglockner (3,798 m) in 1800, the highest mountain in his brother's empire ought to be climbed. The archduke ordered Johannes Nepomuk Gebhard, a "mountain official" and topographer from Salzburg, to climb the mountain with locals. The first five attempts failed and Gebhard was ready to give up, when Pichler responded to the prize money offered for reaching the peak. Pichler and his friends took a difficult, and because of avalanche danger until recently disused, route over the northwest face from Trafoi. (The route was re-opened in 2004.) Upon their return, the men were not believed on their words alone. Gebhard sent Pichler onto the mountain twice more, first in August 1805 with a flag that could be observed with a telescope from the valley, and again in September 1805 with a huge torch. Only after the torch had been seen burning at night was the accomplishment acknowledged. The route Pichler and his men (two brothers named Hell and an unnamed hunter from Langtaufers) took in 1805 was the currently still popular East ridge ("Hintergrat", literally "back-ridge") route. In 1834, at the age of 70, Pichler would make his fifth and final ascent, guiding professor to the top.

The first time the Ortler was climbed along the easiest and currently normal route, the North ("Tabaretta") ridge, was more recently, in July 1865, as the approach is rather lengthy. In 1875 a hut was erected 3,029m high on the North ridge, to break up the climb in two steps. It was named the Payer house, after Julius von Payer, who had mapped the Ortler Alps between 1865–1868 and had climbed 50 of its peaks with as his guide. The first ascent of the South ridge from the Hochjoch followed in 1875, two couloirs on the East face (the Minnigerode and Schück couloir) were opened in 1878/79 and the two steep Northeast ridges (Marlet and Rothböck ridge) were conquered in 1889 and 1909, respectively. Members of the Pinggera family were involved in most of these ascents. The 1,200 m high ice route on the Ortler north face, longest in the Eastern Alps, was first climbed in June 1931 by Hans Ertl and and the remote Southwest face in 1934. The North face was soloed first in 1963 by Dieter Drescher who had also added some first winter ascents to his name, including a traverse of Königspitze, Monte Zebrù, and Ortler in February 1975. On August 31, 1981, achieved the amazing feat of climbing the north faces of Königspitze, Zebrù and Ortler all in one day. Extreme skiing started early in the Ortler mountains, with descending the Schück couloir in 1971 and the Minnigerode couloir in 1975. On June 24, 1983, skied down the North face.

The Ortler Alps were one of the main battlegrounds between Austrian and Italian troops in the First World War, being on the border of Italy and the Austrian Empire. The advantage of owning the highest point was very important. The Austrian troops had quickly occupied the highest peaks, and the Italian troops’ main goal for four years was to dislodge them from these positions. In the mid 1990s, a mountain guide discovered two guns that had been stationed very near the top of the Ortler that had been hidden by snow ever since. The discovery was kept secret until the 200 year anniversary of the first ascent in 2004. The cannons are now on display in a museum in Trafoi.

Passo del Rombo from St Leonhardo Bike Climb

PASSO DEL ROMBO FROM ST LEONHARDO BIKE CLIMB | ALPS

Bike Tour Italy Passo del Rombo

Bike Touring the Italian Alps should include a ride up to Passo del Rombo (Timmelsjoch), on the Italian side you are making the ascent from the town of St Leonhard. A 29 km bike climb on classic serpentine roads, the average grade is moderate at 6%, there are a few ramps the exceed 10%.  A great climb that is fairly isolated and best road during the months of July and August, but still during that time you should bike gear for poor weather.

 Bike Tour Italy Passo del Rombo

Passo Rombo bike climb from St Leonhard

ROUTE NOTES AND PROFILE FOR PASSO ROMBO

REGION Trentino Alto Adige Region
PROVINCE Bolzano Province
MOUNTAIN GROUP Ötztal Alps
DEPARTURE EVEVATION 695 meters a.s.l.
MAX ELEVATION 2474 meters a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1814 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 6.4%
MAX GRADE 14%
LENGHT 29 km
   

Bike tour Passo Rombo

 

The bike tour up to Passo Rombo from San Leonardo is a long isolated climb on a road that seems to have been forgotten.  On many days you can ride on the pass and encounter very little traffic, especially if you are cycling on a weekday.  You can reach Passo del Rombo by departing from Merano or riding over Passo Giova.  The ride from Merano is a good warm up of about 8 km with a couple of short ramps around 10%.

At the town of San Leonardo you will turn left following the signs to Passo del Rombo.  The first 6 km section is fairly easy and takes you up to about 1000 meters a.s.l. There you find the first hard section that averages over 9% until the 10 km mark and then 7% up to the 15 km point.

From the 15 to 19 km points you ride false peak that averages just over 2%, but you should use the breather to refuel and eat not just to make up time.  After the 19 km point you will start the hardest section of the climb and you are reaching the upper elevations.

 

 

Passo dello Spluga in the Italian Alps

 PASSO DELLO SPLUGA | ALPS

Passo Spluga, Italian Alps

The Passo dello Spluga (Splügen Pass in German) is a high mountain pass, at an elevation of 2,113 m above the sea level, located in the SS36 road, which marks the boundary between the Lepontine and Rhaetian Alps.

Passo dello Spluga connects the Swiss Hinterrhein valley and Splügen in the canton of Graubünden with the Valle Spluga and Chiavenna in the Sondrio Province, Lombardy Region, the road continuing to Lake Como. The pass is the water divide between the drainage basins of the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea, and the Po River, which flows into the Adriatic. Since the construction of the tunnel through San Bernardino, the pass has lost its former importance; it is not kept open in winter. The Italian equivalent of the Swiss town of Splügen is Montespluga on the Italian side of the pass. Montespluga is a small three street village which is cut off from both Italy and Switzerland during the winter. Thanks to its lack of importance it is now a quiet pass where essential portions of the historical roads and paths have survived allowing a good historical review for hikers on Via Spluga.

The southern side is extremely steep. The hairpins are in unlit tunnels with poor surfaces. The north (Swiss) side is a wide road and serpentines out of the little village of Splügen, then it narrows a bit through trees - snaking rather than twisting, then out above the trees on a long straight. Up a steep narrow set of hairpins on a very good surface to the Swiss border crossing.

History of Passo dello Spluga

The mule track from Thusis via Sils to Splügen was part of the Graubunden «Untere Strasse», transit route. It continues over the Splügenpass to Chiavenna and until 1818 this was the only way to cross the pass. Until the beginning of the 19th century, the Untere Strasse qualified as a mule track or a road for modest carts. The use of freight wagons and coaches first became possible by the construction of the engineered road from Chur to Bellinzona (1818 to 1823). The new road had numerous civil engineering structures and – thanks to many hairpin bends – a slight and even gradient. Just before the top of the pass you encounter an exceptional example of road building skill, the 312-metre-long avalanche gallery built in 1843.

The marble bridge at the lower section of the Splügenpass was the result of the storm in 1834. The marble was quarried in the near vicinity. The mule track, which is still preserved, was the only transit route until into the 19th century. There must have been intense activity in winter as more could be transported on sledges than on pack animals. The cobbled path reaches a width of over three metres in some parts. The path over the Splügenpass sometimes leads along slopes and is sometimes sunken. The mule track was renovated in the 1990s with funds donated by the Swiss Heritage Society.

In 1840, author Mary Shelley traveled through the pass on the way to Lake Como with her son. She describes the pass in her travel narrative, Rambles in Germany and Italy, published in 1844:

A few years ago, there was no path except across this mountain, which being very exposed, and difficult even to danger, the Splugen was only traversed by shepherds and travellers of the country on mules or on foot. But now, a new and most marvellous road has been constructed - the mountain in question is, to the extent of several miles, cleft from the summit to the base, and a sheer precipice of 4000 feet rises on either side. The Rhine, swift and strong, but in width a span, flows in the narrow depth below. The road has been constructed on the face of the precipice, now cut into the side, now perforated through the living rock into galleries: it passes, at intervals, from one side of the ravine to the other, and bridges of a single arch span the chasm. The precipices, indeed approach so near, in parts, that a fallen tree could not reach the river below, but lay wedged in mid-way. It may be imagined how singular and sublime this pass is, in its naked simplicity. After proceeding about a mile, you look back and see the country you had left, through the narrow opening of the gigantic crags, set like a painting in this cloud-reaching frame. It is a giddy work to look down over the parapet that protects the road, and mark the array rushing of the imprisoned river. Mid-way in the pass, the precipices approach so near that you might fancy that a strong man could leap across.'

The Pass is also mentioned in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Adventure of the Illustrious Client', a Sherlock Holmes short story of 1924. The Austrian Baron Adalbert Grüner, the villain of the story, murdered his wife by throwing her from the Pass, although Holmes cannot prove it.

Bike Tour Passo Spluga from Chiavenna, Italy

  • Length: 30.2 km
  • Average Grade: 5.9%
  • Max Grade: 8.9%

Bike Tour Passo Spluga from Switzerland

Passo di San Giacomo in the Italian Alps

PASSO DI SAN GIACOMO | ALPS

passo san giacomo

Passo di San Giacomo sits in Alps of the Piedmont Region, between the border of Switzerland and Italy, at an elevation of 2308m above sea level and connects Formazza valley with Val Bedretto.   The  last kilometers of the road, above the Toce waterfall, is closed to cars, and it can only be passed by bike.

Passo di San Giacomo separates the Grieshorn Mountain Group (on the west) and the Marchhorn Mountain Group (to the east).

Passo Giovo From St Leonardo Bike Climb

PASSO GIOVO FROM ST LEONARDO BIKE CLIMB | ALPS

Bike Tour Italian Alps, Passo di Monte Giovo

Bike Touring Passo Giovo on the western side is a 20 km winding route that takes you over one of the classic gran fondo routes ridden each year in the Oetztaler Radmarathon.  The classic starting points are either from the town of Merano or descending from Passo Rombo.

passo-giovo-map

PASSO DI MONTE GIOVO FROM SAN LEONARDO ROUTE NOTES

REGION Trentino Alto Adige
PROVINCE Bolzano Province
MOUNTAIN GROUP Sarntal Alps
NEAREST TOWN Merano
START ELEVATION 688 meter a.s.l.
FINISH ELEVATION 2099 meter a.s.l.
ELEVATION GAIN 1411 meters
AVERAGE GRADE 7%
MAX GRADE 11%
SPECIAL NOTES  

 

passo-giovo-profile

 

Passo Mortirolo from Mazzo Bike Climb

PASSO DEL MORTIROLO FROM MAZZO BIKE CLIMB | ALPS

Bike Tour Italy, Passo Mortirolo

One of Europe's hardest bike climbs is Passo del Mortirolo, a must ride.

The bike route up from Mazzo is classic way up and most well known.  Utilized in various Giro d'Italia's this route has an average grade of 10.5%, with ramps up to 18%.  The heart of the climb is 4 km section with an average grade of 14%.

Bike Tour Italy, Passo Mortirolo

Passo Mortirolo Bike Climb From Mazzo Route Notes

Region Lombardy Region
Departure Point Mazzo in Valtelina
Elevation at departure 551 meter
Highest elevation 1851 meters
Length 12.4 km
Elevation gain 1300 meters
Average grade 10.5%
Max grade 18%
Average Ride Times  
Excursionist 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cycle Tourist 1 hour, 37 minutes
Semi Pro Racer 1 hour 11 minutes
Professional Cyclist 55 minutes, 40 sec

 

PASSO MORTIROLO BIKE TOURING THE LOMBARDY REGION OF ITALY

There are many ways to ride Passo Mortirolo, either as your single objective for the day or combining with another pass in the area.  Most Italian riders and event organizers consider the ride from  or through the town of Bormio to Passo del Mortirolo and Passo Giave back to Bormio.  This is an excellent day out on the bike, but it is not a bad idea to have support on this ride.

The climb starts at Mazzo di Valtelina, there is on a bar (called the 'Funny Bar') just south of the intersection of the pass road; this is a good place to grab caffe before the climb and use the restroom.  The first 2 kms of the climb actually average's only 7-8%, but there are short ramps of 9 and 10.  At the 2 km point you will enjoy a short break and this is where the heart of the climb starts.  From here the next 5 kms averages over 10%. 

There are a couple of places to grab water on the way up, but it is best to start with two bottles full if you are trying to ride without putting a foot down.  In turn 11 you will notice a modern sculpture of what is suppose to be a bicyclist, it is a monument to Marco Patini.

 

Passo Resia

PASSO RESIA | ALPS

passo resia

The Resia Pass sits at 1504 meters a.s.l., in the Italian Alps.  Resia Pass connect the Inn River valley of Austria, in the northwest, with the Val Venosta valley in the southeast. Since 1919, the border between Italy and Austria runs approximately along the watershed, the pass summit being completely on Italian territory. Before the Roman era, a path linked the valley of the Inn River with the valley of the Adige river.

The current Resia Pass was part of the Roman road Via Claudia Augusta, opened in 50 AD. Until the 19th century, the pass was an alternative to the passes of Graubünden. Unlike the wide and smooth southern side, the northern side has a steep and narrow bottleneck, the Finstermünzpaß at 1188 meters. Until 1854 the custom houses between Austria and Switzerland were found on fortified bridges of the Inn River at Finstermünz.

Between 1850-54, Carl von Ghega (who already had built the rail-road of Semmering, from Lower Austria to Styria, through Vienna and Graz) and Joseph Duile built a new road from the fortress of Nauders (1394m) to Cajetansbrücke near Pfunds (972m). This road leads along the Eastern, Austrian banking of the Inn, connecting the Austrians lands on Austrian soil. An additional mountain road leads from the Inn valley from the Swiss hamlet Martina in the Austrian Martinsbrück up to Norbertshöhe and Nauders, providing a shorter way from Switzerland to Italy compared to the longer road via Cajetansbrücke. In 1950, on the Italian side of the pass, the artificial lake of Resia was created, famous for the bell tower which emerges from the water in front of the village of Graunim Vinschgau.

Passo Stelvio in the Italian Alps

PASSO STELVIO | ITALIAN ALPS

Passo dello Stelvio

Passo dello Stelvio is one of the highest paved mountain roads in Italy and has been part of bicycle history since the Giro d'Italia passed over it for the first time in the 1950's. Passo Stelvio is located in the Adamello Mountain Group and marks the regional boundary between Trentino Alto Adige Region and Lombardy Region.

There is evidence that the pass was used as far back as the bronze age as a route to get from what is now Tyrol to Italy. At the end of Napoleonic wars the winners (Russia, Prussia, Britain, etc.) held a convention, the Congress of Vienna, in which these triumphant imperialistic powers worked to impose the old order on Europe. They set about redrawing the map of Europe. The northern region of Italy of which Milan is the capital, called Lombardy (Lombardia in Italian), was given to the Hapsburgs who ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This transfer of territory was to make up for their loss of the Netherlands. Italy as a country did not then exist. It was several separate countries, mostly ruled by other European powers.

The Austrians wanted a road to give them a clear communication between Austria, the Val Venosta and Italy through the region of Valtellina. The Italians were rebellious and control was impossible without a pass through the Dolomites. Plans to build the pass were made in 1813, but they were abandoned. In 1820, the Hapsburgs made another attempt and with 2,000 workers completed the incredible engineering feet in 1825.

After Italian independence and unification in the 1860's the top of the Stelvio was the border between Austria and Italy. After World War One, South Tyrol (more territory north of the Stelvio) was given to Italy. Today, the entire pass is in Italian territory.

In the 19th century, recognizing its importance, the pass was kept open all year long. Today the Stelvio Pass is not considered essential. Other passes and modes of transport have rendered·the Stelvio far less important. The size of the road makes it difficult for larger modern cars to make it around some of the sharp hairpin turns. It's just not practical for modern trucks to use. Now the pass is usually closed between October and May.

Passo dello Stelvio

HOW TO GET TO PASSO STELVIO IN THE ALPS OF ITALY

Passo Stelvio sits on the border between the Trentino Alto Adige Region (on the northern side) and Lombardy Region (on the southern side). Arriving from the north you can get a train to Bolzano, transfer, and train to Merano (or there are buses from Bolzano), then from Merano you an train to Spondgona, from here there is a small bus that runs over the pass to Bormio.  From the southern approach you can train to Bergamo, then transfer to go to Sondrio (via Lecco), and then there is a regional bus to Bormio.  From Bormio there a small bus that runs over the pass.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT WHEN VISITING PASSO STELVIO

 

OUTDOOR RECREATION AND TRAVEL TIPS FOR PASSO STELVIO

Passo Stelvio Bike Tour Italy

 

Passo Tonale

PASSO TONALE | ALPS

passo tonale

The Tonale Pass (1883 m./6178 ft. a.s.l.) is a high mountain pass in northern Italy across the Rhaetian Alps, between the Lombardy Region and Trentino Alto Adige Region. It connects Valcamonica and Val di Sole. It is delimited by the Ortler Alps to the north and the Adamello range to the south. The pass plays host to many hotels and shops for tourists in the winter, as the land around the pass is used for winter sports - mainly skiing and snowboarding.

Today Passo Tonale is known for its outdoors activities such as skiing, hiking, wildlife observation and mountaineering. Smooth highway links the cultures of northern Italy and the southern Tyrol, who have honored the fallen of this war with a chapel/ossuary on Tonale Pass itself, and a rock and iron cairn above the pass. At the notch called Passo Paradiso skiers and hikers can pause a moment to consider the "Monument to Brotherhood" and past sacrifices in such a beautiful setting.

WWI HISTORY OF PASSO TONALE

The strategic value of Passo Tonale is increased when the terrain on each side is considered, the highest peaks of the Great War's entire Alpine front. The mighty Ortler range to the north rises as high as 3905 meters (12,770 feet). To the south are the Adamello and Presanella ranges with similar peaks and vast glaciers. In 1915 the summer meadows of Passo Tonale became a no man's land. The surrounding ridges and summits would later be occupied, observation posts and defenses manned in all seasons.

Passo Tonale was well defended on both sides by fortresses, wire and trenches in-depth, mobile batteries and nearby garrisons. Along this frontier were mountain troops of both Austria and Italy, the Kaiserjager and Alpini, who were supplemented by Italian and Austrian reservists. The regulars would eventually be siphoned off to more critical battles and fronts, the burden of defense being held increasingly by "die alte Tiroler" or "la Terrible," army nicknames for the reservist. The most formidable defenses for either side were the natural obstacles of glacier, cliff and endless craggy peaks. 

During the Great War there would never be the manpower from either side to attempt break through this strategic pass, except once, in 1918. On the 13th of June, Austrian Archduke Peter would lead two divisions [including the 22nd Gebirgsbrigade, and local men in the 1st Landesschutzen Regiment, known since 1917 as Kaiserschutzen] in Operation Avalanche. This opportunistic diversion attempted to draw attention from two much larger Austrian offensives against the Piave River line and the Altipiano, centering on Monte Grappa. What would have happened if luck had been with the Austrians at Tonale is not known, as all effort, reserves and support were firmly focused to the east. Aktion Lawine failed miserably due to impossible terrain, undermanned units, meager supplies and determined Italian resistance. In hindsight, these two divisions might have made a critical difference in the Grappa or Asiago sectors, where similar Austrian offensives failed. The final action seen at Passo Tonale was the Italian pursuit of retreating Austrian forces, down the Val di Sole in November of 1918. Austrians from the Asiago/Val Sugana area and Trento were cut off and captured, along with great amounts of abandoned weapons and material. 

Sella Nevea (Passo Nevea) | Julian Alps

SELLA NEVEA (PASSO NEVEA) | JULIAN ALPS

monte lussari

Sella Nevea is a high mountain pass and ski resort in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. Sella Nevea is a località of the comune of Chiusaforte, in the province of Udine.

Sella Nevea is a pass in the Julian Alps, located between the mountains of Jôf di Montasio and Mount Canin. It lies on the road between Tarvisio and Chiusaforte, via Cave del Predil (German: Raibl, Slovene: Rabelj). Sella Nevea is on the main alpine watershed and divides the basin of the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea. Ten km away lies the picturesque and uncontaminated Raibl Lake (also known as Lago di Cave del Predil or Lago del Predil), which is used for canoeing, wind-surfing, and other water sports.

For much of its history Sella Nevea was an agricultural area. It was also the scene of a battle in World War I. Sella Nevea started its modern development in 1970, when the first ski runs were built. Projected to be a heaven for winter sports, Sella Nevea's development suffered a serious setback after a series of avalanches struck it in 1975. In 1980, the company that managed the ski runs went bankrupt. In the 1990s, Sella Nevea's ski runs fell under the control of Promotur, a state-owned but independent company, which took charge of all five main regional ski resorts. In the 90s the Sella Nevea resort suffered from neglect that caused it to lose popularity. Promotur said repeatedly that despite the potential of the location, nothing further have been done to arrest it's decline. In 2001, preventive measures against avalanches were finally completed. In the meantime, the location grew in popularity as a ski racing training camp. It acquired a reputation for uncrowded slopes.

The Julian Alps in Italy

JULIAN ALPS | ITALY

julian alps italy

The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia and of the former Yugoslavia. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipal of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains. A large part of the Julian Alps is included in Triglav National Park. The second highest peak of the range, the 2,775m high Jôf di Montasio, lies in Friuli Venezia Region of Italy. The Julian Alps cover an estimated 4,400 km² (of which 1,542 km² lies in Slovenia). They are located between Sava valley and Kanalska Dolina. They are divided into the Eastern and Western Julian Alps.

Eastern Julian Alps

The Eastern Julian Alps are located in Slovenia. There are many peaks in the Eastern Julian Alps over 2,000m high, and they are mainly parts of ridges. The most important peaks are visible by height and massiveness. There are high plains on the eastern border like Pokljuka, Mežakla and Jelovic.

Western Julian Alps

The Western Julian Alps cover a much smaller area, and are located mainly in Italy. Only the Kanin group lies in Slovenia. The main peaks by height are:

  • Jôf di Montasio
  • Jof Fuart
  • Kanin

Important passes of the Julian Alps are:

  • The Vršič Pass, 1,611 m (5,826 feet), links the Sava and Soča valleys. It is the highest mountain road pass in Slovenia.
  • The Predil Pass (links Villach via Tarvisio and Bovec to Gorizia), paved road 1,156 m (3,792 feet)
  • The Hrušica Plateau at the Postojna Gate: (links Ljubljana to Gorizia), paved road 883 m (2,897 feet)
  • The Pontebba Pass (links Villach via Tarvisio and Pontebba to Udine), railway, paved road, 797 m (2,615 feet)

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