Over the centuries Lake Como has never failed to seduce with its charm. The evocative landscape, a pristine natural environment that passes from plains to mountains, the azure lake to the verdant valley covered with woodlands and blossoming meadows, the stunning villas.
Politicians, actors, athletes and tourists alike have been won over by the lake’s strong character and unique atmosphere.
Even those who don’t know much about cycling know of the Giro di Lombardia (the falling leaves classic), the Milano Sanremo, the Giro d’Italia: icons of cycling that are part of our culture. And it’s here that the Giro di Lombardia classic passes; the World Autumn Classic, the race most loved by Fausto Coppi, who was able to win it five times (four consecutively).
It takes time and a few tips to discover all of this destination’s cult cycling places. But that’s why we’re here.
Muro di Sormano
Defined as the “most gruelling bike trail in the world”, the Muro di Sormano (Wall of Sormano) is known to cyclists in the area for its impossible gradients (peaking at 24%). Included in the Giro di Lombardia to make it a more selective race; it served its purpose so well that many professionals were forced to get off their bikes and walk.
Even visually it makes quite an impression. On the asphalt you feel every metre of altitude, and to welcome you to the Muro are a few words that Gino Bartali wrote on the road:
“A passista (non-climber) has no alternative. He must arrive at the foot of the Muro with at least 10 minutes’ head start, so that if he walks, taking a quarter of an hour more than those who ride it, he’ll arrive at the top five or six minutes late and will still have a chance.”
Ghisallo and cycling are bound by a long, compelling and passionate history; witness to thrilling challenges from the Giro di Lombardia to the Giro d’Italia. The Pass is at an altitude of 754 metres. From the Bellagio face, which is the one we suggest, the climb is about 10 kilometres long, but more lovely than the actual ascent is the message inscribed in the stone in the central room of the museum: “Omnia Vincit Amor”, love conquers all.
Ghisallo Cycling Museum
Particularly prevalent among cycling champions, both Italian and not, is the custom of donating their memorabilia to the Santuario del Ghisallo (Ghisallo Sanctuary). So much so that in the 1990s there wasn’t enough room in the little church to house everything. Thus, the museum was designed.
Today, historical memorabilia such as photos, bikes used by Bartali, Coppi and Merckx during their victories in the Tour de France, and the special bike used by Moser for his Hour Record can be admired. Included are also articles of clothing, such as the biggest collection of pink jerseys in the world; thanks to the Giro for Ghisallo project, more than fifty original pink jerseys from the 1930s to today were recovered and are on display.
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