The history of the Giro d'Italia

The history of the Giro d’Italia is written on the mountainsides, and on the mystical uphill climbs on these alpine passes such as, GAVIA, MORTIROLO, and TONALE.


Passo Gavia (from Ponte di Legno)

Some of the most renowned cyclists in the world have lived up to the challenge of this historical climb since 1960. This very demanding climb starts at Ponte di Legno until arriving at an altitude of 2600m. From here you will rewarded with a 360 ° view which embraces the peaks of the Ortles and Adamello groups.
This leg was discovered almost by chance when in 1960, the patron of the Giro, Vincenzo Torriani, caught sight of it during a recce of the area, and decided to add it to the ‘Corsa Rosa’  The most famous event was that of the 5th of June 1988.  Right from the beginning of the race the cyclists had to battle with the snow and the ice, some had to be assisted for the start of frostbite and many arrived at the finish line outside the maximum time.

Passo Mortirolo (from Monno)

This is considered the most demanding and challenging route in the whole of Europe, and puts even the most trained and prepared cyclists to the test, with slopes as steep as 18%.  Its sharp bends wind their way almost entirely through dense and shaded woodland. It also passes through many small villages each of which shows its altitude.
During this extremely difficult stage of the Giro of 1994, a young 24 year old continued to make headway until leaving a considerable gap behind him and arriving at the next leg with an advantage of 2.52 minutes.  This young man was unknown at the time.  His name was Marco Pantani. In 2006 a monument in his memory was erected to commemorate his death just 2 years earlier.


Passo Tonale (from Val di Sole)

An ascent from Fucine di Ossana along a constantly steep road. Whilst cycling you can catch sight of Strino, the old Austrian-Hungarian fort, as well as other evidence of the Great War. It was crossed for the first time in 1933 in the stage from Bolzano-Milan and has been incorporated among the “Greatest ascents in Trentino”.
In 1939 this itinerary became crucial for the ‘Corsa Rosa’. Gino Bartali, already the favourite to win, fell and lost at this stage due to the snow and fog, and the winner was Valetti Bartelli had, as always, called to check the conditions beforehand but this was not enough toavoid the accident and the eventual defeat.



Passo Tonale (from Ponte di Legno)

The climb to Tonale from Ponte di Legno is a very interesting one. Along its way the thick woodland on the valley floor thins out leaving room for some spectacular views of the Adamello group. The destination is Passo Tonale, a famous local ski resort  and the port of call for lovers of trekking, of histort and MTB:
In 1984, the 63rd Giro d’Italia crossed the Val Camonica. Originally, the Giro was to have passed the Stelvio but due to the extremely heavy snowfall, the course was diverted to Passo Tonale and Passo Palade and down to Merano.  This caused considerable controversy with some, insisting it was in order to give Moser an advantage.