With a population of more than 10 million people the Lombardy Region of Italy is a busy domain.
To the south west is the great city of Milan, further south and east are endless flat plains, however to the North, Lombardy borders with Switzerland with the Alps forming a natural division and
the lakes lying before them.
With a family history in this area, I have had many visits with the bike. What cycling adventures do I recommend?
Ride Lake Como
Although Lake Como is now more famous as a part time residence for George Clooney, it also makes for beautiful and scenic cycling. Riding the lake can be a little chaotic as roads are narrow,
there are frequent tunnels and the Italian Motorists are enthusiastic, but well worthwhile.
It is possible to circumnavigate the lake, with a ride of just over 200 kilometers. There are multiple diversions off the lake, with many climbs climbs offering amazing views. It is also possible
to visit Switzerland rather easily from the Northern side of the lake.
Mountain Biking Options also abound. Ferries are available at many of townships that can enable quick access to the many townships scattered around the lake.
Visit the Italian Cycling Museum and Madonna del Ghisallo Chapel
There is a famous and beautiful climb that takes you from Bellagio, Lake Como up to the Chapel and the Museum.
The chapel is a place of pilgrimage for Italian Cyclists, and is packed with the jerseys and bikes of multiple Italian and World Champion Cyclists. And then there is the Italian Cycling Museum
Again beautiful views across the lake are to be had from this location.
Ride the Muro Di Sormano
One of the great cycling challenges. It has been featured in the "Giro D'Italia" but more commonly associated with the Giro di Lombardia". It is a climb that tough that it was not used in a professional bike race for over 40 years from the 1960's.
The "Wall" has an average gradient of 17 percent over 1.7 kilometres. The lane way is painted with altitude markers for every metre gained above sea level.
The road is essentially a walkway and cannot be accessed by motor vehicles.
Ride the Stelvio
One of the five "must ride" climbs in Italy, the Stelvio is a monster. Depending where you measure it from it is over 20 kilometres in length with a gradient over 7 percent.
As with all the big alpine climbs be prepared when you arrive at the top, it is always seems to be so so cold!
Ride the Mortirolo
Another of the "bucket list" climbs, the Mortirolo is one of the classic "Giro D'Italia" climbs. With some variations depending on differing starts, 11 kilometres at over 11 percent average
gradient. This climb is not far down the valley from Bormio, which is the origin of the Stelvio pass.
Livigno is a mountain pass from Bormio. It is a unique with its isolation and it's "Duty Free" status. Fuel, Alcohol, Jewellry and Clothing bargains to be had.
The township sits in a mountain enclosed valley with only 3 roads in and out. However, each road is a significant mountain pass. The valley itself sits at over 1800 metres above sea
During the winter Livigno is a mecca for cheap snow skiing holidays, and during the summer it is popular with many for cycling training camps.
Often featured in the "Giro di Lombardia" as a start venue or a spectacular finish location. There is the "old" Bergamo which is a walled city on a hill and the "new" Bergamo on the plain. There
are many cycling companies, frame builders, professional teams and cyclists based in this Provence.
Climb any of the multiple roads leading to ski villages
Climb the tens and tens of climbs that take you to the high mountains and the ski villages. Enjoy an espresso at the summit before your beautiful sweeping descent.
Visit St Moritz in Switzerland
As the crow flies, Switzerland borders on the Northern Lombardy Region. However, although the border is mostly unable to be passed, there are a number of good opportunities. St Moritz is across
the border from Livigno with a massive mountain pass for those with a heightened sense of adventure. High altitude, big kilometres ans many metres in elevation await the bold!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Gaggini is founder of Adelaide Cycling Academy and owner of Infuga Retreat. As a cycling coach Robert brings years of experience to a wide range of Cycling Activities.
Winner of multiple cycle races including Mt Gambier 100mile classic 2005, and Alphutte 2003, (4th in 2012). Participant in a variety of endurance events including Paris-Brest-Paris, and is a 40km per day commuter for over 20years.
If you require any assistance with training plans, cycle coaching or if you just want to ride faster, Robert is happy to assist.