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Map of Italy
Photographs from the Italian Alps, late May and early June 2010

In the last week of May 2010 I set off for 10 days in the Alps and Dolomite mountains of Italy. For the first week I was based in a small town called Sondalo, staying at the Hotel Rezia, a nice hotel which represents great value for money. Sondalo is about 20 km south by road from the far better known ski town of Bormio, which has become something of a mecca for cyclists in the summer months because of it's close proximity to some of the famous climbs used in the Giro d'Italia such as the Passo dello Stelvio, Passo Gavia, and the dreaded Mortirolo. The problem with Bormio, in my opinion, is that it's a little too close to the climbs. The roads leaving Bormio all go uphill right from the start, except for the road down the valley towards Sondalo, so there's no chance for a warm up before tackling the Passo dello Stelvio, Passo Gavia, or Passo di Foscagno. In that respect Sondalo is a better location in my opinion since you get a 20 km ride, with a small climb in the middle, to warm up prior to starting those major climbs.

Cycling around this area is hard. There's just little or no flat ground so, for me at least, 150 km is a hard day around these parts. I've been on many trips to the Alps and Pyrenees of France and usually bank on riding about 150 km per day, and up to about 200 km maximum. Some of that will be on big climbs but a lot will be riding along the rolling coutryside in the beautiful valleys of the area which is a little less demanding. The Italian Alps are a different matter. Even the valley roads have little or no flat ground and they even contain some fairly decent hills. On one of those hills, with a slight tailwind, I broke my personal speed record and finally cracked the 100 km/h barrier (100.7 km/h).

The highlights of the trip would have to be seeing two stages of the Giro d'Italia live, on the famous climbs of the Mortirlolo and the Passo Gavia, and of course being able to ride those and many of the other roads in the area myself to get a feel for what the riders are going through in the race. I think it would also be a great place to go if you wanted to go walking or climbing in the mountains. There are tracks everywhere and they're very well signposted. In fact they're better signposted than most Italian roads!


Below are some photos from the Alps, mostly taken while cycling around the area and some from when walking in the mountains above Sondalo. For photos of the Mortirolo and Passo Gavia stages of the Giro d'Italia or from the second part of the trip, in the Dolomites, see these pages:


Photo of the view from my hotel room
Sondalo
Photo of the hills beyond Fumero
Fumero
Photo of the zig-zag road leading up to Fumero
Fumero
Photo of a road tunnel
Road tunnel
Photo of Bormio from Bormio 2000
Bormio 2000
Photo of the road up to the Passo di Stelvio
Passo dello Stelvio
Photo of the road up to the Passo dello Stelvio
Passo dello Stelvio
Photo from the summit of the Passo dello Stelvio
Passo dello Stelvio

Photo of from the Mortirolo
La Chiesa di San Matteo
Photo from the bottom of the Mortirolo
Mortirolo
Photo from the Mortirolo
Mortirolo
Photo of from the Mortirolo
Mortirolo
Photo of the Marco Pantani Memorial
Pantani Memorial
Photo of the Marco Pantani Memorial
Pantani Memorial
Photo from the Mortirolo Summit
Mortirolo Summit
Photo from the Mortirolo Summit
Mortirolo Summit
Photo of from the Mortirolo
Mortirolo Panorama (2.2 MB)

Photo from half way up the Passo Bernina
Passo Bernina
Photo from half way up the Passo Bernina
Passo Bernina
Photo from the Passo Bernina summit
Passo Bernina
Photo from the Passo Bernina summit
Passo Bernina
Photo from the Passo Gavia
Passo Gavia
Photo from the Passo Gavia
Passo Gavia
Photo from the Passo Gavia
Passo Gavia
Photo from the Passo Gavia summit
Passo Gavia

Photo from the hills above Sondalo
Sondalo Hills
Photo from the hills above Sondalo
Sondalo Hills
Photo from the hills above Sondalo
Sondalo Hills
Photo from the hills above Sondalo
Sondalo Hills
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This page first created by Craig Porter: 13/06/2010.