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The Stelvio Pass road, which connects Bormio to the South Tyrol and to Switzerland is a dream for those who love the motorcycle and mountain roads rich in curves.
History of the Stelvio Pass road
A route over the Stelvio Pass has existed since the Middle Ages, but it was a risky mountain path. At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, the Emperor Francis I of Austria wanted a new road that would connect the Venosta Valley to the Valtellina, and from there to Milan, then Austrian territory.
The project was entrusted to Carlo Donegani (1775-1845), an expert on high mountain engineering. The work began in 1822 with the employment of more than 2,500 workers, engineers, and geologists, and after just three years, in 1825, the new road was inaugurated in the presence of the emperor himself.
Until 1915 the Stevlio Pass Road was used throughout the year by travelers and merchants, thanks to the efficient work of men employed to shovel snow during the winter. During World War One, it was a theater of clashes between the Italians and the Austrians, and after the armistice of November 4, 1918, both sides became Italian, and the Pass lost its original significance in connecting Vienna to Milan. At that time, it was decided to close the Stelvio Pass in winter and today it is passable from the end of May to early November.
The route is spectacular, with 40 hairpin turns on the Lombard side above Bormio, and 48 more on the South Tyrol side above Prato allo Stelvio, in the Venosta Valley. Ascending from Bormio, you can reach the Umbrail Pass (8211 feet/2503 meters) which allows the entry in Switzerland and the descent to Santa Maria in the Monastero Valley. At the summit, the legendary Stelvio Pass (9048 feet/2758 meters) is the highest automotive pass in Italy and the second highest in Europe.
Total distance from Bormio – Stelvio Pass – Prato allo Stelvio: 29 miles (47 km)