In between the South Tyrol and the Lombardia
There are few better situated towns than Bormio if you’re looking for an adventure in the high mountains. Surrounded by an embarrassment of riches with a handful of the most famous climbs in the world of cycling it is understandably teaming with riders in the summer months.
From the gargantuan length and extraordinary height of the Stelvio to the brutality of the Mortirolo via the wild summit of the Gavia and much more this area has everything your climbing legs could ever wish for.
Thanks to its thermal baths, which are still in use today Bormio has been a tourist attraction since Roman times. With its medieval town center set in the stunning mountain scenery it is busy 12 months of the year with an abundance of facilities making it a premier location for both winter and summer sports.
Many of the greatest feats in cycling have been played out in these mountains. Legends and idols have been created through feats of athleticism and bravery that will never be forgotten such as Fausto Coppi’s exploits on the first crossing of the Stelvio in 1953 to Andy Hampsten’s heroics on the Gavia in 1988.
Bormio has what is classed as a tundra climate and even in the height of summer temperatures are mild even in the valleys. The best time to visit is between June and September especially if you want to cross the high passes however these can see snowfall even as late as August in exceptional circumstances.
The passes around Bormio are what you could call ‘Big Game’ they are amongst the highest and therefore toughest and wildest anywhere in the Alps. There’s much more besides with shorter but wickedly steep ramps and plenty of lesser but no less beautiful ascents for those riders just getting acclimatised to climbing.
Points of interest
Built in 1980 the Giardino Botanico Alpino “Rezia” is a botanical garden specializing in and preserving the alpine plant species located in the Stelvio National Park.
Bormio’s thermal baths at Bagni Vecchi, Bagni Nuovi and Terme di Bormio have been well known since Roman times and been in constant use ever since due to the town’s strategic location on trading routes.
Torri di Fraele
On top of the climb to the Laghi di Cancano stand the Torri di Fraele, square towers built in 1391 then fortified in the 15th century before being partially destroyed in 1513 by invaders from Switzerland.
On the Passo Mortirolo at the eight kilometre mark there is a permanent memorial to the late Marco Pantani, the first rider to truly tame the climb’s vicious slopes in the 1990 Giro d’Italia.
Bormio has a wealth of attractions if you are looking for a rest day from the Museo Mineralogico e Naturalistico di Bormio, the Torre Alberti, the Ferriera Corneliani musuem and the Fort Venini.
"Legendary. That is the only way to describe the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo Passes."
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