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Stage 18 - Pinzolo - Laghi di Cancano

The stage

This is an alpine stage, 207 km long, challenging and with long climbs, which starts from Pinzolo in Trentino, crosses Alto Adige and ends in Lombardy at the Lakes of Cancano in the Stelvio National Park.

Giro d'Italia 2020 -Stage 18

The history of Pinzolo revolves around the activities of the Congregazione dei Battuti [Confraternity of Flagellants] and the development of the cemetery church of San Vigilio, whose origins probably date back to before the year 1,000. In 1539 Simone Baschenis decorated the south wall of the church with the painting, 'Death Triumphant' which includes the 'Danse Macabre', the 'Seven Deadly Sins' and the 'Resurrection of Christ'. Today Pinzolo, in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park, is the starting point for exploring the trekking routes and cycle paths of Val Rendena and enjoying some outstanding views of the Dolomites.

Church of San Vigilio, Pinzolo

From Pinzolo to Madonna di Campiglio, the stage heads uphill towards the Dolomite panoramas of Brenta, in the ski district area extending up to the Val di Sole. Madonna di Campiglio, elegant and worldly, and the site of international ski events in the winter, is perfect as a starting point for hiking, cycling and mountain biking in the autumn. The road bike tour of Campiglio and Comano is famous; it’s a tour for experienced cyclists with three legendary ascents: Durone Pass in the Comano area, Daone Pass, and Madonna di Campiglio, arriving at Campo Carlo Magno Pass. In cycling, Madonna di Campiglio is associated with Marco Pantani, who won his last stage here in 1999.

Madonna di Campiglio


Madonna di Campiglio, Trentino Sviluppo S.p.A. Photo Library

After Madonna di Campiglio and Campo Carlo Magno, the tour continues towards Folgarida. Immersed in the luxuriant nature of the River Meledrio, its worth visiting the small chapel which stands on the site of a former hospice; legend says it was built by the Templars. From Folgarida we make a detour in the direction of Lago di Tovel and the nearby village of Tuenno, one of the oldest in the Val di Non, which was first a bishop's residence and then a fiefdom of the local nobility. Its lands, churches and the glimpses of the surrounding woods give the village a very evocative atmosphere. Lago di Tovel, the jewel of the Adamello Brenta Park, is the largest natural lake in the Val di Non with its spectacular greenish-blue waters. Numerous hiking trails, which are also suitable for cyclists, start from the lake.

 

Lake Tovel

The tour arrives in Dimaro, one of the main ski areas at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites, at the start of the Val di Meledrio. This centre is dedicated to tourism and sports. From Dimaro we take a detour to explore the Val di Sole and the Black Snake World Cup Downhill course.

Val di Sole, Passo Zaccarana

From Rumo to Passo Castrin the Giro's athletes face a challenging ascent. Anyone wanting to imitate them can take Tour 1430 Malghe Maddalene. This is a gruelling path climbing up the Maddalene mountain range to the slopes of Monte Ozol and returning to Rumo. Anyone climbing up to the mountain huts will be rewarded by the incomparable natural spectacle and the warm welcome of the refuge huts.

Monte Ozol

After the Passo Castrin, you arrive in Ulten Valley/Ultental in Alto Adige. Its uncontaminated nature makes this area of the Stelvio National Park particularly fascinating. There are countless paths among the woods, meadows and traditional huts which allow hikers to explore the Ortler Alps.

Lago di Zoccolo


The Giro athletes arrive in Lana, an enchanting town with great culinary traditions, excellent wines, churches, a golf course and numerous mountain biking and trekking routes. With mountain bikes you can climb up on woodland paths to the region's most beautiful alpine pastures. Classic mountain biking in Lana includes the tour to Marlinger Berg and the Vigiljoch circuit on the local mountain of Lana. From Lana, take the cable car up to Monte San Vigilio, a small paradise for hikers.

Monte San Vigilio

While the Giro carries on, we take a detour at the junction for Merano to visit this splendid holiday resort of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Surrounded by the woods of the Texel Group Nature Park, Merano is a well-known, elegant spa as well as being an active cultural centre. Following in the footsteps of the past, you can take one of Princess Sissi's preferred walks, or you can explore Merano and its surroundings by bicycle by choosing one of three cycle paths: the Val Venosta Malles–Merano cycle path; the Adige Merano–Bolzano cycle path and the Val Passiria Merano–San Leonardo track. You can find more information on mountain biking routes, e-Bikes, bicycle rental and transport on this link.


Merano

We return to the route of the stage and arrive in Naturno, a small town on the outskirts of the Texel Group Nature Park. The first certified Alpine Wellness tourist destination in Alto Adige, this is located between Monte Tramontana and Monte del Sole. From Naturno you can pedal to Merano along the Via Claudia Augusta cycle path, a route more than two thousand years old. It follows the route of the first real road through the Alps opened by the Emperor Claudius, which connected the Adriatic and the Po valley to the Danube. This cross-border route presents an extraordinary variety of landscapes and splits into two in Trento, creating the Via Claudia Augusta Altinate towards Altino, near Venice, and the Via Claudia Augusta Padana, which runs towards Verona and Ostiglia on the River Po.


Cyclists in the Naturno woods

The athletes continue their race passing through Castelbello [Kastelbell], a small town at the foot of the Sonnenberg, a summer and winter sports destination. Rich in history and art, it is home to a permanent exhibition on the Via Claudia Augusta.

Castelbello Castle


We then arrive in Prato allo Stelvio [Prad am Stilfser Joch], on the floor of the Val Venosta valley, in the Stelvio National Park. Immersed in an unspoilt natural environment, facing the Ortler Alps, it is a place for mountaineers and nature lovers. The Messner Mountain Museum, Ortler and the Prader Sand biotope, one of the last wetlands along the Suldenbach, are worth a visit.


Messner Mountain Museum Ortles


At this point of the stage, the athletes are preparing to face the Stelvio Pass ascent, known as Cima Coppi in honour of the great champion Fausto Coppi. At an altitude of 2,758 metres it is the highest pass in Italy and the second highest in Europe, as well as being the highest point ever reached by cyclists in the Giro d'Italia. The trail which connects Spondigna in Val Venosta to Bormio in Lombardy is called the "Roof of Italy" or "Queen of the streets". Its 25 kilometres and 48 tight hairpin bends on the side of the mountain, created between 1820 and 1826, are considered a pioneering work of mountain road construction. The Stelvio Pass is a place of indescribable beauty, both for its enthralling track and for its supreme natural setting. An important part of Italy's history during the Great War is also linked to the Stelvio Pass. The climb to the Stelvio is a legendary ascent; one which must be done at least once in a lifetime.


Stelvio Pass

Once over the pass, the Giro enters Lombardy arriving at Isolaccia in Valdidentro. It is one of the tourist resorts of the Altavaltellina district, together with Livigno and Santa Caterina di Valfurva and Bormio.

Valtellina & surroundings


Mountain biking and fat biking are right at home in Valtellina and Bormio. The Bike Park is a favourite destination for those who practise downhill, freeriding and cross-country cycling.

Cicloturismo in Valdidentro

The race now reaches the Passo di Fraele at an altitude of 1,930 metres, a spectacular sequence of 17 continuous hairpin bends which were once part of the route of the "via imperiale di Alemagna". Leaving Valdidentro this crosses Val Mora and Val Müstair to pass over into Austria and reach Bavaria. The route is dominated by the Torri di Fraele, the ruins of ancient watchtowers. From this point you can enjoy a magnificent view over Valdidentro and the mountains of Alta Valtellina.

Passo di Fraele

The stage ends at the artificial lakes of Cancano in Valdidentro, in the Stelvio National Park. From this area of the park there are old military roads and mule tracks which climb up to the highest altitudes, and there are paths going up through the woods to the glaciers. Among its larch and European spruce forests, the park has a vast network of trails suitable for everyone, and is the ideal environment for devoting yourself to either sports or relaxation

Laghi di Cancano

 

Not to be missed


The Dolomites, a Unesco World Heritage Site, comprise nine mountain systems in the Italian Alps, stretching between Alto Adige, Trentino, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. They are famous for the exceptional beauty of the landscape and their outstanding natural value. The green of the Dolomites’ woods is interspersed by the meadows, and their rocky peaks are extremely varied in both shape and geology: vertical rock walls, karst systems and very high needles interspersed with towers and pinnacles which change colour according to the time of day, going from pink, orange and violet to white. Moulded by time, they are where Italian and German culture and the culture of the Ladin community meet.



Three Peaks of Lavaredo


About an hour from Pinzolo we suggest visiting Canale di Tenno, a medieval village surrounded by greenery on the hills overlooking Lake Garda. The original architectural layout of the village is perfectly preserved; the ancient stone houses, the balconies overlooking the narrow alleys and the windows decorated with geraniums, so creating an evocative atmosphere. Strolling through the village you have enchanting views of the lake. Canale di Tenno is one of the Borghi più belli d’Italia (most beautiful Italian villages).

Canale di Tenno

The Stelvio National Park, on the border between Lombardy, Trentino and Alto Adige, is a mountain park located at an altitude of between 2,000 and 3,905 metres on the summit of the Ortler. Rugged peaks and vast glaciers create unique panoramas. The park is one of Europe's largest nature reserves and within it you can spot deer, chamois, alpine ibex, weasels, ermines and birds of prey. The inhabitants of the National Park protect their environment, lead a sustainable lifestyle and obtain all the local products according to the ancient rules of the rural tradition.


Stelvio National Park

 

By bike

Trentino by bike


Anyone who wants to emulate the exploits of the great cycling champions, retracing the exciting stages of the Giro d'Italia in Trentino, can test themselves along the trails of the 23 great ascents, among unforgettable mountain landscapes, Dolomite peaks and azure alpine lakes. Each ascent is paired with a champion or an epic moment of great cycling.


Mangh
en Pass


Trentino is full of cycle paths and ad-hoc accommodation facilities for accommodating those traveling on two wheels. Here we propose an easy route along the Val Rendena track, a real immersion in nature within the Adamello Brenta Park.

San Giuliano Refuge, Val Rendena

 

Alto Adige by bicycle

For two-wheel experts, the Stelvio Tour, which goes from Prato to the Stelvio Pass, is the most classical of the routes in Alto Adige. Technical preparation and training are essential for tackling the 25 km climb with a 1,800-metre difference in altitude and 48 hairpin bends which give no respite. Once at the top, you are rewarded by the spectacular view of the glaciers and boulders of the Ortler Alps.


There are numerous itineraries dedicated to two wheels in Alto Adige. From the ancient Via Claudia Augusta, which ends in Bavaria, to the cycle paths of the valley floor, there is simply an embarrassment of choice for lovers of mountain biking and free riders. You can find more details about the numerous two-wheeled holiday proposals on this link.

Via Claudia Augusta



For those who love active holidays, but at a slow pace with tasting breaks, we suggest the Strada del Vino [Wine Road] itinerary, a perfect combination of nature and tasting in three delightful tours: the route along the Vecchia Ferrovia cycle path, the Grande Giro OltradigeBassa Atesina and the Sulle tracce di Lagrein e Sauvignon itinerary.

On the Alto Adige Wine Road

 

Lombardy by bicycle

The most ambitious bicycle ride in the Stelvio Park is that tackling the ascent towards the Pass along the hairpin bends which connect Valtellina to Val Venosta. The traditional ascent starts from Bormio and climbs for 21 km through 34 hairpin bends.

In Alta Valtellina, on a route from Tirano to Sondrio, you cycle along the Via dei Terrazzamenti, between mountains and vineyards, until you reach Sondrio. In Tirano, you can admire the departure station of the Bernina-Rhaetian Railway’s Red Train, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Tirano.

 

Tirano, Rhaetian Railway Red Train


The Ciclabile dei Sogni, a cycle footbridge suspended 30 metres above the level of the lake, starts from Limone sul Garda and goes to the border with Trentino, clinging to a cliff overlooking the water. Also accessible at night, the cycle path offers a unique view of the lake.


Ciclabile dei Sogni, Limone sul Garda

You can find more information about the cycling routes in Lombardy on the regional tourist site.


In the Bergamo valleys on two wheels — #inBici 7X10