Forcella Lavardet

Forcella Lavardet, the road with 14 sharp hairpin turns

Forcella Lavardet is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.547m (5,075ft) above the sea level, located in the province of Belluno, in the Italian region of Veneto. The climb features 14 sharp hairpin turns that seem to lie on one another, gradually climbing up to the top of the pass. It’s one of the most famous hairpinned roads in the world.

Set high in the Dolomites-Alps range, the road to the summit is mostly unpaved, with some paved sections at the beginning. It’s called Strada Provinciale 465 della Forcella Lavardet e di Valle San Canciano 465 (SP465) and runs north-south from Campolongo, a small village, towards the paved Strada Statale 465 Road. It’s an old military road.

The road is closed to vehicles after some streams and detachments (since October 1993), but it is passable by bike. The flood of October 1993 made the road, which had already been in precarious conditions for some time, definitively impassable. It features some very narrow parts and scary wooden bridges. Some years ago, the road was impassable after heavy rains, but now there’s a new wooden bridge to cross the river Frison, a section which was impossible to cross during several months every year.

In the winter months the road is usually impassable. It was nicknamed ‘the most absurd state road in Italy’. Tucked away in the Seppada zone within the Carnic Alps, the road is famous because its group of 14 steep, picturesque and spectacular hairpin bends, between San Pietro and the peak. Remember the road features a high risk of landslides. The road is pretty steep, hitting a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Campolongo, the ascent is 10.4 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 599 meters. The average gradient is 5.75%. The road is pretty narrow, so it is advice to drive slow in the bends, as you will not see oncoming traffic.

 

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