An epic road to Colle delle Finestre in the Italian Alps
Colle delle Finestre is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.203m (7,227ft) above the sea level, located in the Italian region of Piemonte.
Can you drive to Colle delle Finestre?
The road to the summit is called Strada Provinciale 172 (SP172) also known as Strada del Colle delle Finestre. It’s a curvy road with 45 wicked hairpin turns. It’s mostly paved. The road serves as tourist attraction although the last 7,9 kilometres of the road from Susa are not paved. This is in fact the military part of the road, which was "paved" in order to mount military equipment. The road was built around 1700 to gain access to the fortresses in the zone, mainly the Forte di Fenestrelle. The pass is the starting point to Strada dell'Assietta and Strada Militare del Colle della Vecchia.
How long is Colle delle Finestre?
The pass links Susa Valley and Cisone Valley. It’s 34.3 km (21.31 miles) long, running south-north from Depot to Susa. Starting at Depot, the ascent is 16 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.125 meters. The average percentage is 7 %. And from Susa, the ascent is 18.62 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.694 meters and the average percentage is 9.1 %. The climb has been featured in the Giro d'Italia race. There are a couple of monuments celebrating Danilo Di Luca as the first rider to reach the summit. Apparently, as a result of its popularity thanks to its appearance in the Giro d'Italia, the road is even in worse conditions after loads of summer traffic.
Is Colle delle Finestre open?
Set high in the Cottian Alps, the road is usually open from the first of June through September 30th.
Is Colle delle Finestre challenging?
Tucked away on the northern part of the country, the maximum gradient is 16.5%. It’s one of the hardest climbs in the Alps and an epic mountain pass in the Italian Alps. It’s a tough climb thanks to the distance and consistent gradient rather than the gravel. The road is very popular for both cyclists and motorbikes with magnificent views of the surrounding mountain ranges.