Colle delle Finestre is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.178m (7,145ft) above the sea level, located in the Alps, in the Italian region of Piemonte, Italy, linking Susa Valley and Cisone Valley. It's one of the highest asphalted roads of the Alps. The road is usually open from the first of June till September 30. The maximum grade is 14% and along its 18,6 km, there no less than 55 hairpins.
The road over the pass is mostly gravel and is called Strada Provinciale 172. It was built around 1700 to gain access to the fortresses in the zone, mainly the Forte di Fenestrelle. Starting in Pourrieres, the road is pretty narrow but asphalted. But the north part of the road is a dirt track road, with never ending hairpins.
Stage 19 of 2005 Giro d'Italia crossed Colle delle Finestre, Danilo Di Luca being the first one on the top. The stage, finishing in Sestriere, was won by Venezuelan José Rujano. 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 in 2005, the road is even in worse conditions after loads of summer traffic. And it seems this pass will appear in some editions in the future.
There are 2 ways to get the summit. Starting from 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 road is usually open from the first of June till September 30. The maximum grade is 14%. 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 serves as tourist attraction although the last 7,9 kilometres of the road from Susa are not asphalted. This is in fact the military part of the road, which was "paved" in order to mount military equipment.
The hardest part of the road are the first 2 km. The rest of the climb is very steadily steep. The surface of the road is asphalt, gravel and sand, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime. This stretch of road should not be attempted by novice drivers. Your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails.