Strada alla Galleria di Rosazza is an extremely narrow mountain road climbing up to Santuario di Oropa, the biggest sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Alps, at an elevation of 1.159m above the sea level.
The asphalted road, with a length of 12.3 km starts in Valmosca in the junction with Strada Provinziale 100, a small town of the Alpi Biellesi, in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. The Sanctuary of Oropa is a serie of religious buildings, monuments, religious trails, etc. beautifully situated at 1159 metres surrounded by high mountains.
Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. On the middle of the road there’s a scary tunnel with no lights called Galleria Rosazza, which was dug/built by hand during the 1890′s to connect two sides of the bigger mountain. It’s the highest point of the road at 1,489 metres above the sea level. It's called Colle della Colma.
The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! There are wonderful, tiny cliff roads on both sides of the tunnel that any driver would love. The Santuario di Oropa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosted the stage 14 mountain finish in Giro d’Italia’2014.
Pic: Antonio Tisa