Passo di Giau is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.236m (7,336ft) above the sea level, located in the province of Belluno in Italy. You get some of the best views in the Dolomites at the top.
Located in the Dolomites mountain range, the pass is traversed by the Strada Provinciale 638 (SP-638) road. This paved road to the summit connects Cortina d'Ampezzo and Selva di Cadore / Livinallongo del Col di Lana in the Livinallongo valley. It’s a difficult climb through endless hairpin turns up to the top. It’s pretty steep, with some parts up to 13.0%.
The pass has been climbed several times in the Giro d’Italia race. There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Pocol, the ascent is 8.6 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 716 meters. The average percentage is 8.3 %. And starting from Selva di Cadore, the ascent is 10.12 km long via 29 hairpin bends. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 922 meters. The average percentage is 9.1 %.
Surrounded by mountains, this beautiful pass is well worth the drive. The road is a pleasure to ride especially early in the morning when there is less traffic and includes outstanding and indescribable landscape with terrific views into the Dolomites mountain world. The winter season is often compromised by the avalanches that come down to block the uncovered parts of the road.Known for its harsh and relentless gradients, it is one of the most visited Dolomite passes. The pass once marked the boundary between the Republic of Venice and the Austrian Empire, the old border marker is still on at the pass. It was also the setting for some of the scenes of the movie Ladyhawke, with Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer.