Scaling the Heights: A Road Up the Rifugio Piccolo Pirovano Road in Italy's Alpine Splendor

Rifugio Piccolo Pirovano is a high mountain refuge at an elevation of 3.018m (9,901ft) above the sea level, located in the Italian province of Sondrio, in the Lombardy region, near the Swiss border. It's one of the highest roads of Europe.

Rifugio Piccolo Pirovano

What Should Travelers Know About the Road's Condition?

Set high in the Alps, the road to the refuge -closed for twenty years- is totally unpaved. This road is soon gravelled, but apart from two short bad sections you can otherwise ride this road on the way up to the end where the snow, skiers and glacier start. You first have to climb the Passo delle Platigliole. This road becomes very steep already at its first turn. The runway conditions vary from flat passages to other hardly rideable steep sections. It's one of the highest roads of the country.

How Challenging is the Ascent to Rifugio Piccolo Pirovano?

Starting at Passo dello Stelvio, the ascent is 2.2 km (1.36 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 253 meters. The average gradient is 11.5%. The road is very steep, hitting a 22% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Is Seasonal Travel a Concern on This Route?

While most deem the route impassable from late October to early July due to snow, even summer can present impassable conditions. Moreover, as one ventures higher, the region can become a gusty, frigid domain.

What Accommodations are Available in the Area?

There are 2 hotels in the area (Hotel Baita Ortler and Hotel Thöni 3000). Along the road you get some nice views over the Stelvio Pass.