Torri di Fraele

Driving the fantastically twisty road to Torri di Fraele

Torri di Fraele is a fortress at an elevation of 1.992m (6,535ft) above the sea level, located in the province of Sondrio, in the Lombardy region of Italy. 18 hairpin turns lead to the Fraele towers, which once were used as strategic point of communication.

Can you drive to Torri di Fraele?

Tucked away within the Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio, east of the Swiss border, the road to the fortress is certainly breathtaking. Located a few kilometers west to the town of Bormio, it is a winding and curvy mountain road. Slowly, the road (fully paved to the top since 2010), takes the driver up countless hairpins to the fortress. On the last section you’ll have to face 18 hairpin turns, running through two short unlit tunnels carved into the edge of the mountain, at the foot of the ancient Towers of Fraele. Immediately after the towers, two artificial lakes are used for the production of electricity: Lago di Cancano and Lago di San Giacomo. Both lakes are separated by a massive dam that can be driven across. The last 1.6km is gravel but navigable by all passenger vehicles. The road to the lakes is closed to motorized traffic during the holiday months of July and August. The road ends at Passo di Fraele.

When was the road to Torri di Fraele built?

The road to the towers was built between 1926 and 1927 for the construction of the dam walls. The towers were part of the system of fortifications built to protect the area from the frequent invasions. First built in 1391, they were fortified in the 15th century and mainly destroyed in 1513 when the Grisons invaded. There was apparently some fighting here and below the cliff is called “Burrone dei Morti” – ravine of the dead. The road to Torri di Fraele, or the Mini Stelvio as it is also known, is another absolute masterpiece of Italian construction-art.

How long is the road to Torri di Fraele?

Starting at Turri Piano (crossroad SS301), the road to the summit is 8.38km (5.20 miles) long. The road itself is narrow, but not as cliffy as others in the area.

Is the road to Torri di Fraele steep?

The road has been featured in the Giro d’Italia race. The drive is pretty steep. The elevation gain is 600 meters. The average percentage is 7.1 % with some sections up to 12%.

Is the road to Torri di Fraele worth it?

Set high in the Alps, in the northern part of the country, the road is very scenic. Plan about 25 minutes to complete the drive without any stop. The towers of Fraele are impressive from below and the dams with the mountainsides surrounding them are also very impressive. If you stand in front of the towers, you have a great view not only of the landscape, but also of the entire road. It’s a must-visit climb for anyone staying in Bormio after climbing Stelvio and Gavia passes.