Colle del Nivolet

An Unforgettable Drive to Nivolet Pass, The Italian Job road

Colle del Nivolet is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.621m (8,599ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary between the Aosta Valley and the Piemont regions of Italy. It is the road featured in The Italian Job film, the final bus crash scene probably being the most famous. It's one of the highest roads of Italy.

Is the road to Colle del Nivolet paved?

Set high in the Eastern group of the Graian Alps, in the heart of the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso (the oldest in Italy), the road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called Strada Provinciale 50 (SP50).  The road took a decade to build from 1953-63 to service the two hydroelectric dams up high. The road offers both spectacular scenery and endless amounts of curves.

Is Colle del Nivolet challenging?

The road looks even more incredible when you have it all in front of you. It is one of those roads you really wish you would at least once in your lifetime, with 33 hairpin turns. Once you reach higher altitudes the views become more breathtaking, and the road starts to feel more dangerous not only because the narrow width, but also because of the absence of any safety barriers. The road is thrilling, breathtaking, dangerous, and one of a kind. It is narrow and on a busy day you can forget about going fast in a car, because there are too many blind corners to watch out for. The road can get a little narrow at times. Sometimes the railings are missing. If you are afraid of heights, this road can sometimes get a little too exciting. The approach road from Lago Agnel was the location of several scenes in the film The Italian Job, including the iconic final bus crash.

Is Colle del Nivolet steep?

The road has been featured in the Giro d'Italia race. Starting at Locana, the ascent is 40.5km (25 miles) long with an elevation gain of 1.907 meters. The average percentage is 4.7 %. It hits a 12.9% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The steepest part of the climb is some great hairpins below the two dams. A 3.5km long tunnel (Tunnel Ceresole), lit and wide, on the way to the summit, is one of the steepest tunnels in the Alps with gradients of around 12-14%. Beyond the pass, the paved road descends for a couple of kilometres, and approx. 1.6 km north of Colle del Nivolet, at an elevation of 2.532m above the sea level, the road ends. It’s paved and there’s a barrier. There are a couple of more lakes and a little restaurant – it’s just over the Piemonte/Aosta border. After the barrier, the road becomes a rough track only suitable for mountain bikes and dedicated off-road vehicles. This track is 4.8 km long and ends at an elevation of 2.415m above the sea level. There are 3 artificial lakes located immediately below the pass: Lago Serrú, Lago Agnel and Lago di Ceresole.

Is Colle del Nivolet open?

Colle del Nivolet is closed from 15th October to 15th May. The open and close dates all depend on snowmelt and snowfall each year. There is also a driving ban on the last six kilometres of the road for all private motor vehicles on Sundays and public holidays between 10th July to 28th August.
Image credit: Depositphotos

 

 

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