Feb 16, 2024
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Colle delle Finestre in Italy, A Cyclist’s Paradise

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The Colle delle Finestre stands as a testament to the raw beauty and challenge of alpine cycling. Renowned for its breathtaking scenery and punishing gradients, this iconic mountain pass lures cyclists from around the globe to test their mettle on its slopes. Located in the Piedmont region, the Colle delle Finestre offers a journey off the beaten path. Unlike more famous passes such as the Stelvio or Gavia, the Colle delle Finestre maintains a sense of tranquility and solitude, allowing riders to immerse themselves fully in the surrounding wilderness. The Colle delle Finestre has an elevation of approximately 2,178 meters (7,146 feet) above sea level.

LocationPiemonte, Italy
Elevation2,178 meters (7,146 feet)
Lenght18.6 kms (11.6 mi)
Max. gradient14%
Med. gradient9.2%
Winter closureNovember 1st to June 15th

With an average gradient of 9.2% over its 18.6-kilometer (11.6-mile) ascent, the Colle delle Finestre is not for the faint of heart. Its relentless slopes test the limits of endurance and strength, challenging even the most seasoned cyclists. The road is composed of gravel for the final 8 kilometers, adding an extra layer of difficulty and adventure to the ascent.

The pass is situated within the Orsiera Rocciavrè Natural Park, a vast alpine area nestled between the Graian Alps and the Cottian Alps, linking the towns Susa and Fenestrelle. From the summit of the hill, one can behold Rocciamelone to the north, one of the loftiest peaks in the Graian Alps, situated on the opposite side of the Susa Valley, and Mount Albergian in the Chisone Valley to the south.

Spectacular Scenery

Image by klausnahr

As riders pedal their way up the Colle delle Finestre, they are rewarded with unparalleled views of the surrounding alpine landscape. Towering peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls paint a picture of natural grandeur that serves as both motivation and distraction during the grueling climb.

For cycling enthusiasts, the Colle delle Finestre represents a pilgrimage of sorts. Its inclusion in prestigious races such as the Giro d’Italia has cemented its status as a legendary climb in the cycling world. Each year, riders flock to its slopes to test themselves against its punishing gradients and claim their own piece of cycling history.

If you’re ready to take on the challenge of the Colle delle Finestre, proper preparation is key. Make sure to check weather conditions and road closures before setting out, and pack plenty of water, snacks, and spare tubes for the journey. And remember, the true reward lies not just at the summit, but in the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering one of cycling’s most iconic climbs.

Giro d’Italia

The Colle delle Finestre climb has been a part of the Giro d’Italia route 4 times since the 2000s, always approached from the Susa side. The first time was in 2005, the Venezuelan José Rujano emerged victorious. In 2011, it appeared again in the stage concluding in Sestriere, with Belarusian Vasil’ Kiryenka being the first to conquer the summit and clinch the stage win. Then, during the 2015 Giro d’Italia, it featured in the stage before the last one, starting from Saint Vincent and ending in Sestriere. Finestre was the highest peak of the race, and Spaniard Mikel Landa reached its top first. Finally, in 2018, the hill bore witness to Chris Froome’s remarkable solo breakaway. He launched his attack 80 km from the finish line, ultimately triumphing in Bardonecchia and seizing the lead in the overall standings.

2005Danilo di Luca (ITA)
2011Vasil Kiryienka (BLR)
2015Mikel Landa (ESP)
2018Chris Froome (GBR)

A Rich History

Beyond its physical challenges, the Colle delle Finestre carries a rich history that adds to its allure. Originally built as a military road in the 18th century, the pass served as a strategic route during conflicts such as World War II. Today, remnants of its past can be seen in the form of stone fortifications and tunnels carved into the mountainside.


As you stand atop the Colle delle Finestre, gazing out at the majestic peaks and valleys below, you’ll understand why cyclists from around the world are drawn to this remote mountain pass. Whether you’re seeking a physical challenge, a spiritual journey, or simply a breathtaking ride through nature, the Colle delle Finestre promises an experience that will stay with you long after the descent is complete.

Europe · Italy

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