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Stelvio Pass (Passo dello Stelvio)

A popular cycling destination in the Ortler Alps


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The Stelvio Pass road links Italy to the South Tyrol and Switzerland. А mountain pass is located on an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft). It is the highest paved pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the Alps after Col de l'Iseran in France. The distance from Bormio to Prato allo Stelvio is about 47 km (29 mi). The road SS38 attracts many cyclists and motorcyclists due to its picturesque curves. Stelvio Pass features 48 hairpin turns, and it has become an iconic cycling destination due to Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy). The road is closed in the winter months from November to May due to snow.

Stelvio Pass road was a popular route since the Middle Ages. The first road was built here in 1820–1825 during the times of the Austrian Empire to connect Lombardy with Austria, and that idea was backed by The Emperor Francis I of Austria. The pass lies 200 m (656.16 ft) from the Swiss border. Umbrail Pass runs from its westbound ramp. The Dreisprachenspitze, also known as Three Languages Peak, towers above the pass. It is considered to be the meeting point of German, Italian, and Romansh languages.

Attractions of Stelvio Pass include a cable car, leading to the ski resort of Livrio, where skiing is possible even in the summer. Visitors can admire nearby scenic peaks: Ortler, Thurwieserspitze, Trafoier Eiswand, Monte Scorluzzo, and Piz Umbrail.

Each year, Stelvio Pass gets closed for traffic on the last Saturday of August or first Saturday of September. On that day, around 12,000 cyclists celebrate the Stelvio Bike Day, riding from Prad to the pass and descending over the Umbrail pass to Val Müstair. There are three routes to the Stelvio Pass for cyclists: the South Tyrolean route, the Lombardia route, and the Swiss route.

There is also an annual Stelvio Marathon from Prad to Glurns.

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