This is a one of the well known bicycle routes of Lake Como and should be on your itinerary. You will cover a distance of approximately 10km in total. This route is occasionally featured in the Giro d’Italia and almost always in the Tour of Lombardy. Once you arrive at the summit you can visit the chapel and the Cycling Museum (Museo del Ciclisimo) where you can view memorabilia and read about the world’s cycling legends.
The route starts in Bellagio at the crossroads of SS583 beside the gardens on Villa Melzi. From here turn left and follow the road which is a short ride across to the other side of the narrow peninsula of Bellagio. At the end of this road you will then turn right onto the SP41 and continue along this road until you reach the Passo del Ghisallo. The SP41 changes street name depending on what section you are at. When you initially turn onto this road it is called SP41 – Via Valassina, which then changes to Via Provinciale for the majority of the ascent and then as you reach the top it will be SP41 Via Adua. Ensure you keep to the main road.
Parts of this route may have some steep ascents. You will climb approximately 500 metres during this tour and you may encounter some hairpin bends as with many of the cycle routes in Lake Como. Your level of fitness will determine how long this will take you. Professional cyclists can make the trip in less than 20 minutes.
Alternatively you can challenge yourself and attempt the tougher route to the Madonna del Ghissallo (the Sanctuary) which is know as “Superghisallo!”
Again starting from Bellagio, you must follow the main road until Guello (this is where the first stretch of the slope ends). Once you reach this point, follow directions to Monte San Primo and climb for approximately 5km where you will reach a height of around 970 metres (Piano Rancio). At this point you must turn left to get to the Sanctuary.
Going the opposite way (south) from Erba to Magreglio, passing through Canzo and Asso, offers more gentle slopes with only some difficult stretches in the last 1.5km with gradients of around 10%.
It is also possible to climb to Colma di Sormano (approx 1120 metres) from Asso by following the main road, distance of 9km with a slope gradient of 8%, or through Muro di Sormano.
Ensure you are wearing the correct cycling gear and have supplies for keeping yourself hydrated as well as something to eat for some energy and don’t forget your suncream.