HomeCyclingPEZ Rides The Ghisallo - Civiglio - Lake Como - Bellagio

PEZ Rides The Ghisallo – Civiglio – Lake Como – Bellagio

The Civiglio Climb in Como is commonly the launch pad for race successful strikes on the Giro di Lombardia, and after years of simply watching, I lastly rode it to see for myself how technical and steep this one is.

The 2023 version of the race nevertheless, begins in Como and bypasses this stunning little climb, nevertheless it stays a must-do any time you’re within the area.

I’d supposed to journey the Civiglio climb out of Como in the identical path on the Giro di Lombardia raced it in October, however ultimately – descending it made for a way more attention-grabbing video, and was an entire lot simpler than climbing the 5km, 10%+ grade climb.

The climb figured as a key spot on my loop at Lake Como that started on the Lodge Il Perlo (one of the best place to remain within the space), climbed up the Madonna del Ghisallo climb to the well-known church and museum, took in a  transient cease, then carried on with the quick and lengthy descent all the way down to the Civiglio to strategy Como from the west, then a pizza in Como, earlier than a late afternoon journey again up the lake.  All in it was round 70km, and an ideal solution to shut out my season.

Late Fall is de facto one of the best time to go to Italy – the climate has been nice each time I’ve visited, temps within the low to mid 20’s (Celsius), and the summer season crowds are gone.

I first rode this climb in 2010, on a around the lake jaunt the place I met up with 3 riders who I satisfied to take me up the Ghisallo…


This was simply a part of a High Journey – that began in Bellagio on the Lodge Il Perlo, climbed as much as the Madonna del Ghisallo, descended to Como, climbed the bottom of the Civiglio, pizza by the lake for lunch and a 30km roll again up the lake to the ultimate 2km climb again as much as the resort – what a day.

The most effective bike resort wherever close to Lago di Como is true right here: Il Perlo – punching method above its “2 star” score”.

I first did a model of this journey in 1994 – nearly 30 years in the past – on my first journey to see and journey some levels of the Giro.  That was early days for biking journey, however my journey nonetheless had some 20 or so cyclists on it.  Our first journey was from Como up the west facet if the lake, over a climb and descent into Switzerland (which is true there), then again to Mennagio and a ferry journey throughout the lake to climb from Bellagio to the highest of the Ghisallo.

That day after the climb, we drove off the highest, and I vowed to get again in the future to absorb the 12km+ descent south from the highest in direction of Como.  I did that a number of years later, and have travelled the route a number of instances since, chasing Giro levels and varied Giri di Lombardia.  However I’d by no means ridden from Como again as much as Bellagio, nor had I ridden the entrance of the Civiglio like they’ve been racing it lately.  …And so my plan was hatched for this High Journey.

A strong begin to the day.

The Fall climate in Italy is often fairly good – and this journey was no totally different, besides that it was a pair levels hotter than traditional.  No complaints right here.

I used to be formally In Italy as visitor of Campagnolo, who’d invited a number of of the world’s biking media to tour their manufacturing facility in Vicenza, after which keep on to take part within the Journey the Dreamland gran fondo in Bassano del Grappa.  However that’ll be one other story.

The view from half method up the climb, when the day seems like this, it’s gonna be an excellent one – and climate in Fall right here is often wonderful.

My journey for the day was from HERSH Bikes – a neighborhood builder based mostly in Milan, providing customized body sizes, colours, and construct kits throughout a variety of various fashions from street to gravel to mtb – even e-bikes and TT machines.   They’re stocked within the Il Perlo service course in quite a lot of sizes (each street & e-mtb) – so you may even “attempt before you purchase” whenever you’re staying on the resort.

Now let’s journey…
Under is my Strava map – ranging from Il Perlo, about 79kms, with stops on the Ghisallo Church and Museum, and naturally lakeside pizza in Como for lunch, earlier than the 30km rolling journey again up the lake.

About midway up, the climb ranges, and affords a surprising view down the southeast arm of  Lake Como.

Summiting the climb of the Madonna del Ghisallo is rarely in need of breath taking for me.  There may be actually one thing magical about this place – the house of the patron saint of cyclists.

Contained in the tiny area is a large assortment of biking jersey’s well-known bikes, images and different memorablia.

Particularly notable is Fabio Casartelli’s pink, white and blue Merckx he was driving on the time of his loss of life.

Outdoors, this statue of a fallen bicycle owner can be breathtaking, as are the views to the mountains to the north.


Contained in the Museum, situated subsequent to the church, is an incredible assortment of biking artifacts celebrating principally racing, over the past 100 years.  Naturally there’s a espresso bar, whereafter some cajoling, our host emerged with this bottle of native amaro.  Even at 11:00am it’s by no means too early for an amaro together with your espresso.

After our espresso, one other divine stroke of luck intervened, after I was launched to Fabio Casartelli’s grown youngsters, who had been right here to choose up a motorcycle they’d loaned to the museum.

The cease right here lasted for much longer than I’d anticipated, and jogged my memory that additional time is advisable to completely soak within the historical past and magnificence of the church and the museum.  However we nonetheless had 70+ kms of driving forward, so it was time to roll.   About 5-6 km south of the Ghisallo summit is a church and cemetery I first present in 1997, and make a degree of stopping every time I go by.

From there, our journey took us across the backside finish of the mountainous ridge that splits the west and east facet of the lake, and onto the underside of the Civiglio climb.  Our route introduced us in from the other facet of the climb, which ended up reversing my plan to climb the Civiglio from the identical facet because the race lately.   However by now it was getting onto lunch time, and the thought of pizza motivated a brand new plan… Since we needed to climb as much as the summit anyway, taking within the respectable to Como grew to become a significantly better concept. Therefore my video at first of this story…

After lunch, I used to be beginning to really feel the fatigue of the previous couple of days, so my journey again up the lake was undoubtedly at “vacationer” tempo, with a number of stops to benefit from the views.

The final couple of kms climb from Bellagio again as much as Il Perlo are on a ten% grade street, which was a grind at this level.  However I used to be nonetheless again in loads of time to benefit from the sundown, a celebratory negroni, and a scrumptious dinner.

Nightfall from Il Perlo – trying north in direction of Bellagio.

Current renovations at Il Perlo have upped the ante from the in-house kitchen.  This charcuterie board had sufficient bressaola, prosciutto, salami and guanciale for lots extra individuals than simply me.

They pour a high quality negroni too.

Undoubtedly definitely worth the go to – Lodge Il Perlo.




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