Passo dello Stelvio

( Stelvio Pass )

The Stelvio Pass (Italian: Passo dello Stelvio [passo ˈdello ˈstɛlvjo], Giogo dello Stelvio [dʒɔgo ˈdello ˈstɛlvjo]; German: Stilfser Joch; [ˈʃtɪlfsɐ jɔx]) is a mountain pass in northern Italy bordering Switzerland at an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft) above sea level. It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, 7 m (23 ft) below France's Col de l'Iseran (2,764 m (9,068 ft)).

Part of the Stelvio Pass

The original road was built in 1820–25 by the Austrian Empire to connect the former Austrian province of Lombardy with the rest of Austria, covering a climb of 1,871 m (6,138 ft). The engineer and project manager was Carlo Donegani [it] (1775–1845). Since then, the route has changed very little. Its seventy-five[citation needed] hairpin turns, 48 of them on the northern side numbered with stones, are a challenge to motorists. Stirling Moss went off the road here during a vintage car event in the 1990s, with an onboard video of his incident being shown on satellite TV.[citation needed]

Before the end of World War I, it formed the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Italian Kingdom. The Swiss had an outpost and a hotel (which was destroyed) on the Dreisprachenspitze (literally, Three-Language-Peak). During World War I, fierce battles were fought in the ice and snow of the area, with gun fire even crossing the Swiss area at times. The three nations made an agreement not to fire over Swiss territory, which jutted out in between Austria (to the north) and Italy (to the south). Instead they could fire down the pass, as Swiss territory was up and around the peak.[1][2][self-published source?] After 1919, with the expansion of Italy, the pass lost its strategic importance.

Aldo Moser navigating the snow atop the Stelvio Pass during the 1965 Giro d'Italia

The Stelvio Pass remains important for sport when it is open from May through November.[3] Countless cyclists and motorcyclists struggle to get to the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps. It is the highest finish of any Grand Tour.[4] The Giro d'Italia often crosses the Stelvio Pass (it was crossed by the Giro for the first time in 1953, when Fausto Coppi beat Hugo Koblet). As the highest peak, it has been named the Cima Coppi in each edition. Every year, the pass is closed to motor vehicles on one day in late August when about 8,000 cyclists ride and around 25 runners run to the top of the Stelvio.

Bormio regularly hosts World Cup ski racing, usually in late December for a men's downhill event; its Pista Stelvio is among the most challenging courses on the circuit.

The Stelvio Pass was also picked by the British automotive show Top Gear as its choice for the "greatest driving road in the world".[5] This conclusion was reached in the first episode of the show's 10th series after the team went in search of a road that would satisfy every "petrolhead's" driving fantasies. Top Gear later decided that the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania was a superior driving road.

In 2008, Moto Guzzi started selling a Stelvio model, named after the pass. Alfa Romeo debuted its Stelvio crossover SUV at the 2016 Los Angeles Motor Show.

The Stelvio Pass Glacier in Italy, at an altitude of 3,450 metres (11,320 ft), normally permits skiing year-round, but was closed to skiing for the first time in 90 years in August 2017 due to a heatwave.[citation needed]

^ "WWI Isonzo Front, the Soča Valley, Slovenia". Slovenia-Walking. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-02. ^ "The Stelvio pass". Retrieved 2010-12-02. ^ "Stelvio Pass - Webcam and info". Gestione tecnica e organizzativa AD S.R.L. Retrieved 2016-07-23. ^ "Giro d'Italia - Guardini surprises Cavendish for win". Yahoo. 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. ^ "Day 4 of The Great European Rally 2015 - Stelvio Pass as featured on Top Gear!". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
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