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Climb of San Pellegrino in Alpe

The road from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to San Pellegrino in Alpe is one of the toughest cycling climbs in the entire Apennines.

The Giro d’Italia passed through San Pellegrino in Alpe as many as three times putting the most famous climbers to the test, and every year the extreme challenge is repeated for hundreds of amateur cyclists.

The itinerary starts from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana passing through the main piazza Umberto I, dominated by the Rocca Ariostesca and, slightly rising, it reaches Pieve Fosciana.

Once you go beyond the crossroads for Chiozza - San Pellegrino in Alpe, Provincial Road 71, the real climb begins. For the first 10 kilometers the slopes average between 9 and 12%, already challenging enough for most cyclists, but it is the last 2.5 kilometers that turn the climb into a real challenge, with slopes always above 15% and peaks rising to an elevation of 20%, such as the one on the last hairpin bend before arriving in the town square.

Located at 1525 meters, San Pellegrino in Alpe is the highest inhabited village of the Apennines, a watershed between two regions, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, two provinces, Modena and Lucca and two municipalities, Castiglione di Garfagnana and Frassinoro, the border in fact passes inside the Sanctuary where Saints Santi Pellegrino and Bianco were laid to rest, whit their head in Emilia and their feet in Tuscany.

A stop in the village is mandatory. Seen from here, the Apuan Alps surround Garfagnana as if to embrace it, and by just glancing at the valley floor you can perceive all the difficulty of the feat you have just completed, certified by the certificate of merit you can obtain at the "La Sorgente" typical products store.

But the climb does not end here. The itinerary continues, still uphill, for another 2 kilometers, to the Pradaccio pass, from where begins the long descent that passes by in succession the Passo delle Radici (Radici Pass), Casone di Profecchia, and the medieval village of Castiglione di Garfagnana to return to the starting point.


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