The Passo dello Stelvio (German: Stilfserjoch) is a mountain pass in the Italian Alps at 2758 meters. The mountain pass is best known for its cycling stages in the Tour of Italy. The Passo dello Stelvio is one of the highest paved mountain passes in the Alps; the Col de l’Iséran, among others, is higher. The Col de la Bonette is lower, but because there is an extra loop at the top of the col, it is considered higher by some.

The Stelvio Pass is on the border of the Italian-speaking province of Sondrio and the German-speaking South Tyrol. East of the pass is the Ortler Alps, with the Ortler as the highest point and even closer to the Monte Livrio, where the glaciers are used for skiing during the summer. To the north is the Dreisprachenspitze, the meeting point of three languages: Italian, German and Rhaeto-Romance. Finally, in the south is Monte Scorluzzo, considered one of the easiest three-thousands to claim applies.


The pass is in the heart of Stelvio National Park, one of Europe’s oldest (1936) and most significant national parks. Less than three kilometres from the pass height, on the descent to Bormio, is the side road to the Umbrail Pass, Switzerland’s highest navigable pass, which is only two hundred meters from there.

In the early 19th century, Ferdinand I of Austria wanted to build a road directly connecting Val Venosta to Milan, which was then under Austrian rule. The road was to run across the mountain saddle northwest of the Ortler. Engineer Carlo Donegani from Sondrio, who had built the Splügen Pass before, was tasked with shaping the road. Construction started in 1822. Barely three years later, the road was completed. Until 1915, the Stelvio Pass was used all year round by carriages. During the winter, the road was kept passable by snow shovels.

In 2019, however, the pass was closed to traffic from the end of October to the beginning of May. During the First World War, heavy fighting took place on the pass between the Italian and Austrian armies. From 1918, both sides of the pass height were Italian. The Stelvio Pass was no longer the critical link between Milan and Vienna and was therefore closed in winter, just like the other high passes.

After the Second World War, Giuseppe Pirovano of the Club Alpino Italiano established a ski school here, and it was possible to ski on the vast glaciers in the summer. In 2019 there are several large hotels at the pass height, and several ski lifts go further into the mountains. The ATM of the Banco Popolare di Sondrio has the honour of being the highest-located ATM to be of Europe.

The Stelvio is one of the most challenging climbs in cycling due to the length and height difference of the climb. The climb from Prato Allo Stelvio has 48 hairpin bends visible from the tree line (and the top).
The Stelvio (up to and including the 2020 edition) has been ridden twelve times in the Tour of Italy; the first time was in 1953.

Four times the finish of a Giro stage was on the mountain. The Stelvio is not included in the trail every year, as the pass can still be closed in spring due to snowfall. In 1988 and 2013, the Stelvio was initially part of the Giro course but was eventually cancelled due to bad weather and snowfall.



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