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Giro di Lombardia Travelogue
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 10/18/2002
Giro di Lombardia Travelogue
 

Giro di Lombardia Travelogue!

Cycling fans, sad with the season end, take heart! The epic Giro di Lombardia awaits you. This extraordinarily difficult race takes place in a most beautiful part of Italy, and while you dream of next season's adventures, take a trip with us around  the "Giro di Lombardia" region of Italy, just northeast of Milan. We will show you the sights of the towns and the beautiful fall, where on Saturday riders will race the mountains, the fog and the falling leaves, as well as each other.

This typically cold and foggy 250 km race departs from Cantu, makes a loop and heads toward the shores of Lake Como. Here is a map of your route, courtesy of gazzetta.it.

Courtesy of procantu.co.it
Cantu

Near the shores of the lake, the riders face the Madonna del Ghisallo climb. It is at the top of this climb that the famous "cyclists' chapel," the Madonna del Ghisallo, is found. The legend of this Madonna, the "protector of travellers and cyclists" is as follows. Medieval legend has it that the Count Ghisallo was travelling near the village of Magréglio when he was attacked by highway bandits. Spotting a image of the Virgin Mary in a roadside shrine, he broke away from his attackers and ran to it. He took refuge there and was miraculously saved from the robbers.

As the story spread, the Madonna del Ghisallo became known as patroness of local travellers. In more recent times, cyclists would often stop to rest and pray at the chapel, which is a local landmark, and is at the top of this very steep climb.

Courtesy of netcowork.it/
After World War II, Father Ermelindo Vigano, pastor at the shrine, proposed Ghisallo as the site of an Italian shrine for bicyclists, and the Madonna was made patroness of cyclists on 13 October 1949 by Pope Pius XII. The chapel has become equal part religious shrine, part cycling museum, as you can see by the impressive cycling memorabilia it contains (here). The website for the chapel is here.

 

Courtesy of como.lombardiainrete.it
Lake Como

The riders continue back and cross near their original path at Cantu, and on towards Bergamo. However the nearby scenery is striking in the autumn. Here are photos from nearby Pusiano. If you had any doubts about the persistent fog in this area, the first photo should lay them to rest. By the way, partly cloudy weather is forecast for the Giro di Lombardia, with temperatures on the cool side. Rain is not forecast, as of this writing, until Monday.

Courtesy of community.webshots.com/user/dalcpi (Carlo Pistono)
"

Courtesy of community.webshots.com/user/dalcpi (Carlo Pistono)
Pusiano

Courtesy of community.webshots.com/user/dalcpi (Carlo Pistono)
Pusiano

The riders next face the Colle del Gallo (the Rooster Hill) and then, skirting the south of Bergamo, head north to the Selvino climb. Near the Colle del Gallo is another patroness who specifically protects cyclists, whether professional or for hobby, the Madonna del Colle Gallo. This sanctuary was constructed in 1695. From the east one can see the Lago Endine, Lake Endine; to the west, the Lugo Valley and Valle Seriana.

Courtesy of webitalianet.com
Chapel of the Madonna dell Colle Gallo

Selvino is part of the region known as Valle Seriana, known in its day as the "Manchester" of Italy. It had one of the highest industrial concentrations in Lombardy, but is also a very popular area for windsailing (volo, not velo) and for winter sports.

Courtesy of selvino.org
Selvino

Courtesy of selvino.org
Selvino

Courtesy of selvino.org
Selvino

The final major climb is the Berbenno (with still another 25 kilometers to go as they loop back into Bergamo proper).

Courtesy of imagna.it
Berbenno

Courtesy of imagna.it
Fall foliage in Berbenno

And then to the finish in Bergamo.

Courtesy of apt.bergamo.it
Bergamo

Courtesy of albertoiacono.freeweb.supereva.it
Le mura (walls of Bergamo)

Courtesy of apt.bergamo.i
The walls of Bergamo

So there you have it - a quick tour of the region as you peer through the fog on your television, hoping for a glimpse of a rider (if you are lucky enough to have coverage), or if not, reading our live report and awaiting news of this year's winner!

Giro Di Lombardia -Race Preview

Falling Leaves

 
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