- Stelvio Pass
The Stelvio Pass (Italian: "Passo dello Stelvio"; German: "Stilfser Joch"), located in
Italy, is at 2757 m the highest paved mountain passin the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, after the Col de l'Iseran(2770 m).Fact|date=October 2007 In the list of highest paved roads in the Alps, it ranks 4th.
It is located in the Italian Alps near
Bormioin the South and Sulden (Solda), some 75 km from Bolzano, near the Swiss border, as the Umbrail Passjoins the Stelvio's southern ramp nearby. The "Three languages peak" "(Dreisprachenspitze)" above the pass is so named because this is the area where the Italian, German and Romansh languages meet.
The road connects the
Valtellinawith the upper Adigevalley "( Vinschgau)" and Merano. The most important mountain range next to the Stelvio Pass is the Ortler Alps. Adjacent to the pass road there is a large summer skiing area. Important mountains nearby include Monte Livrio, Monte Scorluzzoand Ortler.
The original road was built in 1820-1825 by the
Austrian Empireto connect the former Austrian province of Lombardiawith the rest of Austria, covering a climb of 1871 m. The engineer and project manager was Carlo Donegani(1775 - 1845, Brescia). Since then, the route has changed very little. The 60 hairpin bends, 48 of them on the northern side numbered with stones, are a challenge to motorists. Even Stirling Mosswent off the road here during a vintage car event in the 1990s, with an onboard video of his incident being shown on satellite TV.
Before the end of
World War I, it formed the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empireand the Italian Kingdom. Even the Swiss had had an outpost and a hotel (which was destroyed) on the "Dreisprachenspitze". 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 south) and Italy (to the north). Instead they could fire down the pass, as Swiss territory was up and around the peak. After 1919, with the expansion of Italy, the pass lost its strategic importance.
The Stelvio Pass does retain an importance for sport when it is open from June to September. Countless cyclists and motorcyclists struggle to get to the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps. The
Giro d'Italiacycling tournament often crosses the Stelvio Pass.
In a 2007 episode of the
BBCtelevision programme "Top Gear", presenter Jeremy Clarksonnamed it the best driver's road in the world, after driving it in a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera with colleagues James May, in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24 track car, and Richard Hammond, in a Porsche GT3 RS. EON Productionsscouted the pass in 2007 as a possible car-chase location for shooting of the second Bond film to star Daniel Craigas 007.fact|date=June 2008
Moto Guzzistarted selling a Stelvio model, named after the pass.
* [http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?col=Passo_dello_Stelvio&qryMountainID=39 Profile on climbbybike.com]
* [http://www.weltderberge.de/alpen/pics/bbe15649.jpgPhoto of Stilfser Joch north ramp and Monte Scorluzzo]
* [http://www.passostelvio.net/ Webcams ]
* [http://stelvio.myblog.it/meteo_passo_stelvio/ Weather Forecast Passo Stelvio]
* [http://www.bestbikingroads.com/motorcyclegps.php?code=2c191 Passo Stelvio : One of Europe's Most Famous Motorcycling Roads]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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