The Giro d’Italia is one of our favourite races on the calendar and the excitement that builds as the last week of May draws closer and the race moves up into the high mountains, is incredible to be a part of. Here we share the top 10 highlights of our 2024 Giro d’Italia cycling tour and break down the numbers of each day on the bike to help you understand what to expect and how to prepare.
1. Passo dello Stelvio
Every time we make the pilgrimage to Bormio, Stelvio is the highlight and bucket-list climb for most of our guests, and rightly so.
This is a climb of mythical proportion. Sitting at an imposing 2750m, it is a climb like no other. With its 34 switchbacks, and at one point a 14% pinch, it will challenge the mind and the legs, and most importantly, open your heart to some of the very best that our beautiful sport gives us. In 2024, we’ll be ascending one side and after the race flies past, we will descend down the other side, following the race.
Average gradient: 7.2% with a max gradient on one corner of 14%
Highlight: After enjoying the spectacle of the race rolling over Passo dello Stelvio, it will be all about the thrilling long and technical descent.
2. Seeing part of the Stage 17 Start in the Dolomites
While riding in the Dolomites is a ‘must’ for every cyclist’s bucket list in our view, you don’t need to ride a bike, ski, or hike to fall in love with these mountains. The Dolomites are absolutely something else and you can never gain an appreciation for how amazing they are until you are there.
When you get to pair this stunning landscape (and in May, this amazing snowscape) with the most beautiful Grand Tour and bikes everywhere you turn, you have Disneyland for the cyclist / cycling fan.
Soak up the atmosphere on Stage 17 and enjoy the show!
3. Monte Grappa
Stage 20 is the penultimate stage and the final mountain test for the Pro’s, and what a test it will be with a double ascent of Monte Grappa.
We’ll tackle the superb 25km ascent, take in the views back to Venice, and finish the loop before finding a steep hairpin corner to wait for the race to arrive on its first ascent. This will be a day where we’ll enjoy the same magical climb as the Pro’s and be surrounded by the tifosi (Italian cycling fans) on the bike and by the side of road. It’s this kind of day that personifies the magic of being at the Giro.
After the race passes, we’ll take the short spin back into Bassano del Grappa to watch the finish and celebrate the atmosphere of the Giro and an amazing 8 days on the bike.
Average gradient: 8.1% and a max of 17%
Highlight: Ascending the sensational 25k climb on tiny winding roads, dissecting cool forests with hooting owls, open plains and through tunnels, all on the edge of the mountain and with Venice in the distance. As well as seeing who will take line honours and be in pink for the final day.
4. Passo San Boldo & Prosecco Road
Our 6th day on tour will see us leave the Dolomites and head for our new location in the Veneto. We’ll start the day’s ride with a gentle climb before descending the engineering marvel and absolute riding highlight of Passo San Boldo. We’ll then follow the meandering and picturesque Prosecco Road before taking the smaller and quieter back roads surrounded by prosecco vines. This is a sensational day on the bike.
Ride Breakdown: A day of continual undulation, but with more descending that climbing
Highlight: Descending Passo San Boldo and a day in the Italian sunshine rolling along super quiet back roads in the sensational Prosecco wine region.
5. Alpine hospitality and authentic Mountain Cuisine
For us, the off the bike experience is just as important as the road program, and the food and wine adventure we create in the Italian mountains, is truly special and unique.
One of the unforgettable experiences is a very typical and local dinner with a zero kilometre philosophy; this means everything on our 4 course tasting menu is either made in-house or sourced very locally. It is one of our favourite food experiences across all of our tours, especially with the finish of the Braulio sorbetto. Buonissimo!
6. In the thick of the Giro Action
Being in the thick of the action, surrounded by thousands of passionate, cheering fans, on some of the steep gradients is what the Giro is all about.
Some of these experiences will be unforgettable.
7. Stage 15 Finish in Livigno
We’ll ease into the day with a steady climb to Livigno, restore with a hearty lunch, watch the pro’s do battle in the final km of the race, and then enjoy a thrilling 25km home to our Alpine hotel…..does it get any better?
Average gradient: 5.3% with a pinch at 17%
Highlight: Our first taste of the Giro, in the snow at 2000+m
8. A rest day in the mountains
Immersing yourself in the local experiences and culture deepens your overall experience, and what better way to do it than to do what the locals do and visit the 2000 year old Roman thermal baths to restore body and mind. Surrounded by high mountains and with views as far as the eye can see, imagine yourself immersed in hot thermal waters for an afternoon post ride, and before a well-earned aperitivo.
9. Sella Ronda
Sella Ronda is without doubt one of the all-time best ride loops in Italy, and some would say, the planet.
A little over 60ks and with 1800m of elevation, it’s an exhilarating ride experience like no other as you take in its four distinct climbs of Passo Gardena, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi and Passo Campolongo amongst spectacular jaw dropping scenery.
Passo Gardena has 12 hairpins over 9.5km, with an average 5.3% and a max gradient of 10%
Passo Sella has 10 hairpins over 5.5k, with an average gradient of 7.9% and a max gradient of 12%
Passo Pordoi has 33 hairpins over 9.2k, with an average gradient of 6.9% and a max gradient of 9%
Passo Campolongo has 13 hairpins over 5.8k, with an average gradient of 6% and a max gradient of 11%
Highlight: The feeling of complete contentment after completing the truly beautiful and iconic Sella Ronda following the Pros after they roll out.
10. Grappa in Bassano del Grappa
Grappa tasting on the old bridge in the medieval old town of Bassano del Grappa at Italy’s oldest distillery, is just one of the experiences that must be had in this beautiful town and the birthplace of grappa.
Our Giro experience is going to be another memorable adventure both on and off the bike. We still have a few spots remaining on our Giro cycling tour and with it starting in a little over 6 months, there is still plenty of time to start the training and be in top form for your first day in Italy.