Sacrario del Monte Grappa as viewed from Rifugio Bassano a cima Grappa
Although not nearly as popular as the Romano d’Ezzilino and Semonzo routes (300 attempts v. 3,000 as of September, 2016), this (like all) route up Monte Grappa is exceptional. The roadway is in very good condition and we are tested from the outset: The first 5.8 miles/9.3 kilometers average 11.1%, with a 20% 100m stretch around mile 4.7/km 7.5. We also have more switchbacks along this route than most of the other 10 climbs up the mountain: 25 over a 4.5 miles stretch from miles 2 to 6.5 (km 3.2 - 10.4) that averages 11.5% (the most condensed section has 23 in 3.5 miles/5.6 km).
High concentration of tornanti on this climb.
The roadway is extremely steep for the first half of the climb.
We are generally surrounded by either the mountainside or trees for the first 5 ½ miles/9 kilometers, but at the end of that stretch there are some magnificent views southeast towards Venice (33 miles as the crow flies) and the Adriatic Sea, although note that it is often too hazy to see the sea or Venice from that distance.
Views to the south towards Venice and the Adriatic
One of the many Tornanti on the way up the mountain
As with all routes up Monte Grappa, there are monuments and/or remnants of WW I and, in this case, WW II
WW II Memorial in Fietta.
The WW I museum just below the memorial at the top.
All 11 routes up Monte Grappa ultimately connect. At mile 6.6/km 10.6, the Fietta route merges with the eastern and northeastern routes of Possagno, Cavaso del Tomba, Pederobba and Alano. At mile 11.4/km 18.3 we merge with the route from Semonzo, at mile 11.2/km 18 the dirt and gravel Crespano route enters the paved roadway from the right, and at mile 7.8/km 12.5 we merge with the northern 3 climbs (Cismon, Caupo and Seren) and Romano d’Ezzelino.
At mile 6.6/km 10.6 we leave the trees and enter the open meadows and ranchland of Monte Grappa. Around mile 10/km 16 we encounter 4 short and old (WWI vintage) tunnels (Google Street View) which often have a group of donkeys in or near it. The road is very narrow and with a sheer drop off to the left as we ride about a mile/1.6 km beginning at mile 9.8/km 15.7 - there are exceptional views along this stretch back to the Pian Dela Bala (a gnarly narrow military inspired walking trail along a sheer cliff).
Looking back from the tunnel segment to Pian Dela Bala
One of the 4 tunnels around mile 10/km 16
Aerial photo of tunnels from drone.
All 11 Monte Grappa routes end at the Rifugio Bassano a Cima Grappa which is a cafe with many outside chairs and tables which is frequented by many cyclists each day - this is a very popular Italian cycling destination. The Rifugio is just below the Sacrario del Monte Grappa which is a monumental burial site for approximately 20,000 of the Italian and Austrian soldiers who died in battle on the hillsides of Monte Grappa during World War I.
Rifugio Bassano a Cima Grappa
PJAMM climbed Fietta and Alano August 30, 2016
10 (Romano d’Ezzilino)
16 (Cavaso del Tomba)
Semonzo appears to be the Giro’s choice of Monte Grappa ascents (we have been unable to identify the Giro routes up Monte Grappa in 1968, 1974 and 1982.
Steepest kilometer starts at km 9.3 (16.3%)