A colossal Alpine stage across the Aosta Valley. Initially, the route runs through the Canavese and the Dora Baltea valley, all the way to Aosta. The stage course then takes in three long consecutive ascents to Pila, Verrogne and Cogne. At over 10 km each, these climbs are on wide and well-paved roads, with a number of hairpins in-between. Each is followed by a fast-running descent, with the same features.
At over 22 km, the sharp closing climb eventually becomes a long false-flat up all the way to the finish.
Over the last 4 km, from the centre of Cogne (with a short stretch of flagstone) all the way to the finish, the gradient hovers around 2.5% (kicking up a little just outside Cogne). The home straight is 300 m long, on tarmac road.
start / finish
Rivarolo Canavese is in the plain, at the end of the Piedmontese valleys of the National Park of Gran Paradiso. It is 304 mt high of the sea level, and it is the most important and crowded centre of the Western Canavese, with its about 12.500 inhabitants. It has got an efficient road system and a good link of public transport to Turin (35 km).
Our town is worth a visit for its culture, sport and clubs vivacity, for its lovely town planning scheme, for its rich trade offer, for its various type of restaurants, bars and pizzerie and for its old monuments: from the Malgrà Castle (XIV-XIX century) to the San Francesco Cloister (XIII-XIV-XV century) with the fresco painted by Martino Spanzotti and to the baroque churches like San Michele, built by the architect Bernardo Vittone (XVIII century).
Since 2020 the Regione Piemonte has been recognizing to the town the title of Distretto Urbano del Commercio (Trade Centre), underlining the trade, handicraft and business life that always goes together with the agricultural life.
In Rivarolo you can find excellent restaurants, delicious pastry shops and very popular ice-cream parlours, where the Piedmontese, and in general the Italian tradition is always respected according to the ancient way, next to a new and modern look at the contemporary cookery, trying a good and exquisite use of the raw materials.
At the end of June, in Mastri, a cute hamlet of Rivarolo, there is “TOMINO” festival. Tomino is a kind of fresh or aged cheese produced in this area.
Thanks to a great developed cattle-breeding in the country all round our town, we have meat and products of the best quality. The local farmers are really interested in the biological agriculture and breeding, so you can find some holiday farms involved in environmental sustainability and in the km0 production.
The famous “SALAMPATATA”, a DE.CO product ( Common Designation),is a fresh salami with potatoes inside that you can eat in the cold season uncooked – the best way- or cooked in the oven.
“PAN DOUSS ‘D MALGRA’” is a typical dessert. It was the dessert of the Lord of San Martino’s banquets at Malgrà Castle in Rivarolo. People tell he loved so much this dessert, that he took some pieces of it , when he was compelled to flee from the besieged castle, dressed as a beggar. In our pastry shops there are the delicious PANETTONI in Christmas time, and the FOCACCIA DELLA BEFANA a little bit later. It is a very simple but good sweet!
Last but not least, the sublime little pastries of Piedmont, as BIGNOLE, and the cookies with TORCETTI, and the BACI DI RIVAROLO, it’s difficult to explain: try them!
We are proud of our experts of cookery and of ice cream, who received national and international prizes or mentions.
Upon entering Aosta Valley region, the Giro d’Italia 15th stage continues along the valley line dominated by majestic mountains and the ancient silhouettes of forts and castles with a fairytale-like atmosphere. The finish line is in Cogne, at 1,544 meters above sea level, in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park. Once an important mining centre for the extraction of iron, Cogne is now one of the “Pearls of the Alps”, a tourist resort famous for the quality of its hospitality which it has developed while respecting and safeguarding its natural heritage.
After the town of Pollein, with its popular cycle-pedestrian track, the Carovana Rosa is confronted with the first steep climb up towards the 1,800 meters of altitude of Pila, in the municipality of Gressan, which, just 18 minutes by cable car from the city of Aosta, is a privileged destination not only for hiking and skiing, but also for fast-paced disciplines on two wheels such as downhill and freeriding.
The finish line of the second Grand Prix of the Mountains is Verr
ogne, in the municipality of Sarre, along the scenic “Strada dei Salassi”, the ancient pre-Roman route that connected the Gran San Bernardo area to the upper Aosta Valley.
The last exertion is in the direction of Cogne where the Gran Paradiso, the only one of the 4 “four thousand” in the region – Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn and Monte Rosa – that is completely in the Italian territory, majestically awaits the arrival of the cyclists.
In addition to the Fontina DOP, produced throughout the territory of Aosta Valley, you can also taste other cheeses made from cow’s and goat’s milk as well as other milk derivatives, such as locally produced butter and yogurt.
As for the cuisine, among the typical dishes of Cogne that must absolutely be tried is the mécoulin, a sort of typical local “panettone” sweetened with raisins and flavored with lemon rind and rum, the Cogne cream, a delicious dessert based on cream, sugar, dark chocolate and a drop of rum, and the tasty seupetta of Cogne, a soup made with rice and Fontina DOP.
The “seupetta” of Cogne is a dish of ancient tradition, one of the many commonplace dishes of high mountain gastronomy, prepared with the few ingredients usually available to peasant families. The presence of rice stands out, which is not a typical production of Cogne but which was one of the goods traded for products of the mountain pastures, as it is a long-life food and therefore particularly suitable for building up food reserves for the long and isolated winter at the foot of the Gran Paradiso mountain.
Typical of the Aymavilles area, located at the entrance to Cogne valley, is Favò, a delicious traditional dish based on broad beans, Fontina DOP cheese, black bread toasted in butter, sausages, bacon and pasta, which goes well with a fragrant red wine like the Torrette DOC.
In summer, the Favò festival takes place in the rural village of Ozein, in the municipality of Aymavilles, set on a panoramic natural terrace from which you can enjoy an enchanting view. Still on the subject of traditional events, linked to the flavors of the territory and rural life, the “Veillà” is an absolute must-do, a re-enactment of ancient crafts, during which it is possible to taste some traditional local dishes, and it takes place in summer in the hamlets of Cogne.
Always in Cogne, at the end of September, the return of the herds from the summer pastures is celebrated with a spectacular parade of animals and with a market of traditional and handcrafted products, and on the occasion of the “Devétéya” various restaurants in Cogne offer themed menus.
The unique climatic conditions of Valle d’Aosta, together with the characteristics of the soils and their inclination have certainly not made life easy for winemakers; however here, the “heroic wine-growing” gives rise to a wide and qualified range of prestigious mountain-grown wines, united under a single “Valle d’Aosta – Vallée d’Aoste” Controlled Designation of Origin mark, listed in 7 area sub-designations and as many as 31 referring to specific vines and types of winemaking.
Coming from Piemonte, as soon as you cross into Valle d’Aosta, your attention is immediately captured by the vineyards that seem to climb up the mountainsides. The characteristic variety of vine in the area is the Picotendro, a local variety of Nebbiolo grown together with other varieties authorized for Donnas wine such as Freisa, Neyret and Fumin, while Pinot Gris and Erbaluce are used for the production of white wines.
Picotendro is also the basis for the production of Arnad-Montjovet, an area where Pinot Noir is also found, which is sometimes combined with Nebbiolo and other native vines such as Vien de Nus, Ner d’Ala and Roussin.
The cultivation of Muscat is what makes the Chambave area famous, while in the Nus area we find the Pinot gris, locally called Malvoisie. Various native vines are added to these (Petit rouge, Vien de Nus, Cornalin and Fumin) and numerous international vines common throughout the central valley (Syrah, Pinot noir, Gamay, Petite Arvine, Müller Thurgau).
Muscat di Chambave is dry and still, unlike Piedmont muscats. The sweetness of the wines obtained by the slow drying of Muscat and Malvoisie grapes is also impressive.
The “Torrette” zone extends over a vast area around the city of Aosta and includes eleven municipalities and is characterized by the Petit rouge vine, which is well suited to the territory thanks to its remarkable tolerance to cold and drought. The Torrette red wine takes its name from the promontory of the same name between the municipalities of Sarre and Saint-Pierre which, due to its southern exposure, constitutes an ideal habitat for wine-growing.
Along the stage:
Fort Bard – Once an impregnable nineteenth-century barrage fortress, today it is a cultural center that houses various museums, including the Museum of the Alps and interesting internationally-renowned exhibitions.
Issogne Castle – An expression of the metamorphosis of the Gothic into the Renaissance, Issogne castle contains surprising art treasures, such as the pomegranate fountain and a portico with frescoed lunettes that reproduce scenes from fifteenth-century life.
Verrès Castle – Elements of great elegance, such as the staircase with flying buttresses and the mullioned windows made of carved stone, are combined with the essential defense system.
Fènis Castle – Towers and crenellated walls, which evoke an adventurous and fairytale dimension, make Fénis castle one of the most famous castles in the Valle d’Aosta region.
Sarre Castle- Savoy hunting and holiday residence, tells of the presence of the royal family in Valle d’Aosta. The rooms with the trophies of hunting parties decorated with hundreds of horns of chamois and ibex are of particular interest.
Sarriod de La Tour Castle – Located in a flat area overhanging Dora Baltea, in the municipality of Saint-Pierre, it is famous for its “room of the heads” which takes its name from the decoration of the wooden ceiling with odd-looking characters.
Aymavilles Castle – After a long period of restoration, which helped to bring out the double medieval and baroque soul of the castle, today it also reveals its nature as a nineteenth-century residence attributed to it by the last owner. The collection of the Accademia di S.Anselmo is part of the museum itinerary, which since 1855 has collected the most interesting items that tell the history of Aosta Valley.
Roman acqueduct-bridge of Pont d’Ael – The daring single-arch aqueduct-bridge of Pondel, 52 meters high, crosses the Grand-Eyvia stream in the Cogne valley.
Gran Paradiso National Park – In 2022 the protected area celebrates its 100th anniversary. The “TutelAttiva Laboratorio Parco” center welcomes visitors with multimedia systems, interactive games and an original “sensory space” as well as two thematic set-ups dedicated to the wolf and the ibex. In order to become familiar with the variety of alpine flora, there is the Paradisia Alpine Botanical Garden in Valnontey, a hamlet of the municipality of Cogne in the heart of the Park.
Lillaz waterfalls – They are made up of some rocky drops through which the abundant water of the Urtier stream flows, and it has dug deep ravines between the sheer cliffs. The first waterfall is within everyone’s reach, while the circular route to see them all is an excursion of less than 2 km, with 100 meters of uphill altitude difference, which offers unforgettable views.
The magnetite mines of Cogne, inside the original galleries, and the museum of the Regional Mining Park in the ancient miners’ village.
The Maison Gérard-Dayné ethnographic museum, an example of traditional Aosta Valley architecture.
The permanent exhibition of bobbin-lace, the traditional lace of Cogne.