Travel: Colle della Lombarda
Beth Hodge shares one picture-postcard reason to take your bike overseas...
Ride it: The Colle della Lombarda on the French/Italian border near the Piemonte region.
Why? Because not many people do, which means it’s quiet, magical and quite wild. The roads are as brilliantly smooth as Mary Berry’s icing, birds sing all around you, the mornings are blessed with magnificent pink skies and the whole valley reflects a movie-like grandeur.
Highlights This area has it all. Across the Col and turning north you‘ll find one of the highest mountain passes in Europe – the Cime de la Bonette. Then, turning south, you can enjoy a more leisurely roll down to Nice.
Where to stay The Sant’Anna di Vinadio is a sanctuary that has historically provided a refuge for pilgrims, but now caters for cyclists and mountain lovers. A 2km detour off the Lombarda climb, it provides cosy beds, duck-down duvets, basic meals, hot showers and truly iconic views.
Where to eat At the top of the Col sits a bright pink truck left over from this year’s Giro d’Italia, where the patron* sells delicious frites with mayo. Take a seat, enjoy the well-deserved tucker and luxuriate in the feeling of a climb well done.
Beth Hodge | @bethbrynhodge
Photography by James Corlett