Starting from Bormio, you take the S.S. Stelvio road as far as the third hair-pin bend where you take the turn-off for Livigno onto the S.S. 301 road going towards the Foscagno Pass.
After about 3 km you reach the junction for the road to Cancano.
Formerly known as the “Via Imperiale di Alemagna”, the road used to lead to the Passo delle Scale (Stair Pass) connecting Alta Valtellina with Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
This was where all the goods from Northern Italy used to pass through on their way to the Empires in the North.
The road was rough and had a series of large wooden steps (Passo delle Scale) that were easy to remove in the event of an attack.
The municipal records of Bormio mention that it was mandatory to pay a toll to go through the Towers of Fraele.
The Towers were built in 1391 to supervise and control this important and strategic transit route.
In the early 1900s, the road was improved with some tunnels built into the rock and subsequently a mountain reservoir was created in the Fraele Valley by AEM Milan to start hydroelectric energy production.
The climb measures 8.2 km with an elevation gain of 566 m and an average gradient of 6.9% to reach a final altitude of 1907 m above sea level.
It is very pleasant and easy thanks to the numerous hair-pin bends, making it an outstandingly beautiful ride as proven by the inevitable photos and selfies taken by cycling enthusiasts as they approach the Towers.
Lately, it has also been discovered by professional cyclists who train here in total peace and quiet away from the traffic and surrounded by the tranquillity of nature.
The tarmac road ends just over the top but thanks to a very well maintained gravel surface you can proceed as far as the Cancano lakes to see the dams and enjoy a view over the Stelvio glacier.
A worthwhile “easy” day maybe after making the mythical climbs like the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo.
Not to be missed!