South Tyrol, the northernmost province of Italy, contains some of the hardest, most spectacular cycle routes for those up for the challenge

Promotional feature with Alta Badia

Gardena, Campolongo, Falzarego, Valparola: some of the world’s most beautiful and demanding climbs, whose names are etched into the psyche of many cyclists. All of them can be found in South Tyrol, Italy’s northernmost region that is nestled up against the Austrian border in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage area.

It’s no surprise that this part of Italy is a must for road cyclists. The region hosts some of the hardest and most spectacular stages of the Giro d’Italia, with the battle for the maglia rosa often won and lost 
in the breathtaking natural theatre of snow-capped peaks, tranquil forests 
and lush alpine meadows.

What’s more, after a hard day in the saddle following the wheel-tracks of the stars, the legendary Italian cuisine offers the perfect way to replenish your energy and restore morale for the next challenge. South Tyrol boasts the most Michelin-starred establishments of any region in Italy — quite an accolade in a country where what’s on the menu is often the most important issue of the day.

Star climbs

It’s the Alta Badia region in particular that is an epicentre for cycling in this part of Italy. In fact, the local ‘bucket list’ of star climbs is positively overflowing: Campolongo, Falzarego, Valparola and Gardena to name just a handful. It’s on these roads that you’ll find the renowned Italian cyclo-sportive, La Maratona dles 
Dolomites, a marathon ride that needs 
no translation for cyclists who have 
taken part.

For those who fancy something a little lighter, the Dolomites Bike Day celebrates its second edition on June 17 with three traffic-free passes over a 52km route. Then, six days later, the roads around the Sella group of mountain passes will be reserved exclusively for riders on the Sellaronda Bike Day. Plus, between May 21 and the end of July, the local biking school will offer bespoke tours; look out too for the region’s 
accredited ‘Bike Expert’ businesses and ‘Bike Friendly’ accommodation.

When a leisurely café spin is called for, head for the gentle valley roads. If you want to act local, Italians drink a cappuccino in the morning followed by an espresso in the afternoon. No obligation.

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And while we’re talking of rest and 
recovery, it would be remiss not to remind you that Italy knows a thing or two about food and wine. In Alta Badia, the DNA of Italian Mediterranean cuisine blends with the hearty fare of the mountains. Do you need another excuse to sit back, soak up la dolce vita and look forward to another day of cycling on what might just be the best roads in the world?