The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo in Magreglio
The Ghisallo Pass, known as Ghisàl in Lombard, connects Valassina with the upper part of the Lariano Triangle, standing at 754 meters above sea level in the municipality of Magreglio. A small church, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, is found nearby, its name attributed to a medieval legend of a traveler’s vow to build a church in honor of the Madonna after escaping brigands.
Cyclists revere the Ghisallo ascent, a regular route for the Giro di Lombardia and Giro d’Italia. In 1949, Pope Pius XII declared the Madonna del Ghisallo the universal patron of cyclists, thanks to the initiative of parish priest Don Ermelindo Viganò.
The climb to the sanctuary is approached from two sides, with the north side from Bellagio being the more challenging. The “Superghisallo” variant adds complexity, while the south side from Erba rises more gently.
The Madonna del Ghisallo’s patronage has deep cycling roots, with numerous champions donating memorabilia to the Cycling Museum next to the sanctuary. This sacred place stands as a symbol of faith, remembrance, and dedication to the sport of cycling.