It is not under Bellagio jurisdiction (even though it is morphologically part of it) but when you speak about Ghisallo you also speak about the great passion professional and non profes-sional cyclists have towards this ascent which becomes a sport challenge if you face it from Bellagio’s mountainside. A Sanctuary and more recently a museum (the first stone was laid in 1999) are dedicated to bi-cycles and to cycling sweat. The oratory to Our Lady of Ghisallo, whose existence dates back to 1660, refers to a Count of Ghisallo who managed to survive a robbers ambush by praying to the Virgin Mary. To access the museum exhibitions areas you have to climb up flights of stairs which recall Alpine hairpins and pass a spur reminiscent of the Dolomites.

Inside the museum there is an explosion of pink jerseys (Italian: Maglie Rosa) and rainbow jerseys (Italian: Maglie Iridate) ex voto donations together with a number of historical bicycles which still have a great desire to run on unpaved roads. Fiorenzo Magni, “the Lion of the Flanders”, one of the greatest champion of the national cycling history had the idea to establish a museum to the pedal two-wheels and was its president till his death. Even though it may appear antithetical what Candido Cannavò wrote on a sport magazine is likewise meaningful: “Saint bicycle, always protagonist with children and grown-ups, amateurs and professionals. It doesn’t need a monument. It is already in our hearts”.

And a place where a bicycle is sanctified and acclaimed couldn’t miss a bicycles manu-facturer, not the traditional bicycles but wooden, strong, practical and a bit exotic bicycles. Everything is created in a workshop 100 metres from the Sanctuary, towards Asso, where the owner and “genius loci” Pietro Cermenati for over sixty years has been modeling wooden (Slavonian beech) wheel rims (some experiments have also been made with bamboo too) then exported all over the world (Germany, Japan, USA). At first glance this masterpiece of Italian handicraft excellence seems a grown ups toy but in the ‘50s even some great champions of that time had used the wooden wheel rims with great satisfaction; however the wheel rims have also a future because one of Cermenati’s nephew is determined to follow in his footsteps.

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YOUR TESTIMONIES

IL GHISALLO: UN LUOGO MAGICO E IRRESISTIBILE

Il Ghisallo rappresenta uno di quei luoghi che trasudano la storia del ciclismo, da quello mitico dei tempi eroici, fino a giorni nostri.Impossibile per ogni appassionato resistere al richiamo del tempio del ciclismo lombardo e non solo.Quando parto dalla mia cittadina di Gorgonzola per raggiungere il ramo Lecchese del Lario, è sempre un piacere. Superare il cartello di Magreglio è una liberazione e una sosta ristoratrice è l'occasione per varcare la soglia della piccola Chiesetta, che custodisce cimeli che sono parte della memoria del mio amato sport. Un'infinità di maglie donate dai campioni più celebri, le bici di Coppi, Bartali, Magni, Moser, Gimondi, Merckx passano in secondo piano, affiancate alla bicicletta del compianto Fabio Casartelli, spezzata in due come la sua vita sulle strade del Tour. Adesso c'è un bellissimo Museo, ma il Santuario della Madonna protettrice dei ciclisti ha un altro fascino e trasmette sempre grandi emozioni.

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