Fare il Grappa

You shall not pass here

The story behind Monte Grappa is heroic

"You shall not pass here" was the motto of the Alpini – Italian Alpine troopers – who heroically won by beating the constant attacks of the Austro-Hungarian and German troops while protecting the northern border during the Great War.

On top of Monte Grappa there is an outdoor military shrine that contains the remains of 22,950 soldiers. Between the northern and southern sectors runs the 300m long Via Eroica. The 14 monoliths along it bear the names of mountain peaks which were the scene of intense fighting during the war. On the portal is carved: "Monte Grappa you are my homeland"  

Monte Grappa is located in Veneto's Alpine foothills, an area between the provinces of Treviso, Vicenza and Belluno, and with a height of 1,775 metres from the valley, is one of the hardest Italian climbs. For Italian cyclists, Fare il Grappa, or doing Grappa, isn’t just a stamp in their cycling passport, but also a remarkable traditional ritual. Fare il Grappa is a challenge, like the one that the Alpini heroically won by repelling the constant attacks of their enemies.

This story and the fact that the riders need to climb Monte Grappa twice makes a victory here utmost heroic. The climb features terrible gradients of steepness. The first half of the climb rises relentlessly at over 8%, with no gentle sections for the riders to recover. 

The average of the second half is a little lower, but a lot more uneven, with brief plateaus counter-balanced with viscous harpins and horrible ramps up to well over 10% to 17%. Having climbed for so long already to get to these steepest sections, there is potential for serious damage.