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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Most Dangerous Roads in Italy

June 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Tips

Stelvio Pass.

Italy is known around the globe for its tasty food, its numerous examples of ancient architecture, and for perfectly exemplifying the Mediterranean way of life. It is therefore not surprising that the country attracts more than 40 million visitors every year.

Although public transportation is efficient and covers most of the country, the ideal way of seeing Italy is by hiring a car and taking in the sights at your own pace. We think that driving on the other side of the road is challenging enough, but if you really need an extra dose (or an overdose) of adrenaline, you may want to check out Italy’s most dangerous roads. Read on to find out where they are.

1- Passo dello Stelvio

You might very well come across this hair-raising mountain pass if you are on your way to the Italian Alps or to Switzerland. Standing at 9,045 feet, the Stelvio is the highest paved pass in the whole Eastern Alps region. The original road was built 187 years ago, when that part of Italy was under the control of the Austrian empire. The Passo dello Stelvio was the scene in which several World War I battles were fought. Nowadays, the Stelvio is considered one of the most breathtaking roads of Europe (and one of the most dangerous too, given its 60 narrow hairpin turns).

Due to adverse weather conditions, the pass is only open during the summer months (June to September). Watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists if you do go there.

The Stelvio is part of road number 38, and the most spectacular approach is that from Prato allo Stelvio, on the eastern end of the road.

2- Amalfi Coast

In the beginning of the 20th century, Amalfi was a popular holiday destination for European aristocrats. This coastal town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is easy to understand why, as the town is perched over a series of cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean.

To get to Amalfi you will have to drive on the Costiera Amalfitana road. The road is peppered with blind bends that send drivers dangerously close to the precipices that plunge into the sea. Any encounter with an oncoming vehicle is a close call in the Costiera Amalfitana. Luckily, there are plenty of bars in Amalfi town that will be happy to serve you a drink or two once you are off this unnerving stretch of road.

3- Pasubio

The Pasubio is also located in the north of Italy. The road is nicknamed after the impressive mountain range which it traverses. The Pasubio mountains are an extension of the southern Alps and reach heights of 7,350 feet.

The actual road turns and twists around a set of isolated mountains, providing drivers with spectacular views over the valley below. To make it more interesting, the road is dotted with various tunnels and flanked by hair-raising precipices.

Most traffic in the Pasubio consists of bicycles and motorbikes, although it is possible to spot the random (and daring) driver on a car. The Pasubio is part of road 46.

4- Como Lake motorway

This is officially (and sadly) Italy’s most dangerous road. The Italian government recently released a set of statistics which indicated that there are 0.4 deaths and 2.69 accidents per kilometre on this road. The motorway sees heavy traffic often, as it provides access to Switzerland and to a few ski resorts. During the winter months, ice, snow, and extremely harsh weather conditions turn this road into a potential death trap.

Como Lake motorway is also known as road number 36.

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