Highlights and tour details
From the central square of San Damiano Macra at the gateway to Valle Maira, you enter the Pagliero valley (4 km) with its 15 hamlets featuring typical mountain stone architecture and small frescoed churches. At the hamlet of Chesta, the asphalt road ends after approximately 8 km and you continue on a dirt road with long hairpin bends to the Colle del Birrone at an altitude of 1712 metres, where you intersect the Strada dei Cannoni. Turn sharp left and after a short winding uphill stretch on the Valle Varaita side, with Monviso in the background, you return to the sunny walls of the Valle Maira side for the final uphill stretch that leads to the Colle di Sampeyre at an altitude of 2324 metres. Once back on the asphalt road, you begin the descent to reach Colle San Giovanni, where you come across the characteristic small circular church. You cross all the hamlets below Elva until reaching the valley floor road at Bassura. The last few kilometres are always downhill on the main valley road, returning to San Damiano Macra.
Points of interest
Sanctuary of Valmala, archaeological area of Roccerè, parish church of Elva, remains of military buildings, fortification near Colle della Bicocca. Its main feature is the breathtaking panorama of the Maritime Alps and the Cottian Alps.
NOTES The construction of this high-altitude military road dates back to the early 18th century, by order of Charles Emmanuel III as a logistical work to facilitate the movement of war material and military corps on high ground. In 2014, a two-kilometre stretch connecting the provincial roads of Lemma and Valmala (now belonging to the Busca territory) was asphalted, creating an ideal ring-road for cycle tourism routes.
Provinces crossed: Cuneo
Departure, arrival and municipalities crossed
Cuneosee on map