Lake Como’s only Italy Bike Hotel, Hotel Il Perlo, sits perched on the wooded hillside above Bellagio and has been a background fixture in the Giro di Lombardia race for almost 100 years. In front of the hotel the racers hit the 14% grade on the gruelling 10 kilometer climb from Bellagio to the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel 700 meters above. In race photos taken since the early 1900s, behind the faces of Bartali, Coppi, and Nibali, you can see the hotel, its guests, and local tifosi cheering Vai! Vai! to their heroes as they race towards the ringing Ghisallo chapel bells. Every day, and especially on the weekends, you can watch cyclists make the same climb past Il Perlo... now it’s your turn to join them!
The hotel is also the home to ComoLagoBike’s rental point and bike shop from which to base guided or self-supported rides in the area, with access to a variety of options: rambling lakeside routes and climbs into the central Triangolo Lariano mountains, the Tuscan-like landscape of the Brianzola region, or hop on a ferry at the Bellagio waterfront to reach further shorelines for rides to Switzerland or through eastern mountain valleys. Regardless of the ride you choose, each will leave you in wonder at the breathtaking alpine lake landscape and winding ribbons of roads that take you through charming villages at the foot of granite cliffs or hidden in the high valleys.
ComoLagoBike’s cycling routes accommodate many skill and fitness abilities, from easy to difficult, for the competitive cyclist and team, or for a family with children. Lake Segrino is one of the small lakes that dot the southern end of Lake Como and provides a safe and quiet bike path perfect for families and kids. There is also a quiet, scenic bike trail along the Adda River leading from Lecco to Milan. Road cyclists can find long gentle climbs taking them to high alpine views of the lake, or steep challenging climbs like the Muro di Sormano, Valcava, and Ghisallo that are used in races like the Giro di Lombardia and Giro d’Italia. Mountain bikers can spend days exploring the local trails or taking the ferry to other areas and riding along ridgelines 1500 meters above the lake. If guests are not active cyclists, the hotel has e-bikes that will make any ride in the area effortless and still allow them to experience the beauty of the region.
The crown jewel for cyclists who live in or visit the area is the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel and cycling museum. The original small chapel was for centuries a holy place for travelers seeking safe passage, and since its incorporation into the Giro di Lombardia race in the early 1900s, cyclists have flocked to pay homage to the Madonna, leaving mementos of dearly departed and to pray for strength and courage.
Because of its prominence in the race and devotion from cyclists, in 1949 the Pope declared the Madonna del Ghisallo as the patron saint of cyclists. The chapel soon became so overwhelmed with historical cycling pieces that a separate museum was built and opened in 2006 to showcase these treasures, from late 1800s bikes to One-Hour Record machines and worn woolen Maglia Rosa jerseys. Whether you’re an accomplished cyclist making this pilgrimage or if you’re visiting the area unfamiliar with the story, it is impossible not to be moved when visiting the chapel, museum, and surrounding park where locals and visitors gather for the mountain view and remembrance.
Are you ready to explore the history and roads of Lake Como? ComoLagoBike takes guests on daily guided tours every day of the week so contact us about setting up your own tour to see the Ghisallo or other stunning and legendary rides!