Location: Cuneo Province, Italy, Europe
Length: 32 km
Built: first mentioned in a historic document in 1178, expanded and rehabilitated multiple times
Wide: 5 m standard, 2 lanes. Near the top and 4 km into France, only 1 lane
Surface: mostly asphalt and partly unpaved, quite rough near the highest point and continues for about 4 km
Surface quality (out of 5): near the top and 4 km into France 2, the remainder of the road 4
Highest point: 1870 m
Operating times: April – November
SS 20 Strada statale 20 del Colle di Tenda
Route: Limone Piemonte, Italy – Colle di Tenda – Tende, France
Colle di Tenda (French: Col de Tende) is one of the highest mountain passes in the Alps with an altitude of 1870 m, right on the border between Italy and France. The road connects Nice and Tende in France with Cuneo, Italy. It is one of the oldest, most historic routes from the coast of Italy’s northern interior, dating back to the Phoenicians and Romans.
From the village of Limone Piemonte, you will warm up with 8 spectacular hairpins right on the main road. In addition, once you begin the ascent, you will encounter no less than 48 hairpin turns on a distance of only 7 km. Motorized traffic must pass through the car-only tunnel to cross between Italy and France. Colle di Tenda Road Tunnel was inaugurated in 1882 and at that time it was the world’s longest road tunnel, with a length of 3.18 km.
Colle di Tenda is considered to be a difficult road, yet the drive is worth it because of it’s beauty. The area around Colle di Tenda is especially picturesque, with no less than 3 old forts close by and many more in the immediate vicinity.
Colle di Tenda is a popular destination for motorcyclists, hikers and bicyclists and it’s frequently used for mountain bike races and paragliding. In addition to this, in the area surrounding Colle di Tenda, you will find three national or regional parks with breathtaking views and interesting sites with a rich history.
Due to the altitude, the weather in this region can change very rapidly, in the space of just a few minutes. Thick fog and heavy rain are common, even during summer.
Photo: “Le Marmotte” Restaurant, Limone Piemonte
Another important fact is that at 1800 m altitude, on top of the hill, you will find “Le Marmotte” restaurant. It is the perfect place for a gourmet meal and is easily accessible from Limone on asphalt.
Photos: edidomus.it, wp.com, panoramio.com, colleditenda.com, grandain.com, ytimg.com, chaletlemarmotte.com