Driving the fantastically twisty road to Torri di Fraele

By dangerousroads

Torri di Fraele is a fortress perched at an elevation of 1,992m (6,535ft) above sea level, situated in the province of Sondrio, Italy. The fortress, with its 18 hairpin turns leading to the Fraele towers, served as a strategic communication point in the past.

Torri di Fraele


Where is Torri di Fraele located?

The fortress lies in the Lombardy region, in the northern part of Italy, within the Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio, to the east of the Swiss border. The towers were originally built in 1391 as part of the fortification system to defend against frequent invasions. They were fortified in the 15th century and mostly destroyed in 1513 during an invasion by the Grisons. The area below the cliff is known as the “Burrone dei Morti” or the ravine of the dead.

Can you drive to Torri di Fraele?

The road to the fortress offers a breathtaking journey. Located a few kilometers west of the town of Bormio, it winds through the mountains with numerous hairpin turns. Gradually ascending, the road, fully paved since 2010, takes drivers up the challenging route. The final stretch comprises 18 hairpin turns, passing through two short unlit tunnels carved into the mountain’s edge, at the foot of the ancient Towers of Fraele. Beyond the towers, two artificial lakes, Lago di Cancano and Lago di San Giacomo, are utilized for electricity production. These lakes are separated by a massive dam that can be traversed by vehicle. The last 1.6km is gravel but accessible to all passenger vehicles. However, motorized traffic is restricted on the road to the lakes during July and August. The road concludes at Passo di Fraele.

When was the road to Torri di Fraele constructed?

The road to the towers was built between 1926 and 1927 to facilitate the construction of dam walls. Known as the Mini Stelvio, the road to Torri di Fraele is considered another masterpiece of Italian construction art.

How long is the road to Torri di Fraele?

Beginning at Turri Piano (crossroad SS301), the road to the summit spans 8.38km (5.20 miles). Although narrow, the road is not as sheer as others in the vicinity.

Is the road to Torri di Fraele steep?

The road, featured in the Giro d’Italia race, boasts a steep ascent. With an elevation gain of 600 meters, it has an average gradient of 7.1% and some sections reaching up to 12%.

Is the journey to Torri di Fraele worthwhile?

Nestled in the Alps, the road offers stunning scenery. Allocating approximately 25 minutes for the drive without stops is recommended. The Fraele towers are impressive from below, while the dams and surrounding mountainsides add to the awe-inspiring landscape. Standing in front of the towers provides a panoramic view not only of the surroundings but also of the entire road. A visit to Torri di Fraele is a must for anyone exploring Bormio after traversing the Stelvio and Gavia passes.