Madonna del Ghisallo
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According to the legend, the Medieval count Ghisallo was being attacked by bandits when he saw an image of Virgin Mary at a shrine. He ran to it and was saved from the robbers. The apparition became known as the Madonna del Ghisallo, and she became a patroness of local travellers. In later times, Madonna del Ghisallo (the hill) was made part of the Giro di Lombardia bicycle race.
A local priest, Father Ermelindo Vigano, proposed that Madonna del Ghisallo (the apparition) be declared the patroness of cyclists. This was confirmed by Pope Pius XII. Nowadays the shrine of Madonna del Ghisallo contains a small cycling museum with photos and artifacts from the sport. There also burns an eternal flame for cyclists who have died. One particularly notable artifact is the crumpled bicycle that Fabio Casartelli, a native of the region, rode on the day that he died in a crash in the Tour de France.
Colle del Ghisallo is a mountain pass road that connects the upper part of Valassina Larian Triangle. The point of the pass, at an altitude of 754 m above sea level, is located near Magreglio. A few meters from the pass is a small church, the sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo. Its name comes from a certain Ghisallo which in medieval times in that place was attacked by bandits and made a vow to Our Lady to build a church in his honor if he survived.
The ascent of Ghisallo (from the north) is traditionally traveled by the Tour of Lombardy and was even more times into the course of the Tour of Italy. For this reason, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the universal patroness of cyclists.
- Museo del Ciclismo Madonna del Ghisallo (Italian)
- La Madonna del Ghisallo – the Patron Saint of Cycling, October 17, 2008, Cyclingnews.com
- Passo del Ghisallo profile at Climbbybike.com
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