If you’ve ever been to a catholic country, you’ll know that there really is a saint for everything, including people who really need some divine intervention from time to time – cyclists. Pope Pius XII designated the Madonna del Ghisallo as the patron saint of cyclists in 1949, coincidentally smack dab in the middle of the era of Italian dominance in cycling with the great rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali (they completely dominated the TDF that year and handed us the iconic photo below for posterity).
The chapel is on a short passo that overlooks Lake Como and some stunning mountains to the north. It is jammed packed with historic memorabilia, including bikes and jerseys from great Italian riders, plus a few who Italy has a soft spot for.
Full disclosure: I drove to the chapel. John and I had 6 days of cycling routes to reconn, plus 3 hotels, two handfuls of restaurants and a few bottles of Barolo. It was a hard 3 days. I’ll be back in September to make the pilgrimage on two wheels.