Sighignola, the balcony of Italy | Discover Italy with Selle Italia
Sighignola, the balcony of Italy


Sighignola, the balcony of Italy


Argegno (CO)


Sighignola (CO)


21 km

Total vertical climb

1.110 m

Maximum altitude

1.300 m

Average gradient


Maximum gradient




The ascent that takes you to the top of the Sighignola is not a difficult one, but it is a long one with tricky stretches. The pinnacle soars up from the end of the d’Intelvi valley on the Western slopes of Lake Como and rewards you with a breathtaking view.


The sight literally overwhelms you. On a clear Spring day, you can see as far as Monte Rosa right through to the Swiss Alps whilst the lake of Lugano nestles at the bottom like a pool of polished silver.

But to enjoy the view from the top of the Sighignola mountain, which was not called the balcony of Italy without reason, you have to get there. A tall order on a bike. The ascent is moderately challenging, which is why it is an enduring tradition with bike lovers from the Lombardy area who know the lake Como area.

The climb starts from Argegno (220 metres), a pretty little village situated on the Western banks of the lake halfway between Como and Menaggio, at the exact spot where the d’Intelvi Valley begins.

And the valley needs to be traversed in its entirety to reach the 1,300-metre peak.

The most challenging stretch with hairpin bends along the way comes at the beginning as soon as you leave the lake behind and take the direction of the valley.

It hits a 10% gradient and there are 600 metres of elevation gain in a mere 5 km.

Then about midway through the valley at San Fedele the road flattens out and you even find yourself gliding down a descent, after which it rises smoothly to the small town of Lanzo d’Intelvi. Here, you might be fooled into thinking you had reached the summit, but you would be wrong because in actual fact there are another 7 km to go – all at a 7-8% gradient: and the tarmac surface is atrocious, but at least the earthiness of the woodland envelops you in its cool green embrace, even in the height of summer.

This last stretch, which must be tackled at an even pace, is never-ending. One reason for this is that the forest melts in a dark oneness before your eyes, swallowing up any signs of visual progress.

It only becomes necessary to stand up on your pedals in few points so as to gain speed. The ascent is entirely doable and the gears can be stepped up easily from a sitting position. Naturally, to do all this you will need a saddle that provides great ease of movement and relieves pressure even when you are pedalling hard. One perfect example? The Flite SuperFlow, which with its elongated central aperture and wide seat, is extraordinarily comfortable, even when the going gets tough.

Reaching the panoramic terrace at the top is always a heart-stopping experience, especially when you glance down at the 1,000-m ravine dropping sheer to Lake Lugano.

Watch out for the treacherous potholes on the way down.




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