Colnago at the Museo de Ciclismo & Madonna del Ghisallo church

24 Nov


If you ever get the chance to visit the Museo de Ciclismo, then it is well worth it. You will be in cycle heaven! The Museum is situated in Madonna del Ghisallo
Via Gino Bartali, 4
22030 Magreglio (CO) 

If you do decide to visit, then you will be in for a real Colnago treat! There you will find Vincenzo Torriani’s Colnago which was personally given to him by Ernesto Colnago.  Vincenzo Torriani was best known as one of the original “Giro Bosses” or organisers of the Grand Tour. He held the role for 46 years, from 1946 to 1992. This bike was a special edition given to him by Ernesto Colnago in the 1980s as a gift, recognising his contribution to the great race and Italian cycling in general. Also in his honor they named the “Trofeo Vincenzo Torriani” after him, awarded to the rider who took the Cima Coppi ascent. He was also the man responsible for introducing the Cipressa to the Milan – San Remo, under the direction that the race needed to be made harder in the final stages. Something riders like Cav will curse him for today. This bike is in the museum at the top of the Ghisallo, and of all the bikes on display this one really stands out. The pictures do not do the finish justice, the bike literally glows in the light, even indoors. But as with Colnagos of that era, it was the attention to detail that makes it special: the painted inlay branding and the Italian national colours painted into the seat post inlays.





For many decades there is between the champions of cycling (mostly Italian, but not limited to) the custom to donate their memorabilia to the Shrine of the Ghisallo: these include for example, bicycles used by Bartali, Coppi and Merckx in their victories in the Tour de France, the special bike used by Moser for the hour record and various mesh pink, yellow and rainbow.

In the nineties these relics were now so numerous that no place in the small church: it was therefore conceived the project of a museum of cycling, to be erected beside the shrine. Chaired the committee for the construction of the museum was named Fiorenzo Magni After several delays, the museum was finally inaugurated on 14th October 2006, at the Giro di Lombardia in 2006, with a ceremony attended by several past and present champions.

The museum is spread over three floors and includes a multimedia collection of material on cycling. The most important relics in any case continue to be exposed in the church sanctuary


The Museo dil Ciclismo was created “to embrace the heritage of cycling, promoting the collection of objects, their preservation and information relating to a sport that has played a significant social and historical role in Italy…” – Museo Ciclismo 
For further information


Madonna del Ghisallo is the patroness of cyclists’, so proclaimed by Pope Pius XII during the 1949 Giro d’Italia. This tiny church located on a hilltop in the northern Italian hamlet of Magreglio near Lago di Lecco, has become a functional religious attraction and cycling museum, filled with artifacts, photos and other totems from cycling history. The greatest riders in the world like Coppi and Bartali have given their bicycles and jerseys to the church by way of thanks for winning races. You can also find the bike of Fabio Casartelli on which he crashed and died from his injuries.


Giro di Lombardia (Lombardia ‘s Tour) is the last race of World Cup and even if they change the route, it always includes Ghisallo.

Many, many people make a visit to this tiny church on the top, but in fact, many cyclotiurists feel that the only proper way to make the journey to the chapel is by bicycle, as a sort of pilgrimage. While the chapel has a parking place for cars, the bicycle racks outside the church are often more crowded.







To cyclists, the most interesting souvenir is the small metal pendant with the Madonna’s image on it. Many pros wind the pendant around the stem of their racing bicycles Tradition and legend hold that the Madonna will keep you safe from harm. While a Madonna pendant may or may not help you keep rubber side down, the powerful feelings associated with a visit to the chapel are undeniable. It sort of validates you as a cyclist.




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