Rehabilitation of the historical slope “Muro di Sormano”


Located in the attractive foothills of the Alps, the road called “the Wall” is regarded as the most difficult part of a very important cycling race. While the cycling adventure lasted only a couple of years, the road became infamous as some sort of 'mission impossible" in the world of sport. After many debates initiated by the competitors themselves, that has to get off the bikes and going up on foot, the road was excluded from the race in the 1960s and replaced by an easier road. The myth of this impossible climb remains even today deeply embedded in the memory of all cycling lovers.

The road is a sort of time and space link between sporting history, landscape, natural values and human attraction to challenge, as disclosed and stressed by the project, where boring cartographic details are

enlivened by a psycho-geographical approach.

The interpretation of behaviour of athletes, walkers, nature lovers and nostalgic aficionados became a part of the designing process.

The symbols written on the tarmac provide information on geographical location, history, vegetation and past events. Thus The Wall becomes a graphic record of natural phenomena. The difference in altitude and slope are the main features which are a frequently repeated element all along the road. The numbers mark the height above sea level and take over the role of contour lines. The rhythm of their appearance turns the 'difficulty" and the slope of the road into graphics.

After the end of the wood, concentric circles drawn on the tarmac the Landscape Detectors, spreading like radar circles, point to the Alp foothill peaks, marking the best viewing positions and suggesting a pause, a relaxing break to enjoy the panorama.

By a number of examples, the project tried to prove that moving along a road is the crucial moment of exploring and getting to know the surroundings and that spatial perception can be guided and planned. Landscape, nature and land configuration all played key parts in the process.

In some places, athletes' statements taken from the daily newspapers of the time the Wall was part of the Giro route.