A no-handed descent info our fears, ambitions, passions and dreams.

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48 Hairpin bends by Night

A film by Fabrizio Lussu, Anna Grendele, Paolo Casalis
Directed by Fabrizio Lussu

Year    :   Available NOW!
Production    :   Stuffilm
Distribution    :   Produzioni Fuorifuoco
Genre    :   Documentary, Sport, Cycling, Action, Extreme
Duration    :   53'
Film Festivals    :   
Grand Jury Prize, Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival, Arlington (USA)
Bicycle Film Festival 2017, New York (USA)
Bike Days – Bicycle Film Festival, Wroclaw (Poland)
Llanberis Adventure & Mountain Film Festival, Llanberis (Galles)
Piemonte Movie Glocal Film Festival
Turin (Italy), Filmmaker DAY, Turin (Italy)


The impressive and fascinating story of Giuliano Calore, 77 year-old italian cyclist who descended the Stelvio at night with no bars or brakes

Giuliano Calore, born in Padova (north-east Italy) in 1938, is a living legend of extreme cycling. Some of his extraordinary exploits are now to be found in the Guinness Book of World Records, and led him to receive the coveted honour of King of Records in his field.
During the film shootings Giuliano, who is now 77 years old, has decided to suprise us achieving one last record: he wants to exploit the twists and turns of the legendary Monte Stelvio Pass, the scenic location of some of his previous astounding demonstrations of equilibrium, tenacity and inexhaustible strength, and also where some of the most famous moments in the history of cycling have taken place.
This is his most impressive challenge so far: descending from the Stelvio Pass - at an altitude of 2758 m - at night, with all of its 48 hairpin turns, on a bike with no handlebars or brakes, illuminated only by a torch and moonlight.
"48 Tornanti di Notte" tells the incredible story of this extraordinary character, with a boundless passion for cycling and a free, unconventional lifestyle.
A no-hands descent into our fears, ambitions, passions and dreams.

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    Guinness World Records
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    World Records to be conquered
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    Handlebars, brakes


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Above: an excerpt from filmed material (July 2015)

Produzioni Fuorifuoco has produced two awarded bike movies: L'Ultimo Chilometro and Vento. Italy by bike along the river Po.

Who is Giuliano Calore?

The descent of the Stelvio

  • Hairpin bends
  • Kilometers
  • Maximum Gradient/h6>
  • Top speed
The Stelvio Pass (Italian: Passo dello Stelvio; German: Stilfser Joch) is a mountain pass in northern Italy, at an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft) above sea level. It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, just 13 m (43 ft) below France's Col de l'Iseran (2,770 m (9,088 ft)).
The pass is located in the Ortler Alps in Italy between Stilfs ("Stelvio" in Italian) in South Tyrol and Bormio in the province of Sondrio. It is about 75 km (47 mi) from Bolzano and a mere 200 m from the Swiss border.
The Umbrail Pass runs northwards from the Stelvio's western ramp, and the "Three Languages Peak" (Dreisprachenspitze) above the pass is so named because this is where the Italian, German, and Romansh languages meet.
The road connects the Valtellina with the mid Venosta valley (the Vinschgau) and Meran. Adjacent to the pass road there is a large summer skiing area.
The Stelvio Pass retains an importance for sport when it is open from June to September. Countless cyclists and motorcyclists struggle to get to the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps. It is the highest finish of any Grand Tour.[4] The Giro d'Italia often crosses the Stelvio Pass (it was crossed by the Giro for the first time in 1953, when Coppi beat Koblet).
The last winner on the pass was Dario Cataldo in 2014. Every year, the pass is closed to motor vehicles on one day in late August when about 8,000 cyclists ride on the Stelvio.
The Stelvio Pass has elicited raptures from visitors as diverse as Charles Dickens and Jeremy Clarkson, who declared it the world's greatest road for driving. The pros who conquer it on two wheels, often deciding the fate of the Giro's maglia rosa, or pink jersey, ride into sporting legend. Those who flounder curse its every precipitous switchback and snowbound summit. It was here, in 1953, when the Giro first climbed the Stelvio, that Fausto Coppi sealed his own legend by winning his fifth pink jersey. Coppi, whose stature is almost of Papal proportions in Italy, had trailed his Swiss rival, Hugo Koblet. But in a breathtaking display of might, the Italian attacked 11km from the summit of the Stelvio, breaking Koblet and riding on to victory. He said he felt as if he “was going to die” during the climb, now also named Cima Coppi in his honour.
The joy of road cycling is such that any rider can pedal in the tracks of heroes. Few lovers of ballet may perform a pirouette badly at Covent Garden, nor may a Liverpool fan slot one home at Anfield. But anyone with a bicycle can ride up the Stelvio Pass. How hard could it be? Sunshine makes the ski resort of Bormio feel warmer than the thermometer's two degrees. With two pairs of booties over my cycling shoes and a bag of layers on my back for later, I set off alongside Daniele, manager of the bike-friendly Hotel Funivia and a veteran of more than 100 Stelvio climbs. “I have a good relation with pain,” he tells me, unnecessarily.
The Stelvio's stats are scary enough. The crazed road winds up via 35 of the tightest hairpins in a single, unrelenting climb of 14 miles. It gains more than a vertical mile as it rears above Bormio to 2,757 metres, the second-highest paved pass in the Alps. Viewed from below, the road resembles a giant strand of spaghetti dropped from the heavens.
As we rise, passing through dark, dank tunnels carved out of the rock, we hear only our breathing and the faint rumble of rubber on road. Not long after we duck a barrier that keeps out cars when conditions are bad (Stirling Moss came a cropper here in 1990, veering off the road during a vintage rally) our surroundings turn from green to white. A head-sized rock tumbles on to the road in front of me. I steer round it, also dodging lumps of ice and the snow encroaching on to the asphalt.
The Stelvio is the work of Carlo Donegani, an engineer tasked with linking Lombardia, then part of Austria, with the rest of the Austrian Empire. It took 2,500 men five years to build the road, which extends for another 15 miles on the northern, even more dizzying, side of the pass. When it opened in the 1820s, Donegani was revered across the Empire, becoming known as progettista dell'impossibile, the “designer of the impossible”. His masterpiece became an Italian landmark, as the writer Daniel Friebe describes in his book: Mountain High. When the literary translator F A Malleson visited later that century, he speculated that Charles Dickens may have been referring to the road in this passage from David Copperfield: “I had found sublimity and wonder in the dread heights and precipices, in the roaring torrents, and the wastes of ice and snow.” Later the stage for war, it has become most famous since Coppi's victory as a theatre of cycling battles, earning a place alongside climbs such as Ventoux, Alpe d'Huez and Galibier. In 1961, it was Charly “Angel of the Mountains” Gaul whose Stelvio heroics lit up the Giro. Later that decade, before Marco Pantani's time, came the era of two more greats: Felice Gimondi and, best of all, the Belgian Eddy Merckx. Climbs such as the Stelvio and conditions like those that frequently dog the Giro help elevate it above the more famous Tour de France. It's why, perversely, Wiggins was so desperate to win a 2,000-mile race he told The Independent he “despises”. “The Giro is much more about the sport,” he said. “It's just craziness and there's a part of that the riders really like.”
Climbs and suffering add drama, romance and unpredictability to the race. Michael Barry is a Canadian cyclist who has raced in five Giros. He rode alongside Wiggins with Team Sky in 2010. “There are harder climbs but iconic roads like the Stelvio make the Giro special because they conjure images of past champions, and the history of the sport,” he says from Toronto.
They have also helped express and shape Italy's identity. Herbie Sykes, a British writer based in Turin and author of Maglia Rosa: Triumph and tragedy of the Giro d'Italia, calls the Stelvio one of the “great theatres” of the Giro. He adds: “There is a great tradition in Italy of literature and poetry around cycling... and a profound understanding of what cycling has meant to the country... its peaks, troughs and struggles.”
The final stretch towards Stelvio presents the biggest struggle. Having eased slightly, the road rears up again for the savage switchbacks leading agonisingly towards the summit. I can see it but, with just one and a half miles to go, snow carpets the road ahead. It's too dangerous to go on and so, after 90 minutes of climbing, I pause to catch my breath. Before I descend, a thrilling, chilling experience (imagine a wind tunnel in a walk-in freezer) I pull on Santini's maglia rosa, potentially disappointing the Giro gods who only award it to the greats. But it's my small way of honouring a captivating climb and those of all standards who have pedalled up it. Thawing over coffee back in Bormio, I vow to return in warmer weather.
The Route
The Passo dello Stelvio is 2,758m above sea level according to the large sign at the top. There are two main routes to the top and a third via Switzerland.
The SS38 goes from Bormio on the west to Ponte di Stelvio on the east via the pass. Each side offers a similar experience being 22km from Bormio at 7.1% and 24km from Ponte di Stelvio at 7.4%. But the Bormio side offers more variety, a flat section 5km from the top and 12% for most of the last two kilometres. The Ponte side is regular and the carefully placed Trafoi bends are a work of engineering. Is there a better side to climb? Both offer something but the Trafoi bends on the Eastern side are the “must do” experience plus you avoid the narrow tunnels on the Bormio side but ideally you don’t want to choose, you want to try both approaches.
The Feel
This is a long climb, I cannot find the record but either side requires 75-90 minutes in the Giro so you’ll probably need 90 minutes, perhaps two even three hours.
Daniel Friebe’s bible “Mountain High” quotes Fausto Coppi saying he thought he was going to die and Marco Pinotti labelled it “ascetic” whilst Friebe himself calls it a “treat” and “spiritual.” I’m with Pinotti. This is a climb that is romanticised by journalists and rich in history but when ridden it’s more grim treatment than a treat. Yes the scenery stuns but the higher you go the more the mind is numbed by the cold and the dwindling blood sugar, plus the altitude extracts a usury interest rate on your oxygen debt, any anaerobic ambitions risk default. It takes a long time to reach the top and when you do make it the mind is on the descent and your clothing, damp with sweat. It’s hard.
Still, the Trafoi bends are special. Imagine looking at an image of Alpe d’Huez an tablet device and then using your fingers to stretch the image to vertical and you get the idea, this climb makes you crane your neck like a tourist in Manhattan. The Eastern side has 48 hairpin bends and these are concentrated above the village of Trafoi when the road leaves the natural course of the valley to snake up the wall of the valley, quickly rising above the tree line. You can admire these bends for the engineering and quietly thank the constructors who ensured a regular gradient, unlike many other Italian passes. But it’s relentless, the bends hang high above and seem so far away.
This side also has the Piccolo Tibet mountain refuge. Built in 1959 by a mountaineer it might sound exotic, but no, you really are so high up amidst a rocky landscape with glaciers hanging around that this does feel Himalayan. The remote feeling is quickly forgotten at the summit where shops and restaurants crowd the top, the satisfaction of reaching the pass is there but spiritual pride has to compete with the garish market forces.
The Bormio side is different. Engineered too, but instead of climbing up the mountain, at times it goes through it with a series of tunnels. In the past these were scary even to climb because they were dark, wet and narrow and traffic, including descending cyclists, didn’t always spot the rider climbing. Plus there’s the acoustic effect where even a small Fiat sounds like the truck from Spielberg’s Duel. The good news is that these have been upgraded with lighting which makes all the difference. But the other sections are calm and scenic and worth the effort. Both sides now have wooden signs that count down the hairpins remaining to the top.
The Stelvio is not just a climb but a descent of course and one of the best in Europe. However, be prepared for the cold. The height and isolation of this road means it is perpetually cold and warm temperatures are rare. Indeed even before climbing be sure to check the weather report in case the clouds come in because having to ride down in the rain without sufficient kit will be miserably unforgettable.
The Pass
The pass marks the point between three borders. It is the point between the regions of Lombardia and the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. But the pass also sits next to the Swiss border and can be reached by the Umbrail pass which joins the Stelvio just a few hundred metres below the pass.
The Giro
Fausto Coppi was the first to the top in 1953 in a race winning move. There’s a monument to him on the climb and the high point of the Giro is called the Cima Coppi, the Coppi summit. The images of him climbing in between walls of snow live on today and are often recreated when the race passes in modern times.
The race returned in 1961 when Charly Gaul, perhaps the greatest ever climber, won after descending in to Bormio. It’s been used sparingly since and in recent times the Giro has held the stage finish on the summit to literally heighten the importance and drama. That said this is as much a descent as a climb and in 1980 Bernard Hinault and Jean-René Bernaudeau went wild with the unlit tunnels to rip the race lead away from Wladimiro Panizza on the road down to Bormio.
Ivan Basso fared worse. Leading the Giro he fell sick and lost 42 minutes on the climb. Yes forty two minutes. It only reminds us that if the Stelvio consecrates the winner it is fiendish for the others, a graveyard of ambitions.
Cancellations are a feature as much as participations. The cold weather means snow and the race has been prevented from crossing in the past and it almost happened last year. In 1984 Laurent Fignon was ready to ambush Franceso Moser on the big mountain stage but the organisers cited poor conditions only the Frenchman protested and claimed it was a ruse to help home rider Moser win the race.
Fignon seems to have been vindicated by journalists who drove over to verify the climb but over the years this climb has not been a regular in the Giro. Last year we saw the Giro close to abandoning the stage.

Fabrizio Lussu

Born in Turin (Italy), 1976. In 2007 he’s among the founders of Fotogramma 25, a video production house based in Turin, specialized in documentary and short fiction related productions.
He works with writing and film direction and he makes feature lenght and short documentaries., music clips and commercial videos.


“L’uomo dei Record”, 2013 - doc.

“Lunga vita al Re”, 2011 - doc. Winner of “Piemonte Documenteur Filmfestival - 2011”

“Gravità”, 2009 - short
Miglior Regia “Spazio Anteprima Nord-Ovest 2009” Best short Ponte “Corti a Ponte 2010”

“La Formula del Miele”, 2009 - doc.

Produzioni Fuorifuoco

Produzioni Fuorifuoco is a video production house based in Bra (CN, Italy) specialized in feature lenght and short films and documentary films.
In its filmography there are documentary movies like Barolo Boys.Storia di una Rivoluzione and Langhe Doc. Stories of heretics in the Italy of warehouses ,both in the nominees for David di Donatello prize, the Oscar for italian movies. Produzioni Fuorifuoco has made many sport reportages and international productions, with a great experience and know-how in cycling field, producing events like the “Marmotte” (the most important Granfondo cycling race in Europe), Granfondo Pantani and Granfondo Monte-Carlo, Giro d’Italia 2013, and producing two cycling films: L’Ultimo Chilometro and Vento. Italy by bike along the river Po

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