If you are a driving enthusiast, you often don't look for the landscape, you don't look for a tourist place or a particular destination. All that matters is only the strip of asphalt that you travel along, with its curves, with its ups and downs.
And if you are looking only and purely for driving pleasure, La Colma di Civiasco is exactly what you need!
Altitude: 942 m
Colleague: Varallo (VC) with Arola (VB)
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/CGPxwG5J5Qt
It's true, there are some stretches where the view of Lake Orta opens up before you, it's true that up on the top you often stop to take some pictures, but we are sure that even if these factors weren't there , for those who travel this road with the spirit of driving, would not be a lack.
On the other hand we are facing a road that is also a very famous special stage of various rallies that have taken place in the area, and this means that it is certainly worth driving, and a lot too!
La Colma di Civiasco, or Passo della Colma, or more simply for those of the place "La Colma" is located between the provinces of Vercelli and Verbano-Cusio-Ossola.
The Vercelli side starts from the municipality of Varallo Sesia, in Valsesia. Here the road (SP78) begins with a succession of hairpin bends interspersed with more or less rapid extensions up to the municipality of Civiasco. In this section the road is wide and well paved. The switchbacks are not too tight and present a good view.
From Civiasco onwards the road narrows a bit but maintaining a good condition of the road surface, and the route becomes much more tortuous. A continuous succession of curves of all kinds, in some sections fast, in others less so, and this section is the one that most closely matches the term Special Stage.
If in the first section the road climbed rapidly, here we find some almost flat sections that gradually lead towards the pass at its moderate altitude of 942 m asl. Shortly before the pass (about one hundred metres) there is a clearing on the left and further space for stop can be found right on the pass.
From Cusio the climb begins at a crossroads along the SP46 between Cesara and Alzo. Here the road reaches the municipality of Arola shortly after and then continues towards the pass.
The roadway is quite wide, with the exception of very few points, in particular on a couple of bridges along which care must be taken in case of crossing other vehicles. Unfortunately, the road surface is not in the best conditions as on the Vercelli side and sometimes care must be taken in some stretches due to the dirty surface of gravel and earth. Much of the road, however, remains truly exciting to drive, in fact here too we find a very tortuous route where the succession of curves is very intense up to the pass.
The low altitude and geographical position obviously mean that the road, as on the other side, is surrounded by thick vegetation which in some points can obstruct the view, but without ever becoming a danger.
In our opinion
If you don't have to take your girlfriend to look at the landscape or to eat ice cream, this is the way to go for Driving with a capital G.
The scarce, if any, tourist interest means that it is not a very busy road, even if it remains a fairly used communication route between Valsesia and the VCO. But be careful, the continuous succession of curves means that if you find even just one car, it can be difficult to overtake.
The direction to choose in which to travel La Colma is difficult to recommend. Surely from Varallo to the Pass thanks to the better conditions of the surface it is the most "beautiful" stretch, even if on a road like this some depressions and a little gravel that you can find on the roadside on the east side will surely make you feel even more in a Special Stage.
To do? If you are in the area of course!