The Maloja Pass was part of an important Alpine crossing at the times of the Romans and led by Comum (Como) via the Maloja Pass, the Julier pass to the Rhine Valley to Chur and through Brigantium (Bregenz) towards Augusta Vindelicum (Augsburg). It is documented since the 16th century as a hiking transportation pass and was finally upgraded in 1839 to a driveway, used by wooden barrows.
The Maloja Pass is left over from the last ice age, as the retreating glaciers left behind basins by their heavy weight. The Maloja Pass is therefore strictly spoken only a half of a pass, since the other side of it just continues from its 1,800m level more with a gentle slope to the Engadine. The pass itself covers, coming up from the Bergell, up to 400m on altitude. The Upper Engadine, which is located directly behind Maloja with its Lake District, was created by receding glaciers and therefore shows a typical boat form.
The Lakes of Lej da San Murezzan, Lej da Silvaplana and Lej da Segl have been created probably from dead ice and are today subject of a massive erosion due to the rubble entry into the lakes by the steep slopes of the side hills. The Lakes, indicated by the ever-growing river deltas, are slowly filled with material from the mountains around.
The Bergell is the region which is still associated with Grisons county and does include the landscape area from Maloja down to the valley and to the Swiss - Italian border. Maloja was once the Maeinsaess (vacation flat ) of the peasants from the Bergell and therefore belongs still politically seen to the Bergell region. The Maloja Pass is the main connection between the Italian town of Chiavenna, north of Lake di Como and the Swiss Engadine with its industrial places Silvaplana and St. Moritz.
We start in Chiavenna with its original Italian flair at 325m altitude and follow the road east through the Val Bregaglia (Bergell) valley, on the left side of the small river Mera. Shortly after Chiavenna, we have already reached 697m altitude when we come across the little town Castasegna and the Swiss - Italian border. The road formerly led through Castasegn, a single lane and was controlled by a traffic light. In the meanwhile, this bottleneck was fixed by a ring road. But a short detour to the village is always worthwhile.
Until now, nothing reminds us riding on a pass road. The road runs slightly uphill to Castasegna with few curves. On the route from Chiavenna to Maloja Pass it will for sure happen that you pass by a well known and famous place, which is located just some miles after the border and named Villa Grotta of Ghiggi. This place is absolutely worth seeing and a bonanza for all who like specialties and good food that love the own stomach. From air-dried salamis to delicious red wine connoisseurs you can find everything here. But beware, some "bargains" may have no space left on your motorbike.