|Total ascent||400 m|
|Recommended bike||road, hybrid|
|Places to visit in the area||Spello, Assisi, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rivotorto, Villa Fidelia.|
This short and easy route, which starts from the high part of Spello, is suitable for all cyclists, takes in one of the most fascinating, well-known areas of Umbria, where the artistic and cultural heritage of the towns of Assisi and Spello blend perfectly with the interesting variety of landscape between the imposing peak of Monte Subasio and the Foligno plain.
Leave Spello through Porta Montanara, following the signs to Perugia, but without taking the uphill road towards Collepino and Monte Subasio. Taken Via poeta, and when you get to the first fork in the road, keep to your left, and 300 metres further on take the road to the right, called Via degli Ulivi. This is one of the most delightful sections of the route, as you cycle along a road half way up the mountainside for several kilometres, through a splendid olive grove (as the name of the road itself suggests). When you get to the crossroads at km. 3.3, cross over and continue along this road until you reach Capodacqua. When you get there, keep to the right, but do not take any of the several lanes dropping down into the valley on your right.
After 6.5 km. you come to Viole, where you then take the major SS147 road winding up towards Assisi, albeit not very steeply. Three kilometres further on you come to a roundabout just outside of the town of Assisi: turn left towards Santa Maria degli Angeli and the Basilica of St. Francis (if you wish to, you can carry straight on to the upper section of the town and then ride down to the centre, which is the perfect place for a rest). At km. 9.8, just after the large car park you will come to on your right, turn left and down the steep descent, across Via Francesca and into Via Salette, until you get to the junction with the main road, at km. 12.8. Turn left here and 400 metres further on you will come to the Basilica at Rivotorto. From here, continue straight on along the main road running alongside the dual carriageway, until you get to km. 15.5.
At km. 17 you ride through Capodacqua, and at km. 20 past Villa Fidelia, a marvellous 16th century villa to which a beautiful Italian garden was added in the 18th century. Another kilometre and a half further on brings you back to Spello: follow the signs to the town centre and ride back up to the starting point.
Spello’s medieval town centre also boasts numerous Roman remains, such as the theatre, the amphitheatre, the baths and the Arch of Augustus, an ancient gate leading into this former acropolis. The town’s holy buildings include the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (12th-13th century), featuring a number of important works of art: on the left-hand side of the nave you will see the splendid Baglioni chapel (cappella Baglioni), decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio, as well as paintings by Perugino and an ancient Deruta-tile floor. The splendid 16th century Villa Fidelia, situated just outside of Spello, was built on the former ancient Roman site of the Venus Temple, Theatre and Baths, and it houses a fine collection of paintings, sculptures and antiques. You cannot do this ride without visiting the wonderful town of Assisi and its Basilica of St. Francis, important symbols of Christianity and spirituality, both of which are described in more detail in the section on Route 23. You may also wish to visit the beautiful nearby Monte Subasio Regional Park and the Basilica of Rivotorto.