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Foligno and the way of the abbeys
Mountain bike

MTB 22 - Foligno and the way of the abbeys

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
700 m
Distance
26 km
This route starts from Porta Romana, in the heart of Foligno, and goes through the olive groves and woods of Monte Cologna, visiting or passing by many convents, abbeys and churches.
Start Foligno
Arrival Foligno
Distance 26 km
Height difference 700 m
Difficulty hard
Surface 60% dirt, 40% sealing
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
What to see Assisi, Spello, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Basilica di Rivotorto, Eremo delle Carceri, Parco Regionale del Monte Subasio.


The length of the trail doesn’t represent any particular difficulty, but there are two big climbs, the surface is often loose and stoney, and there are some rather difficult downhill stretches, making it a route suitable for fit bikers with good riding control.

Once outside the centre of Foligno, the trail goes to the San Bartolomeo convent, at km 3,8. Here it leaves the sealing and after a few metres, it begins the first climb of the day, that almost reaches the summit of mount Cologna. The first part of the climb goes through endless olive groves and is very steep, with stretches that have a grade of more than 15%. The second part of the climb is through a thick wood, and although it is not as steep, it is very hard going because of the stoney surface which may sometimes make dismounting necessary. The top of the climb is at km 11,5, where there is a fantastic view of Foligno and the whole Umbrian valley. 

The descent runs along loose surface requiring careful riding and at km 12,5 it arrives at the picturesque hilltop hamlet of Roviglieto, a place of battle during the Second World War. Here bikers can fill their water bottles and start the most enjoyable, but also most difficult, part of the route. Outside the village, the trail descends along a steep dirt road and soon after (km 13,7), it turns right along a narrow single track through the woods. Bikers must be careful here as the track is narrow and covered in vegetation.

Past the single track, the trail continues downhill before tackling the second climb along the trail (km 15,6), quite short, but rather tough. The climb ends at km 16,3 and begins to descend towards Foligno along dirt, then sealed road. The route then passes through Cancellara and goes close to Scandolaro, before leaving the sealing again at km 19,3, and running along a dirt road that returns to Carpello, then San Bartolomeo Convent, where it picks up the same road followed at the start of the trail.


Along the trail, or close to it, the church of Santa Maria in Campis, the convent of San Bartolomeo, the abbey of Sassovivo and the hermitage at Pale are worth a visit. The little villages of Scandolaro and Roviglieto, clinging to the hillside amongst the olive groves and woods, are very picturesque. Foligno is the third largest town in Umbria and its historical centre has many religious buildings and beautiful palaces: the Duomo, with its minor facade by the masters Rodolfo e Binello, the palazzo Comunale and the palazzo Trinci are an absolute must. A visit to the romanesque church of Santa Maria Infraportas, the church of San Salvatore and the former church of San Domenico, today an Auditorium, are also very worthwhile. The oratorio della Nunziatella, the church of San Francesco and the duomo di San Feliciano are also interesting.
 

Assisi, Spello and the steep slopes of Mt. Subasio
Mountain bike

MTB 21 - Assisi, Spello and the steep slopes of Mt. Subasio

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
1100 m
Distance
34,5
Cycling in the overwhelming beauty of the landscapes of the Regional Park of Mount Subasio, refreshed in body and soul by the suggestive atmospheres of fascinating villages such as Assisi and Spello.
Start Assisi
Arrival Assisi
Distance 34,5 km
Height difference 1100 m
Difficulty hard
Surface 60% dirt, 40% sealing
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
What to see Assisi, Spello, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Basilica di Rivotorto, Eremo delle Carceri, Parco Regionale del Monte Subasio.

 

This beautiful, but difficult, route starts in Piazza Matteotti, in the upper part of Assisi. The trail, which is just under 35km long, is distinguished by a hard, steep, climb up Mt. Subasio, where some stretches have grades of more than 20%, making the trail suitable only for the fittest bikers. Bikers wanting to partly “soften” the route can do it in the opposite direction: Mt Subasio still has to be climbed but from the Spello side, the climb is not as steep.

From Piazza Matteotti the trail turns right following the signs for Monte Subasio and after exiting from Porta Cappuccini immmediately starts to climb towards the summit (as the start is steep, it is advisable to warm up for a while, by visiting the centre of Assisi, for example). After 300m, just outside Porta Cappuccini, the trail leaves the sealed road and turns left onto path n.50: the first part of the climb is the hardest and may force some to dismount because of the steep grade and the rough surface. In less than 6 kilometres, the trail climbs up through shady woods to “Gli Stazzi,” almost at the summit: from here it comes out of the woods, crosses the sealed road and follows the dirt road that runs right across the side of the mountain.

At this stage the hardest part of the trail is over and the track that unwinds itself just below the peak of Subasio provides breathtaking views. From km 8,5 to km 12,5 the trail goes along an enjoyable single track before rejoining the dirt road that goes 5 kilometres downhill to Collepino (km17,4). Here, at the sealed road, it turns right downhill through olive groves towards Spello, where a visit to the town centre is a must. 

From Spello it turns right and at km 22,7 it turns right again into via degli Ulivi, which brings the trail to Capodacqua (km 25,9), where it leaves the sealed road again and tackles the second tough stretch of the route uphill through the olive groves to km 28,4. From here, the trail continues along a dirt road through hills and dales to km 30,3, then turns right at a crossroad, then left into via Borghettaccio. At km 30,8 it turns left again and returns to a sealed road that rejoins the main highway (km 33), climbing back up to the centre of Assisi after a turn to the right.


The beauty of the natural scenery along the trail, mainly inside the Parco Regionale del Monte Subasio, is a further attraction that should not be missed, with also the historical centre of Assisi, an absolute must recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the church of Santa Chiara, the convent of San Damiano and the wonderful church of San Francesco. Just outside the walls, dominating the town, is the superb Rocca Maggiore, rebuilt in 1367 by Cardinal Albornoz over a previous building (1174) that had been an ancient feudal castle. It is also worth visiting the historical centre of Spello, which has many medieval traits, but has also preserved many constructions from the time it was a Roman colony, such as the theatre, the amphitheatre, the baths and the so-called Arco di Augusto. Amongst the religious buildings, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (XII-XIII century), is important for its precious artistic treasures, such as frescoes by Pintoricchio and paintings by Perugino. Close to Spello is Villa Fidelia (XVI century), built on the site where the Temple of Venus, the Theatre and the Baths once stood.

Cascia: through fields and woods in the hills of Santa Rita
Mountain bike

MTB 20 - Cascia: through fields and woods in the hills of Santa Rita

Difficulty
Hard
Total Ascent
800 m
Distance
30 km
In the surroundings of the town of Cascia, on the south-eastern edge of the region, through one of the most mountainous and uncontaminated areas of Umbria, immersed in the regenerating atmosphere of the places of Santa Rita.
Start Cascia
Arrival Cascia
Distance 30 km
Height difference 800 metres
Difficulty hard
Surface 65% dirt, 35% sealing
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
What to see Cascia, Norcia, Roccaporena, Parco dei Monti Sibillini.


The route, which begins a few meters outside the center of Cascia can be divided into two parts: the first, which is nearly all uphill, goes to Forca di Civita (km 18,5); the second, entirely downhill, returns to the starting point. The total distance of 30 kilometres and the length of the climb (which has some very hard stretches) make the route difficult and therefore suitable only for really fit bikers. If some don’t mind walking, however, even less fit bikers can cover the route: the views they will discover will fully repay them for their efforts.

Leaving Cascia, the trail goes along the sealed road towards San Giorgio, and starts climbing immediately. At km 3,2, after a half-bend to the right, it leaves the sealing and turns right along a narrow mule track (be careful, as the turnoff is not visibile): from here one of the steepest parts of the climb begins, but it also provides a wonderful view of Cascia. The trail continues uphill, with a few flat or slightly downhill stretches that give bikers the chance to get their breaths back, until it reaches a flat area (known as Colonnetta) at km 9,9, where bikers can refresh at the spring on the right and admire the majesty of the Sibillini Mountains to the left.

It then continues along the first road to the left and keeps climbing until km 12,5, where it turns left along another dirt road and goes downhill for a few hundred metres. At the sealing, it turns right and starts climbing again, following the signs to Castel Santa Maria, arriving there at km 14,6. After the drinking fountain on the left it turns right and soon reaches the ruins of the magnificent Santa Maria della Neve church, destroyed by an eartquake in 1997, but still containing some interesting frescoes. From here it starts climbing again and once back on the sealed road it soon arrives at the Forca di Civita pass (km 18,5), the highest and the most panoramic spot of the trail. Here it runs right onto dirt road, then immediately left down the fast dirt descent through the woods towards Cascia. The descent is not particularly difficult, but can be plenty of fun for expert bikers who can get up some really high speed.

At km 23 the trail goes through the village of Colmotino, then turns left along the sealed road for a few kilometres before leaving it again at km 25,1 near Tazzo, and turning right along a difficult dirt track (at Tazzo, those who wish can go straight ahead and return to Cascia along the sealed road). At the end of the difficult track the trail turns left and soon returns to the sealed road and the starting point.


Along this route, lying on the hill S. Agostino and surrounded by reliefs that go down to the river Corno, the village of Cascia will conquer you. The most important cultural and artistic centre in the area is certainly represented by the town of Cascia. Known throughout the world as the town of Santa Rita, Cascia is a religous centre rich in mysticism and spirituality, offering artistic jewels such as the church of San Francesco, a splendid example of gothic architecture, the church of Sant‘ Antonio Abate, founded in the 15th century then rebuilt and altered in Baroque style, the collegiata di Santa Maria, the church of Sant’Agostino, at the top of the hill near the Rocca. To see also the Communal Museum of Santi Palace and Carli Palace. Nearby, it is worth visiting Roccaporena, which has a rich heritage of places recalling Santa Rita, such as the house where she lived, the garden of miracles, the rock and the rose garden, and the villa di San Silvestro (Chiavano plateau), which has ruins of a pagan temple (II century B.C.). The splendid mountains and the untouched natural beauty of the nearby Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini can also be enjoyed in this area.

Lake Corbara and the woods of Monte Peglia
Mountain bike

MTB 19 - Lake Corbara and the woods of Monte Peglia

Difficoltà
Difficile
Dislivello
1000 m
Distanza
40,5 km
Oltre le bellezze di Orvieto, in un itinerario nel Parco Fluviale del Tevere, alla scoperta dei suoi tesori naturalistici racchiusi tra il lago di Corbara e i fitti boschi che ricoprono le pendici del Monte Peglia.

Partenza e arrivo: Orvieto
Distanza: 40,5 km
Dislivello: 1.000 metri
Difficoltà: difficile
Fondo stradale: 45% sterrato, 55% asfalto
Da vedere in zona: Orvieto, Corbara, Lago di Corbara, Monte Peglia.

Questo itinerario parte dal parcheggio antistante la funicolare che da Orvieto Scalo conduce a Orvieto centro, a pochi metri dalla stazione ferroviaria. Una vicinanza che consente di optare anche per la soluzione treno+bici.  Il percorso è abbastanza scorrevole, poiché non presenta tratti particolarmente tecnici o sconnessi, ma il chilometraggio elevato (40 chilometri) e la presenza di due salite impegnative lo includono negli itinerari di livello difficile. 

Partendo dal parcheggio della funicolare, come accennato, si supera il sottopassaggio dell'autostrada per dirigersi verso Ciconia. Alla prima rotonda proseguite verso il Monte Peglia, mentre al chilometro 1,3 girate a destra verso Corbara. Affrontati alcuni saliscendi su asfalto fino al chilometro 5,5, girate a sinistra su uno sterrato ben battuto ed iniziate la prima vera salita, lungo la quale si può godere di belle visuali su Orvieto. La salita termina al chilometro 9,4, girando a destra ed imboccando una veloce discesa che termina al chilometro 13, in corrispondenza della strada asfaltata. Girate a sinistra, superate il piccolo borgo di Corbara e proseguite diritti costeggiando il lago per diversi chilometri. 

Tornate sullo sterrato solo al chilometro 19,3, svoltate a sinistra ed iniziate la seconda salita del percorso, che vede nelle prime rampe proprio il tratto più impegnativo ma che vi introduce alla parte più bella e suggestiva dell’itinerario, giungendo al borgo disabitato di Osa al chilometro 21. Da qui, proseguite ancora in leggera salita tra i boschi, attraversando panorami davvero impareggiabili.

Al chilometro 26 si torna sull’asfalto: girate a sinistra. Poi, in circa 3 chilometri si arriva a Colonnetta, da dove si inizia a scendere. Al chilometro 29,7 abbandonate l'asfalto e imboccate un veloce sterrato che vi porta rapidamente verso valle. La discesa è intervallata da alcuni brevi tratti di asfalto e da brevi ma impegnativi strappetti. Alcuni punti permettono di osservare Orvieto e distinguere all'orizzonte il profilo del Duomo. Qui, prima di tornare al punto di partenza, una sosta per ammirare il panorama è d'obbligo. Terminata la discesa, si torna al punto di partenza in meno di 2 chilometri seguendo le indicazioni per Orvieto.



Questo percorso vi porta attraverso alcune delle innumerevoli bellezze artistiche e naturalistiche dell’Umbria. Scegliendo questo itinerario infatti, potreste scoprire in primo luogo il centro storico di Orvieto e magari la suggestiva Orvieto sotterranea, vero e proprio labirinto di cunicoli, gallerie, cisterne, pozzi, cave e cantine. In secondo luogo, potrete apprezzare il lago di Corbara e le sue innumerevoli bellezze naturalistiche, tra cui le Gole del Forello, dove il Tevere che si insinua tra alte pareti rocciose di travertino crea scenari stupendi. Infine, da non perdere i fitti boschi ed i panorami che si possono godere dai colli dell'Umbria centrale, ed in particolare dalle pendici del Monte Peglia, da dove si può ammirare una splendida visuale su tutta la regione.

Along the shores of lake Trasimeno between Castiglione and Tuoro
Mountain bike

MTB 02 - Along the shores of lake Trasimeno between Castiglione and Tuoro

Grade
Easy
Total ascent
180 m
Distance
32 km
Everyone can do these even without fork suspension, as they are fairly short, mainly along the flat or with easy climbs, and do not require any special technical abilities
Starting point Castiglione del Lago
Finishing point Castiglione del Lago
Distance 32 km (21 on the shorter alternative)
Total ascent 180 meters
Grade easy
Road surface 65% dirt, 35% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Castiglione del Lago, Tuoro, Lake Trasimeno.

 

Although this route is not short, it is quite flat, so it can be classified as easy and suitable for everyone. At Borghetto, there is an alternative route that cuts the distance to 21 kms.

The first part of the trail, just a few kilometres from the shores of the lake, alternates sealed and dirt surfaces across the plain between Castiglione and Cortona, but the second part (mainly along dirt tracks) is more spectacular as it goes along the Trasimeno cycling track, which runs just a few metres from the lake through thick vegetation with many wooden bridges.

The start is at the sports centre in Castiglione, a town worth well worth visiting on return. Following the lakeside drive, leave Castiglione following the signs for Pozzuolo and Piana, and after about 6,5 kms, turn right off the sealed road into a series of wide dirt roads.

After 11,5 kms, the route returns to SS 71 along sealed road and stays on it for about 2 kms before turning right towards Borghetto. From the village, it goes straight ahead over the level crossing, then up a short climb and to the right into a dirt road through the olive trees where there is a good view of the lake. 
At the end of the climb, it turns right, then right again and starts descending along a dirt road. Past a farmhouse and through the tunnel under the highway, in less than 2 kms it returns to the Trasimeno cycling track. After 22,5 kms, it briefly returns to the sealed road and goes back through the village of Borghetto. 

After 24,2 kms, it turns left towards Camping la Badiaccia, then to the cycling track that returns to Castiglione del Lago along the shores of the lake through thick vegetation and beautiful views.

 


The area around Lake Trasimeno, whose 128 kmq make it the fourth biggest lake in Italy. It is protected as a Regional Park and its circular shape nestling amongst cultivated plains and rolling hills covered in olive groves is has a natural beauty much sought after by foreign tourists. 
The historical centre of Castiglione del Lago, with its medieval walls and three gateways, is worth a thorough visit, also because it has a wonderful view of the lake. Inside the town are the Rocca del Leone, a pentagonal fortress from medieval times representing one o f the best examples of military architecture in the area, and the Palazzo della Corgna, an elegant renaissance aristocratic residence built by Ascanio della Corgna in 1560 to plans created by Vignola, also known as Galeazzo Alessi. At Tuoro, on the shores of the lake, it is worthwhile following the historical “Battle of Trasimeno” route, which recreates the most important stages of the defeat of the Roman army by Hannibal’s Carthaginian troops in 217 BC.

Orvieto and the badlands
Mountain bike

MTB 05 - Orvieto and the badlands

Grade
Easy
Total ascent
400 m
Distance
27 km
Everyone can do these even without fork suspension , as they are fairly short, mainly along the flat or with easy climbs, and do not require any special technical abilities.
Starting point Orvieto
Finishing point Orvieto
Distance 27 km
Total ascent 400 meters
Grade easy
Road surface 95% dirt, 5% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Orvieto, Paglia river.

 

The route starts below Orvieto, at the car park near the cablecar that runs up to the centre of the town in a few minutes. The route is almost entirely along easy dirt roads, apart from a short sealed stretch near Castello della Sala and a rather difficult descent just after going through the impressive badlands scenery, which can be done on foot by less expert bikers. Altogether, however, it is a rather easy itinerary. For the first few kilometres, the trail runs along the Paglia river and is completely flat. The first uphill stretch, after about 9 kms, is about 100m long but after turning right, it immediately starts descending through shady fields and woods towards the hills.

The only climb along the trail starts after 11 kms and ends 2 kms later, just past the Chiesa della Sala, where there is a magnificent view of the valley below and the Castello della Sala vineyards. Here the trail turns right and goes uphill for a few hundred metres along sealed road until it turns right again (km13,4) and starts the first downhill run through beautiful vineyards to the fascinating badlands area (photo on opposite page).

Past these incredible clay formations is an old ruined farmhouse where the trail turns left and tackles the most technical part of the descent. Soon after, past a field (km 16,3), there is a sharp turn to the right where the steepest downhill stretch begins, where less expert bikers should dismount per a few metres to avoid unpleasant surprises.

The descent ends at km 16,7 and returns along the mule track used on the outgoing ride, about a kilometre before the start of the climb. Here, it turns left and goes back along the dirt road used at the start.

 


From the starting point, take the cablecar to the centre of Orvieto, one of the most famous towns in Umbria. In particular, amongst the most beautiful buildings, see the Duomo, designed by Lorenzo Maitani (XIII century), the churches of San Giovenale, San Giovanni, Sant’Andrea, San Lorenzo de’ Arari, San Francesco (XIII century) and the church of San Domenico (XIII century).


Amongst the most important public buildings, see the palazzo Comunale, the palazzo del Popolo, the palazzo dei Sette and the Luigi Mancinelli theatre. Don’t miss San Patrizio’s well, an engineering masterpiece going 62 metres down, formed by two independent spiralling staircases that made it possible to descend the well to get water without ever meeting anyone coming up. Under the town is the suggestive underground Orvieto, where an incredible number of artificial cavities have created a labyrinth of holes, tunnels cisterns, wells, quarries and cellars. Wonderful views of the town, the Castello della Sala (photo above) and the huge surrounding vineyards can be enjoyed along the trail. Further away, the route through the badlands also provides fascinating scenery.

Monte Malbe
Mountain bike

MTB 08 - Corciano and the woods of Monte Malbe

Grade
Medium
Total ascent
680 m
Distance
21,3 km
The route starts from the medieval village of Corciano and for most of the way it winds through the woods of Monte Malbe, where there are beautiful views over the surrounding countryside, Perugia included
Starting point Corciano
Finishing point Corciano
Distance 21,3 km
Total ascent 680 meters
Grade medium
Road surface 45% dirt, 55% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Corciano, Pieve del Vescovo, Villa Oscano, Capocavallo, Monte Malbe.

 

Although the trail is not very long, it is of medium difficulty because of the steep climb from Capocavallo to Monte Malbe and Colle della Trinità, over 600m high.

The start is from the carpark just outside the walls of Corciano. From here, the trail descends towards Ellera. At the next crossroads (Km1,3), it turns left towards Umbertide and continues to descend. It then goes straight ahead to km 6,4 where it turns right at the roundabout into a dirt road. Later, it returns to the sealed road and turns left at km 7,7 towards Capocavallo, and starts to climb, becoming a dirt road after about a kilometre.

The uphill road goes to the Capuccini convent (Km11,5), where an easy, enjoyable single track leads out of the woods to the start of another uphill stretch on dirt road. After a series of rather tough hills and dales, the trail arrives at Colle della Trinità, the highest point of the route. It then enters the Colle della Trinità Park before descending the sealed road back to Corciano. After the SP 172 turnoff, it is only one gentle kilometre uphill back to the starting point.


The small medieval village of Corciano (photo below) with its labyrinth of streets, alleys, towers and steps inside the high surounding walls. In the centre of the village it is worth seeing the tower of Porta S. Maria, piazza Coragino, where there is a nice 16th century well, the palazzo comunale and the palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, the parish church of S. Maria Assunta, which contains a painting of the Assunta by Perugino (1513) and the Gonfalone by Benedetto Bonfigli painted in 1472. A kilometre from Corciano, it is worth visiting Castello di Pieve del Vescovo, a square, fortified castle with an inner courtyard and four corner towers. It was built around the XIII century, but was transformed into an noble residence between 1560 and 1570. The woodlands at Monte Malbe, rising above the village of Corciano, are an excellent place to see views of Monte Tezio and Perugia. The walled villages of San Mariano, Solomeo, Chiugiana, Mantignana, Miginana e Capocavallo, all just a few kilometres from each other, have kept their original aspect and are worth a visit.

 

From Umbertide to Montone along the Tiber river
Mountain bike

MTB 09 - From Umbertide to Montone along the Tiber river

Grade
Medium
Total ascent
450 m
Distance
26 km
The route starts from the centre of Umbertide and after going a few kilometres up the Tiber river, it goes towards the hills to Montone, an attractive hilltop village belonging to the “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy” club
Starting point Umbertide
Finishing point Umbertide
Distance 26 km
Total ascent 450 meters
Grade medium
Road surface 50% dirt, 50% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Umbertide, Montone, Fiume Tevere, Eremo di Montecorona, Rocca d'Aries.

 

The trail can be considered an extension of the route from Ponte to Umbertide and is graded medium because of various hills and dales and the climb to the centre of Montone. Apart from one particularly steep stretch, most of the trail is easy and even the least well trained cyclists can finish it if they are little patient

Starting from Piazza Mazzini the trail goes towards the Tiber river then follows a dirt road up the valley towards Montone. It follows the Tiber for about three kilometres before turning inland at km5,5 to the main road between Montone and Umbertide. From here, it turns left, then right at km 5,8 along a country lane to San Lorenzo. At km 6,2, it leaves the sealing and goes along a dirt track in the middle of the fields where there is a good view on the left of Montone. 

At km 10, after a short climb, it goes along a sealed lane which returns to the main road (km 11,5) after a short descent. After crossing the road (beware of traffic), it enters another dirt road and climbs towards Montone: this is the most difficult part of the trail, because the last few metres are very steep and will force less expert bikers to dismount.

Back on the sealing (km 12,3), the climb is gentler, and in less than a kilometre the trail reaches Montone, where the beautiful historical centre and views of the valleys below make a visit well worthwhile. From here the trail descends towards Umbertide, meeting the dirt road again at km 18,7 after turning right at a bend to the left.

From here, the trail returns to the Tiber (km23) through a labyrinth of sealed and unsealed lanes through flat land. It then returns along the first part of the route back to Piazza Mazzini, which is close to the Rocca and the town centre.


As well as the historical centre of Umbertide with its superb medieval Rocca, already mentioned in Trail n.4, seeing the walled village of Montone, is a must. The church of San Francesco (XIV century), which has a polygonal apse and nave, is the most important building in the town. In the historical centre is also the former convent of Santa Caterina, now hosting the town’s historical archives (archivio Storico Comunale), amongst the most important in Umbria for its rich heritage of documents. Another important religious building is the pieve di San Gregorio, the oldest church in Montone, constructed in romanesque-byzantine style in about 1000 a.d. Just outside Montone is the Rocca d’Aries, an imposing castle that has been recently restored. Not far from Umbertide is the Civitella Ranieri castle, also worth a visit. The natural scenery around the Tiber river and the wood-covered hills is also beautiful to see.

 

Around Monte Tezio, close to Perugia
Mountain bike

MTB 10 - Around Monte Tezio, close to Perugia

Grade
Medium
Total ascent
670 m
Distance
25 km
The route starts at the church at Cenerente, just a few kilometres from the centre of Perugia, then winds itself around Monte Tezio, where there are wonderful views of the valleys below.
Starting point Cenerente (Perugia)
Finishing point Cenerente (Perugia)
Distance 25 km
Total ascent 670 meters
Grade medium
Road surface 60% dirt, 40% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Corciano, Perugia, Antognolla, Monte Tezio Park.

 

There are no really steep stretches, but the long climb from Migiana di Monte Tezio must be added to the many ups and downs along the whole way, making it rather hard. The distance is suitable for everyone, however.

Starting from the church at Cenerente , the trail goes along sealed road towards Migiana di Monte Tezio (photo below right), then past Oscano castle and after about 1,5kms, it begins to climb gently. It continues uphill along sealed road until km5,6, where it turns left onto the dirt road that goes to Migiana di Monte Tezio, a beautiful natural balcony at km 7,5. 

From here, it goes along the hillside though the woods for several kilometres, keeping left until km 11, when a steep descent to the sealed road below Antognolla castle begins (watch out for the chain across the road).

Here it turns left along the heavily trafficked SP169 road for about a kilometre, then, at San Giovanni del Pantano, it turns left again onto another dirt road uphill towards Pieve Pietroia. It continues for a few kilometres along the hillside, with several steep uphill stretches, to the Monte Tezio Park (km 18,2), another great lookout point. From here, the fittest bikers can continue climbing up to the left, along the marked tracks to the summit, while this route crosses the highest part of the carpark to the dirt track on the left that goes to the start of the descent. At km 19,6, in the middle of the descent, the trail turns sharp left then continues downhill. Close to a group of houses it turns right downhill again until it meets the sealed road at km 23. Here it turns right and in two kilometres it returns to the starting point.


The Monte Tezio Park (961 metres a.s.l.), about 10 kilometres north of Perugia and covering about 135 ha. The park borders with Corciano, Perugia and Umbertide territories and the hillsides are covered with various kinds of oaks and conifers. From Monte Tezio there is a beautiful view of the Tiber valley on one side and of Monte Acuto and Castel Rigone on the other. The little village of Capocavallo, clinging to the hillside, was first a villa then a fortified castle from the XV century. The bell tower has an unusual rococò style. Parts of the walls and a gateway are still visible.

 

La Romana, the Mills at Galgata and the abbey of Montelabate
Mountain bike

MTB 11 - La Romana, the Mills at Galgata and the abbey of Montelabate

Grade
Medium-hard
Total ascent
700 m
Distance
29,5 km
The route starts at Ramazzano, along the SP 175 Tiberina Nord, and travels through the North-East of Perugia, through the hills and woods that separate it from Gubbio.
Starting point Ramazzano le Pulci
Finishing point Ramazzano le Pulci
Distance 29,5 km
Total ascent 700 meters
Grade medium-hard
Road surface 65% dirt, 35% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Perugia, Civitella Benazzone, abbey di Montelabate, Mills of Galgata.

 

The route starts at Ramazzano, along the SP 175 Tiberina Nord, and travels through the North-East of Perugia, through the hills and woods that separate it from Gubbio. The trail is 29,5 kilometres long and has two main climbs (one is long, suitable for riding, the other is short, but very steep), making it possible to classify it as a medium-hard variation to route n.3, which goes from Perugia up the Tiber valley to Ponte Pattoli, passing close by Ramazzano

From Ramazzano the trail follows the SP 175 towards Casa del Diavolo and turns right at the first crossroad (km 1,2) towards Piccione and Montelabate. At km 2,9 it turns left and starts climbing towards the beautiful Abbey of Montelabate, at km 5,1. From here it goes uphill along path n. 202 to Belvedere, where the climb and the dirt track end at km 11,2.

The trail continues along the SS 298 for a few metres (beware of the traffic) then turns left at km 11,8 down another dirt road. It continues straight ahead for a few kilometres, but by turning right towards Biscina, bikers can pick up the “Cammino Francescano della Pace Assisi-La Verna” (St. Francis’ Way from Assisi to La Verna).

Pedalate per pochi metri sulla SS 298, prestando attenzione al traffico, e al chilometro 11,8 svoltate a sinistra imboccando un nuovo sterrato in discesa. Qui, proseguendo diritti per qualche chilometro e poi svoltando a destra in direzione di Biscina, ci si può immettere anche sulla Via di Francesco, altrimenti iniziate la discesa tenendo sempre la sinistra e seguendo le indicazioni per Galgata, fino a raggiungere Molino di Galgata, località nel territorio di Gubbio, da osservare sulla destra proprio sul fondo valle.

The trail decends to the left following the signs to Galgata, which is on the right at the bottom of the valley. The second climb of the trail starts here: it is less than a kilometre but has a very steep grade of up to 20%, obliging less trained bikers to dismount. At the end of the steepest stretch (km 16,6), the trail goes left to the main dirt road for several kilometres along dips and rises.

After the woods, the castle of Civitella Benazzone can be seen to the left, and at km 24,9 the trail returns to the Abbazia di Montelabate, where the dirt track ends.. From here, it turns right and returns to Ramazzano along the same route followed at the start.
 


The centre of Perugia, just a few kilometres away, already described in the route starting from Ponte S. Giovanni. The most important building to be seen in the area is the abbey of Santa Maria di Valdiponte (better known as the abbazia di Montelabate, photo on left). This is a Benedictine monastery north of Perugia, founded between the IX and the X centuries. The monastery reached the height of its importance in the XI and XII centuries when it expanded its possessions and increased its hegemony over a vast area. After the XVI century it began a long period of decline which ended with the closure of the monastery in 1859-60. The monastery currently belongs to the Fondazione Gaslini of Genoa. The small fortified village of Civitella Benazzone, is also worth seeing along the way, but it is the natural beauty of the area that dominates the trail.

The Sagrantino wine trail and the views from Montefalco
Mountain bike

MTB 12 - The Sagrantino wine trail and the views from Montefalco

Grade
Medium
Total ascent
650 m
Distance
24,5 km
This medium level route discovers the attractions of the town centre, and also the beauties of the surrounding countryside with its gentle hills, olive groves and vineyards, where the best of wines can be tasted.
Starting point Montefalco
Finishing point Montefalco
Distance 24,5 km
Total ascent 650 meters
Grade medium
Road surface 60% dirt, 40% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Montefalco, Fabbri, Trevi, Bevagna, Giano dell’Umbria, Madonna della Stella.

 

The trail is almost entirely along sealed and wide dirt roads, with only one short, difficult, rough stretch. The climbs are not particularly long or steep, but the succession of hills and dales make it hard for anyone who is not really fit

Leaving the historical centre, the trail descends towards Camiano and continues downhill to km 2,4, where it turns right into a wide dirt road towards Fabbri. Here, it turns right just before the cemetery and continues to just below Turrita along a pretty country road amongst the grapevines. It returns to the sealing at km 7,6 then turns left, then right after 600m up the sealed road to Turrita. It continues straight ahead from here for a few kilometres, crosses the main road towards Cortagnone, then returns to dirt road at km 10,3. This is where the prettiest part of the trail begins, along a rolling dirt road (photo on left) over vine-clad hills where the eye can roam from the Martani hills to Montefalco

At km 15,5, it turns off the main dirt road to the right, first downhill, then up a rather steep climb. At the sealed road it turns right towards Casale, then left at the church along another downhill dirt road (here, less expert bikers can continue straight ahead and return to Montefalco following the road signs). This is the most difficult, rough part of the trail, but it can be tackled by less expert bikers if they are careful enough. At the end of the descent, after a short run through thick vegetation, it returns back uphill to meet the sealed road at km 19,5, close to Pietrauta. From here it goes straight back to Montefalco, or alternatively, it can be extended along a couple of dirt tracks to Montepennino, before returning outside the walls of Montefalco.


Montefalco, famous for its Sagrantino wine and the beautiful views that have given it the name of “la ringhiera dell’Umbria” (the balcony of Umbria). Amongst the buildings worth visiting are the church of San Francesco, the Pinacoteca, with works by Francesco Melanzio, Antoniazzo Romano and paintings from the Umbrian school between the 14th and 18th centuries, and the crypt with archeological findings and other sculptures. The village is still enclosed by its 13th century walls and is dominated by the church of Sant’Agostino, built, together with its convent, in the second half of the 13th century. A few kilometres from Montefalco is Foligno, third largest town of Umbria, which has beautiful buildings such as the Duomo, the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Infraportas, the church of San Salvatore, the ex- church of San Domenico and the Nunziatella oratory. Along the trail there are magnificent views of the valleys below and many vineyards where bikers can stop to taste wine and other local products.

From Paciano to Città della Pieve over Monte Pausillo
Mountain bike

MTB 14 - From Paciano to Città della Pieve over Monte Pausillo

Grade
Hard
Total ascent
850 m
Distance
33 km
In the extreme western part of Umbria, through villages of great interest such as Paciano, Città della Pieve and Panicale, in a gratifying itinerary from the naturalistic, artistic and cultural point of view.
Starting point Paciano
Finishing point Paciano
Distance 33 km
Total ascent 850 meters
Grade hard
Road surface 70% dirt, 30% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Paciano, Città della Pieve, Panicale, Monte Pausillo.

 

It can be classified as medium-hard because of its height difference and its distance. The start is from the centre of Paciano in Piazza della Repubblica, where the trail descends downhill. Leaving the sealed road, it turns into a dirt road which goes under the railway and the main highway before returning to the sealed road below Villastrada.

It continues straight ahead up the short climb towards the “Le Coste” estate and after a quick descent, it meets the SS 71 at km 11,1 where it turns right towards Chiusi. The trail soon leaves the main road (km 11,4) and turns left up the first climb of the route: a wonderful dirt road first through the woods, then through fields and grapevines to San Litardo, where it picks up the SS 71 Nord and continues its climb towards Città della Pieve.

At Città della Pieve, a town of etrusco-roman origins, it is worth stopping at km 18,5 for a visit to the historical centre. From here the trail goes towards the sports ground and continues along a rather uneven dirt road after the sealing ends. At the bottom of the descent, it goes along a narrow valley until it crosses over the SP309 (km 24), into the dirt road on the other side and begins the second, hardest climb of the route.

The first 200 metres are very steep and rocky and may cause bikers to dismount, but the rest is not as rough. It continues through the woods for several kilometres, but towards the summit, the forest opens out onto breath-taking views that can reach as far as Mt. Abetone on clear days. The climb ends just a few metres from the top of Mt. Pausillo (km 29,5) where the trail start descending towards Paciano, a technical stretch to be covered with particular attention. 

After the first few meters, turn right and climb briefly, take the narrow single track on the left inside the pine forest. Just outside the pine forest, turn left and resume the main dirt road that in a few kilometers takes you back to the center of Paciano.


Along the way, enjoy the regenerating power of the woods of Mount Pausillo, taking advantage of the wonderful views that open up on Lake Trasimeno and all the surrounding valleys, with a view that reaches up to Mount Amiata and that, on clear days, also embraces the Abetone. The villages crossed by the itinerary are also worth a visit. The historical center of Paciano, for example, is among the most beautiful villages in Italy for the remarkable environmental and artistic heritage, is enclosed in a fourteenth-century walls with towers and three gates and stands in an area rich in forests of oak and chestnut trees. The medieval village of Panicale is instead lying on the hills of Lake Trasimeno where you can enjoy beautiful views of the lake landscape and the valley of Nestore. Inside the country worthy of note are the Palazzo del Popolo, the Collegiate Church of San Michele, the complex of San Sebastiano and the Cesare Caporali Theater. Not to be missed is Città della Pieve: ancient Etruscan-Roman center, it has kept intact most of its ancient structure. Between the buildings of greater merit there are the Dome, that preserve the works of two great painters, the Perugino and the Pomarancio; the church of Saint Maria of the Whites, where the extraordinary Adoration of the Magi of the Perugino is found; the Fortress (1326), with five towers; the palace of the Corgna (XVI century); Bandini palace (XVI century); palace of the Fargna (XVIII century), center of the Common one, and Baglioni palace, of the XVIII century.

Spoleto and the Bosco Sacro (sacred wood) of Monteluco
Mountain bike

MTB 16 - Spoleto and the Bosco Sacro (sacred wood) of Monteluco

Grade
Hard
Total ascent
1080 m
Distance
25 km
A dense network of dirt roads, paths and challenging single track immersed in an extremely varied natural environment: unmissable and extraordinary beauty along an ideal itinerary for MTB and trekking lovers.
Starting point Monteluco of Spoleto
Finishing point Monteluco of Spoleto
Distance 25 km
Total ascent 1.080 meters
Grade hard
Road surface 70% dirt, 30% sealed
Recommended bike MTB, E-MTB
Places to visit in the area Spoleto, Monteluco, Convent of St Francis, Bosco Sacro (sacred wood).

 

This route is challenging because of its height differences, difficult descents and rough stretches, requiring care and expert biking. Also, much attention must be paid to people walking along the tracks and cross-country motorbikers who may be coming uphill on the descent from Patrico to Spoleto.

The trail starts from the Convent of St. Francis and descends towards the Monteluco meadows, where it turns right into path n.1, which soon becomes an enjoyable single track through the woods, which is also the Via of Francesco (“Via di Roma”) walking route. At km 1,3 it leaves the woods and turns left onto a sealed road uphill: this where the climb to Patrico begins and it is the only lengthy stretch of sealed surface along the trail. 

It reaches Patrico at km 6,7, then passes amongst the houses and past the Agriturismo Batoli, starting a steep, rough descent along path n.6 (be careful, as the turnoff is not easy to see). The first part of the descent, full of rocks and very stoney stretches, is very difficult and requires care. Only after km 11,3, where it leaves path n.6 and follows the righthand dirt road, it becomes easier and more relaxing to bike along.

It reaches the bottom of the hill at km 13,8, where it turns right onto the sealing, then immediately right again uphill to Monteluco. At km 15,4 the trail leaves the sealing again and enters a narrow single track (be careful of the drop on the left) that goes to Ponte delle Torri, where those who want to, can reach the centre of Spoleto in a few metres. It continues along the single track following indications for path n.3 , which gives a wonderful view over the Ponte delle Torri, the Rocca Albornoziana and the centre of Spoleto.

At km 17,2 it turns right, staying on path n. 3, which then becomes steeper as it goes through lush vegetation. At km 19,6 it turns off path n. 3 to the right and follows the indications for mtb trail n.4 (orange arrows), beginning the roughest and most difficult part of the route. At first there is a very steep dirt track, then a narrow, steep single track covered in vegetation that requires dismounting in several places. It opens out at km 21,8 onto the sealed road between Patrico and Monteluco, where it returns to the start along the same route.


Monteluco, covered in thick woods, is of great scenic interest and provides beautiful views of the surrounding areas, from the Umbrian plain to Valnerina. Monteluco is also spiritually important because of the Convent of St. Francis and the Sacred Wood, 8 kilometers far from Monteluco, an area with a thick forest of evergreen oaks. The historical centre of Spoleto, one of the most beautiful towns in central Italy, which has both visibile Roman remains and an intact medieval layout. One of the most beautiful town in the Middle of Italy is the “Città dei due Mondi” (City of Two Worlds), which retains obvious influences of Roman times, while maintaining intact the structure of the medieval era. The most important monument is is the Duomo, but the churches of Sant’Eufemia and Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the abbey of San Ponziano, the churches of San Domenico and San Nicolò and the palazzo Comunale are also interesting.[Ritorno a capo del testo]The church of San Paolo Inter Vineas (X century), which contains an important series of frescoes from the XIII century, and the church of San Pietro are also well worth visiting. Dominating the town and the superb Ponte delle Torri (aqueduct) is the imposing Rocca Albornoziana (Albornoz castle), whose construction was begun in 1352.

From Orvieto around Lake Corbara to Todi
Road bike

ROUTE 30 - From Orvieto around Lake Corbara to Todi

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
2000 m
Distance
87 km
On the hills that overhang the artificial basin of Corbara, crossing two cities of art of world importance as Orvieto and Todi, immersed in sceneries and landscapes of great naturalistic interest.
Start Orvieto
Arrival Orvieto
Distance 87 km
Total ascent 2000 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recommended bike road, hybrid
Places to visit in the area Orvieto, Todi, Civitella del Lago, Baschi, Lago di Corbara.

 
In this route there are a number of climbs involved, and as such is only really for experienced, fit cyclists, given the length (90 km.) and the total ascent (2,000 metres) of the route. The starting point is in front of the church in Ciconia, beneath the ridge on which the town of Orvieto stands. From here, you start off by riding in the direction of Todi and Monte Peglia. 

The first climb of the day, up to Colonetta di Prodo, comes a mere 1.5 km. from the start: this 8 km. climb, offering magnificent views, first of Orvieto and then of Lake Corbara, is not particularly steep. After 4 kilometres of descent, the road starts to climb once again, past the village of Prodo, up to a height of 616 metres, midst a completely natural setting, a long way from any traffic or noise. This point marks the beginning of the descent down into the Tiber Valley, which eventually leads to the junction with the SS448 (km. 37.5), where you turn left towards Todi.

A mere 300 metres along this road, and you turn off to your right, still in the direction of Todi, and start to climb up towards the centre of the town. At km. 40.5, turn right towards Fiori and Izzalini, although if you wish you can continue straight on towards Todi town centre (one km. further on), one of Umbria’s most famous cities of art and as such well worth a visit

At the end of the descent (km. 43) continue towards Fiori and Izzalini, and then towards Montecchio and Civitella del Lago: past Izzalini the road starts to climb, and this climb, albeit with the occasional short downhill section, is more than 15 kilometres long, and takes you up to a height of 740 metres (at km. 61). At this point, turn right and begin the descent down to Civitella del Lago, a fascinating little town famous for its panoramic position overlooking Lake Corbara

Once you have visited the centre of Civitella, you can resume the descent in the direction of the Lake and Orvieto. When you get to the lakeshore, at the junction with the SS448, turn left in the direction of Orvieto.

At km. 75, past the dam, turn off the main road to your right towards the small village of Corbara (which the lake is named after) and ride along beneath the dam itself. When you get to Corbara, bear left towards Orvieto, and a small, quiet country road will take you the 10 kilometres or so back to Ciconia. Once back at the starting point, Ciconia, you can then visit Orvieto going up to the town centre. Orvieto is famous throughout the world for its Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Well and a whole range of other artistic and architectural treasures.


Orvieto is one of the most famous towns in the centre of Italy, renowned for its vast artistic and cultural heritage. The town’s most interesting and most beautiful buildings include: the 13th century Cathedral, one of the most impressive achievements of Italian architecture; the Church of San Giovenale, the Church of San Giovanni, the Church of Sant’Andrea, the Church of San Lorenzo de’Arari, and the thirteenth-century churches of San Francesco and San Domenico. The town’s most famous public buildings include the Town Hall (Palazzo Comunale), the Palazzo del Popolo, the Palazzo dei Sette, and the Luigi Mancinelli Municipal Theatre. Another very famous and unique feature of the town is St. Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio), a masterpiece of engineering some 62 metres deep, featuring two separate helicoidal ladders which descend to the bottom of the well, so that those persons bringing water up to the surface could do so without encountering those going down. Beneath the town lies another reality: Subterranean Orvieto, consisting of an incredibly complex labyrinth of passages, tunnels and cellars dug out of the rock. If you go just outside of the town walls you can visit the Etruscan necropolis entitled the Tufo Crucifix, dating from the 4th/5th century BC, with chamber tombs built out of blocks of tufo rock. Other places of interesting along the route include the ancient villages of Prodo, Montecchio, Baschi and, above all, Civitella del Lago, famous for its delightfully panaoramic position overlooking Lake Corbara. Then there is the Forello Gorge (Gole del Forello), and at Scoppieto there is even a Roman ceramic factory dating from the 1st century AD, which at the time was an important site for the production of terracotta products, which could be subsequently transported towards the Mediterranean along the waters of the River Tiber.

Valnerina
Road bike

ROUTE 27 - Some seriously hard cycling across mountain passes of the Valnerina

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
2300 m
Distance
114,5 km
From Spoleto, towards the tops of the Umbro-Marchigiano Appennino, among extraordinary naturalistic foreshortenings through the Valnerina and facing four climbs of notable difficulty, more for the length than for the slopes.
Start Spoleto
Arrival Spoleto
Distance 114,5 km
Total ascent 2300 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recoomended bike road
Places to visit in the area Spoleto, Sellano, Cerreto di Spoleto, Poggiodomo, Monteleone di Spoleto, Caso, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, Valnerina.


This route offers some truly wonderful views, and mostly involves very quiet minor roads, but due to the said climbs (2,300 metres of total ascent) and the overall length of the route (115 km.), it requires a considerable degree of fitness. The route begins, like the previous one, from the sports ground in Spoleto: you then ride towards the Via Flaminia along the outside of the town’s military barracks, and at the roundabout turn right towards the town centre.

At the following roundabouts, follow the signs for San Giacomo, and at Madonna di Lugo (km. 3.5), when you get to the sign for the Albergo Bonicerri, turn right onto a minor road leading to the bottom of the first climb of the day. At km. 6.2, turn right towards Fabbreria, and begin the climb up to the Spina Pass (Passo della Spina): this 13 km-long climb is not particularly steep however. At the end of the descent down from the pass, carry on towards Sellano, and when you get to the junction with the SS319 (at km. 27.8), turn right towards Sellano once again. This marks the beginning of the second climb of the day, a shorter one this time, up to the Valico del Soglio (km. 31).

The descent down the other side of the pass is a long one that at a certain point goes through the town of Sellano, one of the places worse hit by the 1997 earthquake, and leads to Borgo Cerreto and the junction with the main SS209 Valnerina road. You may like to stop off for a break along the River Nera here, as the next few kilometres are going to be along isolated roads offering no further such opportunities. At the junction with the Valnerina (km. 46) turn left towards Visso, and then at the next junction turn right towards Monteleoone di Spoleto, at which point you are at the beginning of the very long climb up to the Gavelli Pass, which including the odd downhill or flat section, is all of 15 km.

The first sections are the steepest, and offer a splendid series of views to the right across the Valnerina and Cerreto di Spoleto. The following kilometres wind up in the middle of the woods, where silence reigns supreme. At km. 64.5 you come to the village of Poggiodomo, the smallest borough in Umbria, and at km. 69.5 you bear right towards Spoleto and Gavelli, where you are faced by the last few steep sections of the climb (if you turn left, on the other hand, you can visit the village of Monteleone di Spoleto).

At the end of the descent, having ridden past Sant’Anatolia di Arco, you return to the main SS209 road, and take it in the direction of Visso once again, but at km. 93.5 you bear left off the same road towards Piedipaterno. This marks the start of the fourth and final climb of the day, the one going up to Forca di Cerro. The pass is situated at km. 103, and from then on its all downhill back to Spoleto and your starting point at the town’s sports ground (km. 114.5).

 


As well as the centre of Spoleto and its Rocca Albornoziana, which were described in the previous route no. 26, the real attraction of this route no. 27 is the magnificence of the landscape in the Valnerina mountains, and the delightful valley itself with the cool, clear waters of the River Nera. The small hilltop town of Cerreto di Spoleto is also very beautiful: its medieval centre contains the former Monastery of San Giacomo, which currently houses the Borough’s Historical Archives and the offices of the Valnerina’s Centre for Anthropological Research and Documentation (CEDRAV - Centro per la Ricerca e la Documentazione Antropologica in Valnerina). Also of note are the Renaissance church of Santa Maria De Libera, the church of Santa Maria Annunziata, and the Castle Church. The centre of Monteleone di Spoleto is also delightful, its most interesting feature being the Etruscan Chariot, an invaluable archaeological find dating from the 6th century BC which was discovered in 1902 in a necropolis not far from the village, where it had been lain in a tumulus. This find has since been transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of New York, while a life-size copy is on display in Monteleone. Other places of interest include Poggiodomo, the smallest borough in Umbria, and above all the fortified villages of Caso, Sant’Anatolia di Narco and Vallo di Nera.
 

The Monti Martani hills and the
Road bike

ROUTE 26 - The Monti Martani hills and the "Town of the Two Worlds"

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
1200 m
Distance
83,5 km
Among woods, vineyards, olive groves, fields of wheat and sunflowers, in a valley path that from Spoleto arrives to the hills of Monti Martani, touching villages of great historical and artistic interest.
Start Spoleto
Arrival Spoleto
Distance 83,5 km
Total ascent 1200 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recommened bike road, hybrid
Places to visit in the area Spoleto, Castel Ritaldi, Giano dell’Umbria, Montecchio, Monti Martani hills, Massa Martana, Acquasparta.


This route, like the Route 27, starts from the sports round in Spoleto, and winds its way across the Monti Martani hills in the very centre of Umbria. It is an undulating route that passes by a series of very interesting ancient towns and villages, such as Giano dell’Umbria and Massa Martana, and also touches on a number of areas of natural interest, and offers a series of characteristic Umbrian landscapes. 

Starting from the sports ground in Spoleto, you ride off towards the Via Flaminia along the outside of the town’s military barracks, and at the roundabout turn left towards Castel Ritaldi. At the traffic lights turn right into one of the few busy roads you are going to encounter on this particular ride. 3 km. from the starting point lies San Venanzo, where you turn off the busy main road towards Protti to your right. Beyond Protti you come to the junction with the SP457: turn left here, and right on past Beroide and Castel San Giovanni to Bruna at km. 14, which marks the beginning of the short climb up to the hilltop village of Castel Ritaldi.

At the end of the ride down from Castel Ritaldi you come to a junction: go straight on here and the road soon starts to rise once again, towards Torregrosso and Colle del Marchese, through olive groves and wheat fields, with a wonderful view right across the Valle Umbra. At the end of the next descent, which brings you to Bivio Moscardini, turn left onto the SP451 and a few metres further on, turn left again towards Giano dell’Umbria, situated at km. 30 after around 5 kilometres of ascent. Carry straight on towards Monte Cerreto, along a winding road that weaves its way across the land at the foot of Monte Martano, through olive groves and dense pine forest, leading you past the fascinating castle at Castagnola. When you get to the junction with the SS316, turn left towards Massa Martana.

The road climbs up gradually to the Viepri Pass (Valico di Viepri) at km. 42, and then back down again towards Massa Martana, where you can have a rest and visit the town centre. After which, you continue to descend alongside the remains of the ancient Via Flaminia, until you get to Massa Martana Scalo, where you turn left towards Acquasparta.

When you get to Acquasparta (km. 59), follow the signs for Spoleto, and take the SR418, which marks the beginning of the most difficult climb of this particular ride, the6 km. climb through woodland leading up to the Firenzuola Pass. From the pass you then descend towards Spoleto, and ride through Baiano in order to avoid some of the traffic, and then at km. 81.4, at the entrance to Spoleto, you turn left towards San Niccolò along the narrow road running alongside the canal. Turn right at the next junction, and then at the traffic lights cross the main road and carry straight on into Via Visso, returning along the same route you took when leaving town, until you reach the sports ground once again.

 


Spoleto, one of the most beautiful towns in central Italy, not only boasts substantial Roman remains, but has also managed to preserve its original medieval appearance and layout. The most important monument of this, the “Town of the Two Worlds” (named after the International Arts Festival held there every year), is its Cathedral, but it also possesses a wealth of other extremely interesting buildings, including the Church of Sant’Eufemia, the Church of Saints John and Paul (Santi Giovanni e Pietro), the Abbey of San Ponziano, the Church of San Domenico, the tenth-century Church of San Paolo inter vineas, with its important series of 13th-century frescoes, and the Church of San Pietro, built in the fifth century, with its splendid Romanesque sculptured stone façade decorated with extraordinary bas-reliefs. The town is surmounted by the massive Rocca Albornoziana, work on which began in the year 1352. The area around Spoleto features the “sacred wood” of Monteluco, a dense wood of evergreen Holm Oak which is of considerable naturalistic and spiritual importance. Massa Martana, a town situated in an area where many Roman finds have been made, features a number of interesting buildings and monuments, including the Church of San Felice, built in honour of the town’s patron saint, the Church of San Sebastiano, and the 16th century Town Hall. Other places of interest include Gualdo Cattaneo, Castel Ritaldi, Giano dell’Umbria and Montecchio, situated on the slopes of the Monti Martani hills.
 

The hilly terrain between the Nestore Valley and Monte Peglia
Road bike

ROUTE 25 - The hilly terrain between the Nestore Valley and Monte Peglia

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
1600 m
Distance
94 km
Crossing the valley of Nestore up to Monte Peglia, pedaling in a hilly and mainly rural landscape, among small villages and castles in the Green Heart of Italy.
Start Marsciano
Arrival Marsciano
Distance 94 km
Total ascent 1600 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recommended bike road
Places to visit in the area Marsciano, Compignano, Montegabbione, Montegiove, Monte Peglia, Pornello, San Venanzo.

 

A total ascent of 1,600 metres and a length of 94 kilometres, make this one of the most difficult rides in the guide, and as such is only suitably for really fit riders with bikes properly set up for this kind of hilly terrain. It is, nevertheless, a very attractive ride given the beauty of the countryside you ride through, in particular in the Nestore Valley and between Piegaro and Monte Peglia, where the road runs through vast areas of woodland, where the presence of Man has yet to perceptibly affect the wonderful natural surrounds.

The ride starts from the sports ground in Marsciano, a town famous for its brick-manufacturing industry, and moves off in the direction of San Venanzo, and then towards the town centre, where you turn left onto the SP376 towards Migliano and Morcella. When you get to the turning for Morcella, bear left towards Migliano: this is the start of the first climb of the day.

At km. 11 turn right towards Mercatello, and ride past the old brickworks at Compignano. Ride past the village and to the foot of the hill leading up to Spina (km. 19). This short, albeit rather steep climb is then followed by the descent towards Castiglione della Valle. At Castiglione carry straight on towards Tavernelle on the SP220. Take care here as this road can be busy. Once you have gone past Tavernelle, continue straight on as far as km. 43, and then turn left towards Piegaro and the start of the climb leading up to Monteleone di Orvieto.

This is then followed by a steep descent to Montegabbione, where you can stop for a short break before turning left onto the SP57 in the direction of Montegiove: this road is very isolated, and you will find yourself riding for several kilometres through delightfully peaceful countryside, far from any traffic. This is the most difficult part of the ride, as it involves a number of ups and downs, together with the climbs up to Montegiove and Pornello, but the stunning beauty of the countryside is just reward for your efforts.

The climb up from Pornello almost to the top of Monte Peglia ends at km. 76 : from here bear right towards San Venanzo and Marsciano, and then one kilometre further on, at the junction with the SS317, turn left towards Marsciano. You are now left with some 15 kilometres of descent, via San Venanzo, before you return to the starting point. If you still feel you have enough energy left to do so, instead of going straight back to Marsciano you can turn right at this junction and ride the remaining 7 kilometres up to the top of Monte Peglia, before returning back down the same road and carrying on down the hill to Marsciano.

 


The most interesting aspect of this particular route is the beauty of the landscape, and in particular that of Monte Peglia, which affords a wonderful view across the entire region. At Marsciano you can visit the parish church of San Giovanni Battista (patron saint of Marsciano), the Town Hall, built in 1871, the Theatre (Teatro della Concordia), and the splendid Palazzo Battaglia, embellished by the futuristic painter Geraldo Dottori. Marsciano is also the brick-manufacturing centre of Umbria, and home to the Museo Dinamico del Laterizio e delle Terrecotte (the Living Museum of Brick and Terracotta), a museum spread out over the local area, linking sites of peasant, craft and industrial culture. As you travel along this route, you also encounter the ancient castles of Montegabbione, Monteleone di Orvieto, and Montegiove, as well as small places of interest such as Pornello and San Venanzo. The Franciscan Monastery of La Scarzuola, founded by St. Francis in 1218, is situated near to Montegiove.
 

The unique atmosphere of the Apennine Mountains on the border between Umbria and the Marche
Road bike

ROUTE 22 - The unique atmosphere of the Apennine Mountains on the border between Umbria and the Marche

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
1550 m
Distance
82 km
From an enchanting Umbrian medieval center such as Montone up to the peaks of the Umbro-Marchigiano Apennines, through a fascinating and challenging route, immersed in the green and steeped in history.
Start Montone
Arrival Montone
Distance 82 km
Total ascent 1550 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recommended bike road
Places to visit in the area Montone, Città di Castello, Pietralunga.


The starting point for this particular route is the medieval hilltop town of Montone, a delightful place that has managed to preserve its traditional appeal and character, linked to an historically eventful past. Past Città di Castello, the route winds up into the Umbrian-Marche Apennines, with the rider facing two difficult climbs.The landscape is very beautiful, but the difficulty of the ride means that it is only really suitable for more experienced, fitter riders equipped with a good range of gears, given that sections of the climb up from the town of Apecchio have a gradient of more than 10%.

Starting from Montone’s football ground, a few metres outside of the town walls, turn to your right and ride down towards Città di Castello and Montecastelli, and just past the cemetery to your left, bear right off this secondary road onto an even smaller road which winds down through farmland and woods towards Montecastelli below.At the small roundabout at the bottom of the descent go straight across to the junction with the main SS3bis road: turn right here towards Città di Castello along an almost completely flat section of road.

When you get to the outskirts of the town, turn right towards Pietralunga, and then straight afterwards, bear left at the junction and follow the signs for the hospital. Another kilometre or so further on you come to a set of traffic lights; go straight over the lights, down the hill to the roundabout, and then turn right onto the SS257 Fano road.

A few hundred metres further on, and you are at the beginning of the long, albeit not steep climb (gradient of 6% or less) up to the Bocca Serriola pass. When you get to the top of the pass, which marks the border between the two regions of Umbria and the Marche, carry straight on down the other side towards Apecchio, along the Biscubio Valley. When you get to the town of Apecchio (at km. 45), turn right towards Pietralunga, at which point the wildest, most fascinating, but also the hardest, section of the ride starts. The second climb of the day, in fact, winds up between meadows and thick woodland, and in certain sections the gradient is of more than 10%, which require you to be very fit and to have a good range of gears on your bike. 

This second climb ends at km. 54, but there are another three kilometres or so of undulating road before the descent begins, at km. 57.5. The first kilometre of the descent is very steep and winding, and special care needs to be taken here. At km. 58 turn right back onto the SP201, at which point the descent becomes somewhat gentler, and in 5 kilometres you will be in the medieval town of Pietralunga. From Pietralunga, proceed straight on towards Umbertide: the road continues to winds its way slightly downhill, among the wooded hills, until you get to the foot of the hill leading up to Montone. Then at km. 78.5, turn left off the main road towards Montone, and ride the last three kilometres up to the town, along this shaded, not particularly steep, country lane. Since the central section of this route is always some distance from any nearby town, you should remember to take a puncture repair and emergency tool kit with you when you set out.


The wonderful medieval town of Montone, voted one of the "Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy", perched on the very top of a steep hill that dominates the surrounding countryside. The most important building in Montone is the fourteenth-century Church of St. Francis, with its polygonal apse and portico. Another interesting construction is St. Catherine’s Convent, which currently houses the Local History Archives, one of the most important documentary sources in the whole of Umbria. Another important church is the Pieve di San Gregorio, the oldest church in Montone, which was built in Romaesque-Byzantine style in around the year 1000. Outside the town, perched on a rocky outcrop, lies the Rocca d’Aries, a massive castle which has been completely renovated fairly recently. Other places of interest include the ancient town of Pietralunga, surrounded by oak woods, and the nearby Candeleto complex, complete with campsite, swimming pool, restaurant and accommodation facilities. The Local Natural History Museum, also situated at Candeleto, has many interesting exhibits, and in particular a substantial ornithological section.

A hard ride from the river tiber to lake Trasimeno and back
Road bike

ROUTE 21 - A hard ride from the river tiber to lake Trasimeno and back

Difficulty
Hard
Total ascent
1380 m
Distance
70 km
From the Tiber to Lake Trasimeno, among the most fascinating water landscapes of the Green Heart of Italy, in a challenging itinerary to discover timeless natural beauty.
Start Umbertide
Arrival Umbertide
Distance 70 km
Total ascent 1380 m
Difficulty hard
Surface asphalt
Recommended bike road
Places to visit in the area Umbertide, Castel Rigone, Passignano, Tuoro, Lago Trasimeno, Montone.

 

This route, like route 2, starts from Umbertide’s Piazza Mazzini, and features two noticeable climbs connecting the Upper Tiber Valley with Lake Trasimeno. Most of the roads taken are very quiet, with very little traffic at anytime, and the spectacular views are more than just reward for the energy spent. It is not a particularly long route, but the two long climbs (Colle Campana and Valico Gosparini), although not steep, require a considerable level of fitness.

The first uphill section is encountered a mere 600 metres out of Umbertide, going towards Città di Castello, where you turn left towards Castel Rigone and Preggio: this marks the beginning of the first long climb of the day – roughly 15 kilometres – up to Colle Campana at 750 metres above sea level. This climb is not particularly steep (and there are a couple of kilometres of descent in between) with the exception of the very last section leading up to the top of the hill. There is a splendid view when you make it to the top: to your left, Monte Tezio and the Umbria-Marche Apennines, and to your right, Lake Trasimeno and beyond as far as Monte Amiata in Tuscany. The road continues rises and falls for several kilometres until you get to the village of Castel Rigone, situated at km. 18. You can stop here for a rest and a bite to eat, before beginning the highly panoramic descent down to the shores of Lake Trasimen.

At the end of the descent (km. 27) turn right towards Passignano, and then continue along the SS75bis as far as Tuoro, before turning right and following the signs for Umbertide and Lisciano Niccone. The road out of Tuoro marks the beginning of the 6-kilometre climb up to Valico Gosparini, where you should stop a while to enjoy the marvellous view of Lake Trasimeno below. You now descend towards Lisciano Niccone, and at the end of the descent (km. 49) bear left in the direction of Umbertide. The following section of the ride takes in the entire Niccone Valley, characterised by its geometrical plots of farmland, each with different crops.

After a total of 51 kilometres you come to Mengaccini, where you can fill your water bottle at a fountain on the right, but should you miss this you can do likewise at the village of Niccone at km. 66.5. When you reach the junction with the SS3bis at Niccone, turn right and ride back to the starting point in Umbertide, another 4 kilometres further on. However, should you feel like extending your ride, you can turn left at the same junction, in the direction of Città di Castello. About one kilometre past the village of Montecastelli, turn right off the SS3bis onto the local road that climbs up for about 4 km. to the beautiful medieval town of Montone. After a brief visit to this unique little town, classified among the most beautiful small towns in Italy, follow the signs to Umbertide, which is another 10 km. further on, most of which being downhill.

 


Apart from Umbertide town centre, which is described in route 2, this particular ride is characterised by the beautiful natural landscape, which varies from the rather mountainous Colle Campana and Castel Rigone, to the lakeside habitat of Trasimeno. Castel Rigone has its Sanctuario di Maria Santissima dei Miracoli, built towards the end of the 15th century by a pupil of the famous architect Bramante, and generally considered to be one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Umbria. The lakeside town of Tuoro was the site of the historical "Battle of Trasimeno" in 217 BC between the Romans and the Carthaginians: a special itinerary has been laid out for visitors, retracing the main phases of the famous defeat of the Roman army at the hands of Hannibal’s troops.

Narni, the Rocca Albornoz and the Roman ruins at Ocricolum
Road bike

ROUTE 20 - Narni, the Rocca Albornoz and the Roman ruins at Ocricolum

Difficulty
Medium
Total ascent
800 m
Distance
43 km
This route starts out from Narni, an ancient town dating back more mthan three thousand years, and conquered by the Romans in 299 BC under the name of Narnia. The town is situated among the quiet hills at the south-westernmost tip of Umbria, and the ride takes you to several other ancient towns and villages, such as Otricoli, Calvi dell’Umbria and Poggio.
Start Narni
Arrival Narni
Distance 43 km
Total ascent 800 m
Difficulty medium
Surface asphalt
Recommended bike road, hybrid
Places to visit in the area Narni, Otricoli, Calvi, Poggio, Narni Castle.


The starting point is the Rocca Albornoz, an ancient outpost built midway through the 14th century at the very highest part of the spur on which the town was constructed. From here, you descend towards the centre of Narni and then turn left towards Testaccio, a small village 2.5 km. further on. Carry on in the direction of Rome until you get to the junction with the SS3 (km. 6.5), and then turn left in the direction of Rome once again. Carry on along this undulating section of road until you get to km. 14, where you turn left towards the ancient town of Otricoli, famous for the archaeological zone of Ocricolum, the Roman town that arose along the Tiber in the vicinity of the Porto dell’Olio, the ruins of which mostly date from the Augustine age.

Once out of the town, turn left in the direction of Calvi dell’Umbria: after a descent involving a few hairpin bends you come to the beginning of the climb up to Calvi dell’Umbria (at km. 17) and after climbing for some 7.5 kilometres you finally reach the town, where you can stop for a rest and something to eat or drink. As well as numerous artistic works and historical buildings, the streets of Calvi also feature a number of murals depicting the Nativity, the work of famous Italian and foreign artists who, since 1982, come to the town to paint the walls of the old houses, hence its nickname as the “town of the Nativity”. Leaving Calvi, take the SP18 towards Narni, and you will find yourself cycling through an almost unreal landscape of woodland and silence. At km. 30 you come to the village of Poggio (see ‘photo above):carry straight on until you reach the junction with the SS3 (km. 37), and then turn right towards Narni, cycling along the same road you took at the beginning of the ride. Ride past Testaccio, and you will come to the gates of the town of Narni at km. 42: but before turning right and climbing back up the hill to the Rocca, you must ride into the town centre and visit the many beautiful buildings and works it boasts, including the exciting visit to subterranean Narni, consisting of a series of aqueducts, cisterns, tunnels, crypts and even the torture chambers of the town’s inquisitional tribunal, complete with cell featuring the graffiti of those prisoners awaiting their sentence.

 


You must visit the centre of Narni, with its 3000-year-old historical heritage. While here you should also visit the subterranean Narni: a series of aqueducts, cisterns, tunnels, crypts and even the torture chambers of the town’s Inquisitional Tribunal, which together constitute a mysterious underground landscape in the very heart of the town, an historical, artistic and cultural journey into the past.The Roman period is represented by the Augustus Bridge, the Cadona Bridge and the Formina Aqueduct. The Middle Ages, on the other hand, are well represented by a whole series of buildings and monuments, including the Cathedral of San Giovenale, the Church of San Domenico, and the Church of Santa Maria Inpensole. Piazza dei Priori is a magnificent square surrounded by the austere Palazzo del Podestà and the Loggia dei Priori, the latter featuring the delightful Loggia del Banditore. The town is crowned by the recently renovated Rocca Albornoz, originally constructed in the second half of the 14th century on orders from Cardinal Albornoz. The major attraction at Otricoli is the archaeological zone of Ocricolum, the Roman town that arose along the Tiber in the vicinity of the Porto dell’Olio, the ruins of which mostly date from the Augustine age: the Theatre, the Amphitheatre and an impressive series of arches which perhaps supported one of the most important of the Roman town’s monuments, the Capitolium. Calvi dell’Umbria is worth a visit to see the many murals representing the Nativity scene, painted on the walls of the old town houses.