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Discover Abruzzo Bike Tour

Abruzzo Giro's Special

Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty: 4  Bike Tour difficulty rating

In the Giro d'Italia 1967 a young Belgian, considered at the time just a promising sprinter, surprisingly won an epic mountain stage on top of the Blockhaus. His name was Eddy Merckx…
giro-in-abruzzo-biketour
After 50 years and for the first time since Merckx exploit the Giro d’Italia features the same Blockhaus finish from Roccamorice, its most challenging side.
This special edition of our Discover Abruzzo tour will include the event. Don't miss the opportunity to live a memorable day of cycling. Test one of Italy's most legendary climbs sharing the road with thousands. And later cheer the champions fighting for the win and the domestiques hard-earning their pay.
As for the rest of the trip Abruzzo has all the ingredients to assure you more days of fun on and off the saddle.


PROGRAM


Abruzzo Bike Tour: Loreto AprutinoOur van will be ready to pick you up at Rome Airport (3+hrs, optional service: ask for rates) and take you to our first Agriturismo in the hills just outside Loreto Aprutino (pop 8000). Try planning your arrival in the early morning so that we have time to visit former pro Rabottini bike shop, swim&sunbath at Cerrano Beach or just relax by the pool, sipping wine under olive trees and smelling dinner preparation.
 
The 1st ride is set on the eastern side of the Gran Sasso massif. A green belt of hills dotted by olive trees, vineyards and guarded from above by old villages. The 2 longer climbs takes us to Montebello di Bertona and then to Farindola, two amazing terraces with views spanning from mountains to sea. We cross into the province of Teramo, a temple of homemade cuisine. Therefore the stop for lunch in Arsita is perfectly timed. Better skip the dessert for now as the climb to Penne still stands on our way home.

giro Italia biketour: the missesIn the 2nd ride we leave Loreto heading towards the Maiella mountains. Again we start up and down sweet hills crossing charming villages: Pianella, Cepagatti, Rosciano. After crossing the Aterno River we start following the Giro d'Italia stage itinerary. The first, easier part of the climb takes across S.Valentino and to Roccamorice. Here the going gets tough. To reach the Blockhaus you must gain 1100 mts of elevation in 13 km, the average gradient is 8,5% with sections touching 15%. If that wasn't enough and you want to kill time before the pros arrive then go on for the extra 6 km that the Giro doesn't cover to reach road end at 2100 mts. It's easy to figure that, on this day, we'll share our suffering and excitement with thousands of other cyclists. The Giro's colorful caravan will provide food, souvenirs and entertainment. After the end of the race we ride down the other side of the mountain to Guardiagrele (pop 9000) where we spend 2 nights in a 4 star hotel.

Giro d'Italia Bike Tour: BlockhausIn the 3rd ride we turn our back to mountains and ride down to the Adriatic Coast. After crossing the town of Lanciano we reach S.Giovanni in Venere. Built upon an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Venus this abbey, offering a splendid view of the Adriatic Coast, is one of Italy's finest example of romanesque style. After pictures and coffee break we ride northbound on the coastal road. Right after the beach resort of S.Vito Marina we turn inland again. A few rolling miles and we are at Cantina Tollo, the major wine producer and sponsor of cycling teams in Abruzzo. Among the wooden barrels of the historic cantina we'll be offered generous tastes of their many wines and a buffet lunch. Before hitting the way home test your efficiency doing a few 8's in the parking lot. Except for the last steep mile the road home is quiet and easy but we have room in the van if you fell you had a glass of wine too much.

giro-italia-biketour-maiellaThe 4th ride is entirely set in the National Park of Maiella mnts. Our route is dotted by remarkable stone villages unvariably sitting upon luscious hills. After climbing to Pennapiedimonte and a few more up and downs we stop for coffee break in Fara S.Martino. Standing underneath an imposing rock formation this little town is home to fine pasta makers from small artisans to world famous Pasta De Cecco. After crossing Lama dei Peligni we ride a long false-flat with the rocky walls of Maiella on our right and a wide-open view on the left. We pass by the Memorial that celebrates the Brigata Maiella that fought the Nazis on those mountains in WW2. A short descent brings us to Palena. Here we tackle the longest climb of the day to the Forchetta Palena pass (1300 mts). At the top an open highland welcomes us in the province of L'Aquila. We lunch in Pescocostanzo, a perfectly preserved Renaissance village, before starting the 20+km downhill to Sulmona (pop 25000). We stay 2 nights in this historic town in a 4 star hotel downtown.
 
Giro d'Italia Bike Tour: Lake of ScannoThe 5th ride is entirely set in the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, the oldest National Park established in Italy. The first unforgettable view is the village of Anversa silhouetted against high rocks. Crossing stone bored tunnels we gently rise in the canyon of the Sagittario river. We follow the roaring stream till the astonishing green mirror of Lake S.Domenico. The road levels circling the shores of the larger Lake of Scanno. The village of Scanno is a gem of Renaissance architecture and it is famed for traditional jewelry and lacing and for having actracted Henry Cartier-Bresson and other masters of photography. Up we go on the switchbacks of the long and steady climb to Passo Godi (1600 mts) then down the unending descent to Lake of Barrea. A short climb offer a magnificent view of the Lake and the village of Barrea. We descend to Alfedena where we end our ride with a sumptuous lunch. We drive back to Sulmona by van (45 min).

Giro Bike Tour: Lady in VespaThe 6th ride is the easiest of the tour. We leave Sulmona heading north along the Aterno River. On a easy incline we cross the S.Venanzio Gorges, out of there the valley opens up showing its medieval villages lost in lush greenery: Castel di Ieri, Castelvecchio Subequo, Fontecchio, Fossa. Castles and Renassaince churches mark our route. The course is almost completely flat and today we see the mountains only from a distance. The last steep mile makes the arrival in L'Aquila (pop 70000) more rewarding. L'Aquila, capital of Abruzzo, has been devastated by a tremendous earthquake in Apr 2009. Its historical center, one of the largest and best preserved in Italy, is still undergoing a formidable work of reconstruction. Here we stay 3 nights in a 3 star charming hotel downtown. 
 
  
The 7th ride starts with a long climb in the woods to Passo Capannelle (1300 mt). Following the high course of the Vomano River we reach the Lake of Campotosto (1450 mt) whose clear waters mirrors the mountains of Gran Sasso and Laga. We circle most of the lake before descending to Montereale where we lunch. An easy way home in the upper Aterno Valley will assure a perfect digestion.

Giro d'Italia Bike Tour: Gran SassoThe 8th ride is set in the National Park of Gran Sasso which includes the highest peaks in the Apennines. The first section of the climb ends at Fonte Cerreto (1120 mts), the last chance for a cappuccino break before the bare moonscape ahead. The second summit is Monte Cristo (1800 mts). Here the most fit can take a detour and continue the climb up to the 2150 mts of Campo Imperatore, the highest paved road south of the Alps. Here still stands the hotel where Mussolini was briefly kept prisoner before being freed by the Lutwaffe. On the way down we regroup for lunch in the enchanted village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio (1200 mts). After lunch get a lift in the van or get more kicks riding down to L'Aquila. 

 The following morning our van will take you back to Roma Airport (2 hrs, optional service - travel time 2 hrs)