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Discover Abruzzo Bike Tour

Discover Abruzzo

Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty: 4  Bike Tour difficulty rating

Just one hour East of Roma, Abruzzo offers some of the most exciting riding you can find anywhere in Italy: four National Parks, memorable climbs and descents, a green belt of sweet hills dotted by olive trees, a network of enchanting backroads devoid of traffic, renaissance villages lost in the wilderness. The Appennini, the mountain backbone of the Peninsula, here display their highest peaks and a couple of paved roads at over 2000mts. Family size farming guarantees fresh and organic ingredients to the sumptuous cuisine. You will love the warm hospitality and the generous taste of the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.


PROGRAM


Abruzzo Bike Tour: Loreto AprutinoOur van will be ready to pick you up at Rome Airport (optional service) 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 and vineyards, guarded from above by old villages. The 2 longer climbs takes us to Montebello di Bertona and 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.

Bike Tour Discover Abruzzo: Caramanico TermeIn the 2nd ride we leave Loreto heading towards the Maiella mountains. Again we ride up and down sweet hills crossing charming villages: Pianella, Cepagatti, Rosciano. After crossing the Aterno River we start the endless climb to Passo S.Leonardo (1280mt). Apart from a few loosening stretches we climb for the next 35k. Fortunately the gradient rarely goes over 6% and the views are always entertaining. The first section of the climb takes us to S.Valentino, an easier stretch follows to the old spa town of Caramanico Terme. The going gets harsh again till S.Eufemia a Maiella but the last 10k are easy again. At the summit, Passo S.Leonardo (1280mts), we can admire the entire valley with the sneaky road that lead us here and the fairy hamlet of Roccacaramanico. We descend on the other side stopping at the towered medieval town of Pacentro for lunch. A few more km downhill and we arrive in Sulmona. We stay in this delightful old town (pop 25000) for 2 days in a 4 stars hotel downtown.

Discover Abruzzo Bike Tour: Lake of ScannoThe 3rd ride is entirely set in the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, the oldest wilderness Park established in Italy. The first unforgettable view is the village of Anversa silhouetted against the high rocks. Crossing stone bored tunnels we gently rise in the canyon of Sagittario river. We follow the roaring stream till the astonishing green mirror of Lake S.Domenico. The road levels up running along 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. Up we go on the long but steady grades switchbacks of Passo Godi (1600mt) and 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).

Abruzzo Bike Tour: L'AquilaThe 4th ride is the easiest of the tour. We leave Sulmona heading north along the Aterno River. On a long false flat we cross the S.Venanzio Gorges. Out of that 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 5th 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.

Abruzzo bike tour: Gran SassoThe 6th 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, during WW2, 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 (1250 mts). After lunch get a lift in the van or get more kicks riding down to L'Aquila.
Abruzzo Bike Tour: Sirente mnts
The 7th and last ride takes place in the Parco of Velino - Sirente mountains. We cruise the Aterno Valley farmland to the renaissance village of Fontecchio. Then a few up and downs lead us to Secinaro. Here we start the long ascent up to the highland of the Sirente, where eagles are a common view. When we reach Rocca di Mezzo (1340mt) we can toast to the end of our fatigues. Castles and monasteries perched on high rocks will watch us on the long diving into L'Aquila. For the evening a stroll along stone paved alleys, another succulent dinner and a bit of nightlife.

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