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Abruzzo/Italy map for Bike Tours organized by AbcycleThe Green Hills of Abruzzo 

Difficulty: 2  Bike Tour Difficulty Rating

Between the imposing mountains and the Adriatic coast Abruzzo displays a green belt of gentle hills lined with olive trees and vineyards that link the mountains to the coast. Crossed by winding and quiet backroads this area is heaven for leisurely cycling. Here wines and ‘extra-vergine’ olive oil are widely produced mostly by small family run farms favoring the high quality over the quantity. The hills are often topped by charming villages whose daily life still moves on at the slow pace of the past.


PROGRAM


Cycling Italy: Loreto AprutinoDay 1: Arrival in Loreto Aprutino
We wait for you at Pescara train station or Airport and transfer you to Loreto Aprutino. This little town still preserves its medieval layout of tile roofs rising upon the hill and surrounding, at the summit, the Norman Castle (the secular power) and the Cathedral (the spiritual power). A stroll in the town alleys, browsing inside churches and palaces, and a visit to the local Ceramics and Archeological museums will reveal you unsuspected treasures.
The Agriturismo (country inn) where we take you is a couple of miles from town. The countryside setting is charming and you will love their swimming pool. Agriturismo in Italy are required to serve only meals based on fresh, homegrown ingredients so be prepared for an outstanding traditional dinner. Before dinner we give you route maps and a briefing about the tour.

Day 2: Loreto (loop) 53 km - tot climb 900 mts
The area of your first ride is called Vestina from the name of the population that lived here before the Roman conquest. Agriculture is the main activity accounting for some of the best wines and extravergine olive oil produced today in Italy. The quiet roads wind up and down gentle hills with open views of the Gran Sasso and Maiella massifs, the highest peaks of the Italian Appennini. Not an easy start but you can take your time and pause for refreshment in the several cute villages crossed: Catignano, Vicoli, Civitella Casanova and Vestea.

Day 3: Loreto - Caramanico Terme 65 km - 1200 mtsCycling on the Green Hills of Abruzzo
The going south from Loreto starts with some rolling terrain. The first easy hill takes you to Pianella, an historical town well deserving a visit. The rolling gets even easier on the way to Cepagatti, famous for its muralled walls. Soon after you have the chance to stop at one of the local wine producers for snacks and a taste of the celebrated red Montepulciano and white Trebbiano. You must be careful not to indulge in the toasting as the ride gets now quite challenging: after crossing the Aterno-Pescara, Abruzzo’s longest river, you must tackle a 6km climb to get to S.Valentino. After that the mountain water springing out of the faucets in the town’s main square will taste like nectar! And don’t wave the opportunity to sit outside one of the bars for a well deserved gelato. You have just entered the National Park of Maiella Mtns and the road now rises very gently in an open, lusciously green valley surrounded by mountains. Only the last km into Caramanico requires more sweat. You will stay in an hotel in this old spa town town for 2 days.  

Green Hills of Abruzzo Bike TourDay 4: Rest day in Caramanico Terme
Thanks to its mineral and sulphur springs Caramanico has been a spa resort since 1576. From a simple massage to the mud and spring water therapy a wide range of cosmetic and medical treatments are available. But Caramanico is also the starting point for spectacular hiking trails. So, before you get pampered in the spa, we suggest you a morning hike in the pristine wilderness of the National Park of Maiella.

Day 5: Caramanico Terme-Pretoro 42 km - 700 mts
Today you cross over to the eastern side of Maiella. The ride starts with a 15 km descent that takes you back to the Aterno River and the old Tiburtina road. Soon it’s time to turn right to Abruzzo Green Hillsenter another of Maiella’s deep valleys. The Maiella mountains are also land of saints and this valley is particularly blessed by ancient sanctuaries and hermitages. The few villages show a well preserved Romanic style. With its cathedral, palaces and fountains built with the local stone Serramonacesca is the best example and worthy a pause of your ride. The road rises mostly gently but with a few steeper sections. Luckily along the way there's no shortage of fresh mountain water. The climb ends right in Pretoro, a spectacular stone town clung to the side of the mountain. You spend the night in a charming B&B in the very heart of town.

Day 6: Pretoro - Marina di S.Vito 62 km - 750 mts
So far you have seen the hilly countryside and the rugged mountains now Abruzzo is going to show you that it has also one of the nicest coast of the Adriatic. The ride now is definitely easier and you will have time to enjoy swimming and sunbathing. You descend in Guardiagrele. The majorAdriatic Coast: Marina di San Vito town this side of Maiella is renowned for its jewerly and wrought iron masters. A stroll in town for window shopping is highly suggested.
You ride among vineyards as the road keeps going down. A suggested detour (add 15 km) will let you hit the coast in Ortona. A gelato by the Aragonese Castle on the Via Orientale, the high promenade that spans over the Adriatic sea, is a pleasure we’d like you to enjoy. Otherwise you can ride straight to Marina di S.Vito, the charming beach resort where you spend the last 2 days. You stay in an elegant hotel just across the street from the beach.

Abruzzo Bike TourDay 7: Marina di S.Vito (loop) 54 km - 500 mts
The last ride is entirely set on the easy-rolling coastal route, the Costa dei Trabocchi. The "trabocchi" are ancient wooden stilt-constructions suspended above the sea for fishing and are a distinctive feature of Abruzzo southern coast. You ride south untill crossing the Sangro river then a short detour takes you inland to the magnificient abbey of S.Giovanni in Venere. Built in the XIII century over the ruins of a pagan temple this cathedral is, for location, architecture and artworks, one of the finest Romanic churches in Italy. After the visit, the pictures and the snack you can head back to the beach in Marina di S.Vito. The dinner this evening is not included so you are free to choose from one of the remarkable seafood trattorie in town.  

Day 8: Van transfer to Pescara (1/2 hr)