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Abruzzo/Italy map for Bike Tours organized by AbcycleAbruzzo Natural Parks

  Difficulty: 2  Bike Tour Difficulty Rating

This tour is designed to permit also to a novice cyclist to ride in the magnificient scenario of Abruzzo’s Natural Parks. Starting at the 1300mts of the enchanted setting of S.Stefano di Sessanio is surely a big advantage! You will travel on quiet backroads and through medieval villages scattered in the wilderness. First class accommodations and the flavours of Abruzzo’s best mountain cuisine make of this tour a unique and unforgettable experience.


cycling-abruzzo-parksDay 1: Arrival in L'Aquila
We pick you up in L'Aquila and take you to S.Stefano di Sessanio, starting point of the biketour (45 minutes drive). Transfer from Roma Airport is available as an optional service (ask for quotes).
S.Stefano di Sessanio (1300 mts, pop 120) is a charming hamlet in the Gran Sasso National Park. Strolling its stone paved alleys it's like being transported in the past by a time machine.   
We give you the route maps and a briefing about the tour. And then time for a memorable welcome dinner based on the organic ingredients grown here.

Day 2: S.Stefano di Sessanio (Gran Sasso loop) 50 km - tot climb 850 mtsride-break-in-rocca-calascio
The mountain range of the Gran Sasso features the highest peaks in the Appennini. Don't forget to charge your camera as during this ride you can appreciate its pristine beauty from various angles. A few easy kms takes you to Calascio. Here we suggest you a detour to visit the Rocca. Perched on a high cliff it has been set to  "Lady Hawke" and other movie productions. Passing through Castel del Monte, the main town this side of the Gran Sasso, the first climb of the tour takes to the pass of Monte Capo Serre. During the following downhill the magnificient scenario of Campo Imperatore unveils. Soon you ride in the moonscape of an open highland flanked on a side by the clear peaks of the Gran Sasso. A short and easy climb takes you to Guado Portoni. Here starts the long downhill back home. The road sneaks through meadows in full blossom until the towered hamlet appears in all its ancient beauty. 

cycling-to-fontecchioDay 3: S.Stefano di Sessanio-Fontecchio 40 km - 560 mts
A long, twisted downhill dotted by old villages takes you down from the Gran Sasso and into the Sirente Park. Down in the valley you follow the paved road that once was the path of a sheep-way. At the end of summer flocks were taken some 300 km south to spend the winter in Puglia. This yearly exodus of men and animals, called ‘transumanza’, was the main motor of the local economy for two thousands years. Today abbeys and castles still preside over the path. The only climb of the day allows you to visit the villages of Caporciano and Bominaco before descending to the Aterno river valley and to Fontecchio (alt 670 mts, pop 400), the charming setting of the next 2 days.

Day 4: Fontecchio (Aterno river valley loop) 59 km - 870 mtscycling-abruzzo-laquila

The ride starts following the Aterno river upward. Quiet backroads winding through farming land lead you to the footstep of L’Aquila. A pretty steep 1 mile climb gets you into town. L’Aquila (alt 720 mts, pop 70000), the capital of Abruzzo, has been devastated by a tremendous earthquake in Apr 2009. A little detour in the town’s ‘centro storico’ let you witness the slow but very well made reconstruction of this beautiful art-town. The ride back to Fontecchio presents a 3km climb to the castle of S.Panfilo d’Ocre and a breathtaking dive down to Fossa.

biketouring-aterno-valleyDay 5: Fontecchio-Sulmona 44 km - 380 mts
Today’s ride follows the Aterno river downward. It’s an easy and very pleasant ride. The green of this valley is a perfect backround to the medieval architectures of the villages. On these roads cars are rare and bird songs are often the only sound you hear. Only an easy incline in the rugged S.Venanzio gorges before arriving to Sulmona (alt 400 mts, pop 25000). Here you spend the final 2 days in a 4 stars hotel in the ‘centro storico’ of this fine town. 

Day 6: Sulmona (National Park loop) 63 km - 1000 mtsride-abruzzo-national-park
The last ride is entirely set in Abruzzo National Park, the oldest park ever established in Italy. Without great efforts you reach Anversa degli Abruzzi. This stone-built village marks the entrance to the wild Sagittario gorges. The road clinges to the rock with breathtaking views of the emerald creek far below. You have plenty of photo opts in the long but never steep climb to Villalago. You circle around the Lake of Scanno, its still waters mirroring the mountains around, and arrive in town. Thanks to its landscapes Scanno has been a favourite hang-out of photographers and painters. If you like a little shopping the town is also celebrated for its fine jewerly and laces art-works. The ride back is mostly downhill on the same route. Last dinner is not included in the tour price so you’re free to choose among Sulmona’s many fine restaurants.

Day 7: departure from Sulmona

Sulmona is well connected to Roma by train (journey time 2hrs 30min). Van transfer is also available (ask for quotes).