Monday, October 4, 2010

According to the Italian Tourist Board....

Cycling in Italy

If cycling is one of the true passions in your life, then you've come to paradise for no other country in the world is in love with the bicycle like the Italians. The terrain and scenery here are simply unmatched: from flats to rolling hills to steep climbs, Italy have it all. The villages, history, art and landscape will inspire you every day with new surprises.

The routes can be covered all year round, but the ideal seasons (therefore the ones we recommend) are the "transitional" ones, that is spring and autumn. Avoid the central summer period, when the weather is really hot, and winter too, for the problems associated with the bitter cold, snow and/or ice.

A starting point ...

Land of tourism and legends, sport activities and history. Variety of landscapes, flora and fauna, architectures and cultural traditions. The Piedmont is an ideal destination for a bicycle tour, combining gastronomy and famous wines with scenic bicycling through rolling hills dotted with vineyards, castles, and Roman ruins. Barolo, Barbaresco, and Asti are not just the names of great wines: they are real towns that we will explore.

The Riviera dei Fiori can offer many qualified solutions for open air and sport tourism. In particular, trekking and mountain bike lovers are increasingly attracted by the quiet itineraries and the breathtaking views of Imperia's hinterland, rich in natural and historical-cultural sites. The main protagonists are the Ligurian Alps with their precious botanical endemism and a rich fauna, distinguished by foxes, wild boars, er,nines, chamois, alpine hares, marmots and golden eagle. Let's then discover this territory which is indeed comparable to more famous mountains areas: through the ancient tracks of transhumance, ex military roads, panoramic and adventurous.

Lombardy is one of the largest regions in Italy, rich in works of art, and the beauties of nature. The region can boast charming hilly areas, large lakes in the foothills of the Alps and a great variety of mountain scenery. The plain also presents natural habitats of considerable interest, the Valle del Ticino Park being ideal for pleasant walks or cycling excursions in the woods alongside the river. In such a limited space it is impossible to list all the monuments, churches and abbeys, the castles, palaces and villas in the cities of Lombardy and scattered all over the region.

The Veneto is a land of generations-old cycling heritage and traditions. Soft green hills, dreamy lagoons, sleepy villages and pulsating cities and of course the splendid villas of the famous architect Palladio will accompany you in your discovery of the region around Venice. Furthermore, there is a vast network of cycle tracks that offer itineries for everyone as well as marvellous routes for mountain-biking. The hilly areas, where you can enjoy the pleasure of being in close contact with nature, also offer the possibility of long bike rides.

The Trentino-Alto Adige is the most northerly region in Italy. It is a region of completely mountainous territory in which the presence of a still virgin and uncontaminated, sometimes wild, nature nevertheless offers the opportunity to practice all kind of sports activities. Breathtaking valleys and lakes, the famous Stelvio National Park and the majestic Dolomites: this region is a true paradise for everyone looking for fantastic excitement on their bikes, whether on mountain bike trails or on roads.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is one of the smallest regions in Italy. Its highly-attractive landscape ranges from alpine sceneries to hills, plains, beaches, lagoons and karst areas. The sandy shores, the shady pinewoods and the lagoon sides are a magical scenario for a bicycle ride. Thousands of fun opportunities are also offered by the well-marked hiking tracks and paths with their various difficulty levels, while a mountain-bike ride is a good way to enjoy the "wilderness" of some road or path itineraries.

Emilia Romagna takes its name from "Via Emilia", the old Roman road linking Rimini to Piacenza, going from the Adriatic Sea to the wide plains of the north, running through marine villages, lagoon landscapes, old medieval towns and offering beautiful views of castles, hills, towers, abbeys. Emilia-Romagna produces some of the most delicious and beautiful things in the world: Prosciutto di Parma, Tortellini, Lasagna, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ferrari, Ducati. A culinary bicycle tour is a gourmet's delight.

For those who always associate tourist cycling with nature, art and culture, Tuscany is certainly the appropriate region , thanks to its historic and artistic treasures which fit in perfectly in a varied natural setting. From the Tyrrheanian coasts to the wooded slopes of the Apennine mountains, the cyclist will find an infinite amount of hilly or mountainous areas which should be crossed slowly in order to observe: the work in the fields, the small frescoed church of the town, the thick forest, the rational plan of the historic villages or the breaking of the waves of the sea.

Umbria, Italy's "green heart" , a stunningly beautiful region waiting to be discovered. Bike through truffle-laden forests and vineyard-covered valleys, rolling pastureland and fields of grain. Discover the well-preserved medieval hill towns harboring splendid Renaissance art and relics from Umbrias Roman and Etruscan past.

The variety of its landscape brings together two separate environments that do not mix very easily: the seaside in all its remarkable beauty and the fascinating charm of its mountains; two quite contrasting landscapes brought together by gently rolling hills. The hills and wonderful scenery, together with the relatively small amount of road traffic, make Abruzzo an ideal place for cycling enthusiasts. The slopes of Campo Imperatore and the Maielletta are just as testing as the mountain passes in the Dolomites for the fittest cyclists.

Exploring its landscape, visitors can discover the ancient lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the remains of Paestum and Velia, the enchanting islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida, and the delights of the Amalfi coast. The most "classic" routes through its islands and coasts are extremely well known, but they can be seen in a fresh light just by moving slightly inland from the sea to discover areas full of wonderful surprises. There are plenty of interesting routes for cyclists, although, with the exception of the Sele plains, all the other paths follow extremely difficult routes.

The unsurpassable beauty of nature stands out not only in the almost 800 kilometres of coastline lined with beautiful beaches and clear-blue sea, but also in the wilder mountainous areas. Calabria offers endless opportunities to practise this type of sport. Small paths that wind up the hills and mountains and the little roads along the coast are particularly charming and cycling along them will allow you to admire unique scenery in a quiet atmosphere far from the madding crowd.

Sardinia is the second biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's well known for the wild beauty of its beaches and for its mild weather. If you add that it rains during winter only you'll get a perfect-all year-riding place. The island doesn't have high mountains (max elev. 1842 m.) but the soil is rocky almost everywhere. The vegetation is the very characteristic Mediterranean bush and it's not so uncommon to find completely wild trails. Unmatched hospitality, excellent Italian food and wine, fascinating historical and cultural heritage, and beautiful coastal and mountain scenery make bicycling Sardinia unforgettable.

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal about rides, granfondos, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, etc. are very welcome. Contact me at There are more than 1,500 stories in this blog. The search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog and there is also a translate button at the bottom so you can translate each page. What I'm riding.

1 comment:

  1. Grazie, Angel(o) we couldn't have written it better ourselves! In 2011 CycleItalia will visit Piemonte, Liguria, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Campania, Umbria, Le Marche as well as (new for 2011) Sardegna, plus offer self-guided itineraries in Toscana and Piemonte. There's simply no better place on earth for a cyclist or cycling enthusiast than ITALIA! has all the details.