How many times have you thought of planning a cycling holiday in Italy and become spellbound by the most popular destinations, such as Tuscany, the Dolomites or Lake Garda? Classic destinations, world-famous destinations, destinations that inhabit the imagination of every tourist, despite the differing reasons for the trip. But don’t despair, today we’ll help you uncover, or rediscover, three destinations not widely known to cyclists, but which are just as good as the aforementioned giants. That’s why you should include them on your holiday wish list.
You don’t believe it? Keep reading and you’ll be surprised!
This destination’s strong point is the variety of landscapes. It isn’t by chance that the region’s emblem is an Italic shield divided into three transverse bands: white, like the snow-capped mountain peaks; green, like the gentle inland hills, and blue, like the sea.
It’s located in the heart of Italy, with its untamed mountains, isolated roads and luxuriant nature, as well as long-standing traditions, whose ancient charm and excellent regional cuisine remain unchanged. Abruzzo on two wheels is named after two climbs that are must-haves in your cycling passport: Campo Imperatore and Blockhaus.
Campo Imperatore Climb
Campo Imperatore is a steady climb that requires maximum concentration. Despite the gentle gradients, its generous width, few bends, long straight stretches and numerous open tracts, the road doesn’t give the impression of going uphill. But rest assured that the gradients remain at a constant 6-8% and the climb is long: 37.8 km. It's the last 6-7 kilometres that put you to the test; it was here, where gradients reach double digits, that il Pirata Marco Pantani launched his deadly attacks.
Blockhaus is located in the heart of the Majella National Park, and is one of the most challenging climbs, not only in southern Italy but also in Europe. Included in the 1967 Giro d'Italia, Blockhaus is a blind ascent: only one face, but 3 possible ways up (from Lettomanoppello, from Roccamorice and from Fara Filiorium Petri).
The real challenge posed by this mountain is the elevation gain: about 2,000 metres over 22 kilometres, which is why it isn’t an easy climb. Almost impossible to read but capable of producing epic endeavours, such as Eddy Mercks' first Giro d'Italia victory. In fact, it was here that the Cannibal let everyone know that climbs didn’t frighten him.
Rome and surrounding hills
Thousands of tour guides can inform you about the Eternal City better than us. Inner-city cycling isn’t the best, even if it’s Rome. We want to take you to the surrounding areas, to Rome’s hills, whose history is made up of ancient populations, struggles, battles, popes and invasions of all kinds.
In the calm of its castles, Rome experiences a sense of peace from the natural landscape only a few kilometres away, consisting of lakes and gently rolling hills above the plain. In fact, the tours of the lakes are the most popular with cyclists in the area, such as the tour of Lake Bolsena, or that of Bracciano or that of Vico.
Throw away your watches, forget about stress.
It’s not easy to describe Sicily in a few lines: the little bays, the sea that is tinged with unexpected hues of green and blue, the sharp cliffs that separate the various beaches and the Mediterranean scrub that seems to dive into the sea. Sicily offers different levels of excitement, to be savoured with a sense of privilege as you ride your bike. This is the only place where you have the chance to climb the highest volcano in Europe (Etna), to cycle among historical monuments or to go on a cycling trip immersed in the flavours afforded by the Erice wine route through Erice, Trapani, Segesta and Mozia. By road bike or mountain bike, a trip through Sicily will heighten your most intense appetites; you’ll never want to leave.
© All rights reserved