Mountain and forest trails, routes overlooking the sea and bike parks at high altitude. Italy is one of the most popular destinations among mountain bike enthusiasts from all parts of the world. The variety of scenery from north to south, the rich culinary tradition of each region and the pleasant climate of Italy are in fact the perfect ingredients for unforgettable off-road adventures – as an off-road tour in Italy is not simply sport, but the experience of a lifetime! In this section we list some tips for planning exciting trips by mountain bike in Italy. Choose your destination, fun is guaranteed!
Right in the heart of the Lombardy Alps at an altitude of over 1800 metres, Livigno is the ideal starting point to explore Alta Valtellina. Mottolino and Carosello are two places that any bike enthusiast should see. Very popular among freeriders from all over Europe, the Mottolino bike park features 14 trails with different levels of difficulty, modern ski lifts and breathtaking views. If you want to experience the thrill of cycling at 3000 metres of altitude, choose the Carosello bike park, famous for its flow trails and its spectacular alpine setting. In Livigno you will also find enduro MTB trails such as those of Val Federia and Valle delle Mine.
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Surrounded by the imposing peaks of Unesco heritage mountains, the trails in this region are well marked and suitable for riders of all levels. For those who really want to challenge themselves and take on an epic ride, we recommend the Stoneman Trail with a length of 120 km, 4000 metres of elevation gain and 5 stamps to be collected at the various check points. Also, you can tackle the Sellaronda circuit in the Dolomites. This “classic” route is suitable for all levels, it can be tackled both clockwise and counter-clockwise (we recommend the latter for experts) and allows you to ride while enjoying the spectacular view of the Sella massif.
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Rome and the Apennines
As characteristic and scenic as the Alps, the Apennines feature many unspoilt trails suitable for those who really love adventure – especially on a mountain bike. One of the most picturesque routes is the one which goes from Campocatino to Fiuggi. 25 km of challenging off-road cycling between open dirt roads and single-track trails in the undergrowth with over 1400 m of descent and pure adrenaline. Those who want to cycle on an easier trail, can choose the route which goes from Fiuggi to Lake Canterno: 36 km of pleasant trails between chestnut woods and cycle paths.
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If you happen to be in Piedmont, you really need to go for a ride in Monferrato. Here you will find several trails suitable for mountain biking, among green hills and expanses of vineyards for as far as the eye can see. For beginners, we recommend the loop route which starts from Vignale Monferrato: 25 km along a wonderful maze of dirt roads to discover the Unesco site of Monferrato Casalese. If instead you are seeking for more than a thrill, we suggest the Enduro dei 3 Fiumi trail along the route of a famous enduro race which takes place in the hills between Monferrato and the Apennines. Those who love off-road cycling, can enjoy the many hairpin bends, rocks and single-track trails along canals among the woods of the Erro and Bormida Valleys.
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Liguria & Finale
If you love the sea, the mountains and mountain biking, there is no other destination that can satisfy you as much as Liguria. Here you will discover the pleasure of tackling mule tracks, dirt roads and single track trails in an enchanting scenery, nestled between beaches and mountains. Just like the ancient Salt Road which goes from the mountains of Limone (Piedmont) to Sanremo, an entirely off-road trail which in the Medieval ages was used for trade exchange. Finale Ligure instead is a real paradise for free-riding enthusiasts from all parts of Europe. This area features hundreds of kilometres of off-road trails between the sea and the mountains, as well as the possibility of cycling all year round thanks to its mild climate.
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Island of Elba
Rugged scenery, a mild climate and hundreds of kilometres of single track trails make the Island of Elba one of the most popular destinations among mountain-bike enthusiasts. Mount Perone, Mount Calamita and Cape Fonza are just some of the many trails available to enduro and freeride enthusiasts on this island of the Tuscan Archipelago. Here you can venture off on amazing trails surrounded by Mediterranean scrub among an explosion of colours and smells that you will only be able to find in the Mediterranean.
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Vast expanses of olive trees, trulli and farms is what awaits you when you explore inland Apulia by mountain bike. We recommend in particular doing the Loop ride of the Masserie, a route which from the plateau of Castellana Grotte goes to the sea. The colours, the light and flavours of Apulia will win your heart. Make sure you stop at one of the masserie (typical farmhouses) to taste local products such as olive oil and cheese. A tour by mountain bike in Italy is never complete without a delicious lunch break!
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Bormio e Stelvio
Would you like to go for a ride on dirt roads and trails winding through woods and Alpine landscapes? Nestled between Upper Lombardy and Trentino-South Tyrol, Stelvio National Park is the right place for you! We especially suggest the loop route which from Bormio goes to the Fraele towers. This is a demanding but not an impossible route, ideal for experiencing a day of off-road adrenaline and discovering trails that were the setting of some episodes of World War I in this area. The tour of Val Zebrù instead is suitable for cyclists of all levels and offers the opportunity to explore Stelvio National Park admiring the local fauna and flora in complete safety. The icing on the cake? Having lunch at the Baita del Pastore at an altitude of over 2000 metres.
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Apennines – Abruzzo
If you are an experienced biker looking for an adventure among uncontaminated nature, we recommend a trip to Abruzzo. A destination still little known to mass tourism, this region offers unspoilt nature, off-beaten trails and breathtaking views. The mountain bike route which goes from Giulianova to Tortoreto is only suitable for well-trained riders with good legs and lungs: an elevation gain of 650 m in just 28 km offers a real challenge for mountain bikers. If you love riding on dirt roads and cart tracks, you will find many suitable cross-country routes in the surroundings of Giulianova.
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Famous for its lush woods, Umbria is one of the most popular destinations among mountain bike enthusiasts. It only takes one trip to fall in love with its unspoilt nature and sacred places such as the Sacred Wood of Monteluco. This off-road tour departs from the Convent of San Francesco: from here you will have to tackle 25 km of demanding single-track trails with a cumulative elevation gain of over 1000. You will need the help of an e-MTB or very well trained legs. If instead you prefer a more simple but still suggestive route, we recommend the stony trails and dirt roads which from Foligno go to the Convent of San Bartolomeo.
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