Hard Routes

Rises, abbeys and castles on the Monti Martani

The itinerary exits Spoleto in the direction of Castel Ritaldi and lies almost entirely within the area of the Monti Martani, passing through hamlets by the great charm and interest, such as Colle del Marchese, Giano dell’Umbria, Castagnola, Massa Martana and Acquasparta.
The charm of the villages is paralleled by the beauty of landscapes crossed, from mild hills covered by vineyards, olive trees and cultivated fields in the first leg, and thick wood and forest in the second one.
The route does not include extremely hard rises, yet its difficulty lies in the almost total absence of the flat: the route’s 83 km in fact feature a neverending series of ups and downs, with the rises to  Castel Ritaldi, Colle del Marchese, Giano dell’Umbria, Viepri and Firenzuola that must be faced one after the other. The only flat stretch is at the start of the route, as you get out from Spoleto on viale Marconi, head out to the villages of Protte, Beroide and Castel San Giovanni. Once in La Bruna, the first short rise starts, leading to Castel Ritaldi. Past this historical settlement, you start going down and, at the roundabout, you go straight ahead, passing the Pieve di San Gregorio; then the rise starts again toward Torregrosso and Colle del Marchese, among olive groves and corn fields, with a splendid view on the Umbrian Valley and the Monti Martani. At the end of the descent, in Bivio Moscardini, you take the left in the direction of Giano dell’Umbria, where you arrive after overcoming a 4.5-km-long inclines by the 5-7% gradient.

You then go on in the direction of Castagnola, the castle of which passes by through a winding road at the foot of Monte Martano. At the crossing with the road SS316, you turn to the left toward Massa Martana. Then the road starts climbing up again mildly, till the Viepri Pass, after which you go down to Massa Martana, awarded one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
You then keep on going down flanking the remains of the ancient Via Flamina till Massa Martana Scalo, where you can turn to the left toward Acquasparta. There, following the directions to Spoleto, you take the road SR418 and start the most demanding rise of the day, that in 7 km in the wood leads to the Firenzuola Pass.
After the pass, the last leg of the journey includes the descent and the last 10 km on the flat to Spoleto.

Climbing up to Pettino, among olive trees, pasture and forest

This route is not very long, yet it is very hard because of the two long, steep rises included, to Pettino and to the Spina Pass.
Though just a few km away from Spoleto, the atmosphere of this route is mostly alpine, particularly by the 1,000-m-high Pettino’s Plateau, where you arrive after a rise of 15 km through the wood. All the rest of the route curls among mountains, pasture and forest, in an atmosphere of peace and serenity, crossing isolated groups of houses that dot the valleys.
The first leg of the route, to San Giacomo, retraces the easy route “San Giacomo and the hills around Spoleto”, but while in the central square in San Giacomo, you turn to the right in via Norvegia; after the railroad crossing, you go on straight agead in the direction of Poreta. When in Poreta (up above on the right there’s the castle) you start the long rise to Pettino,on a wide, panoramic road first, that gets more and more narrow, winding and deep in the wood as you gradually approach the top.

You pass by the extraordinary fortified settlement of Campello Alto (that you may visit with a short divertion to the left) then keep going up to Pettino. Here, as the road exits the wood, all at once you enjoy an extraordinary panorama, a typical mountain one, on the surrounding valleys and mounts. A long descent then begins toward Foligno, till the crossing with the road SS 319, that you take to the right, toward Cascia. For a little while you pedal on the thalweg, till you find the intersection to Terni and turn to the right; the road soon starts climbing up again toward the Spina Pass.
At first the rise is mild and constant; but when in Piè di Cammoro (see the beautiful hamlet of Cammoro on the right), it gets harsher. At the Spina Pass on top, you can go down again toward Spoleto, passing through Spina, Passo d’Acera and Fabbreria. At the end of the descent and just before the road SS3 Flaminia, you turn to the left, direction Cortaccione and from here, in a few km, you’re back in town. Just before turning to the left toward Cortaccione, you may make a divertion to the left to go and see (1.5 km), to then return and retrace the previous road to Spoleto.

Through woods and nature in the Valnerina

With its 82 km and 1,800 m of elevation gain, this is possibly the hardest route, that can only be faced by properly trained cyclists.
Evidence of the route’s harshness are the five rises featured: Passo Spina, Valico del Soglio, Cerreto di Spoleto, Meggiano and Forca di Cerro. The rises are actually not that steep (exception: Meggiano), but their tight sequence makes them harder than they are. But the beauty of the places along the way, magnificent forests, fortified hamlets, churches, castles and abbeys, will be the adequate reward of all efforts undertaken.

You exit Spoleto in the direction of San Giacomo; when in Madonna di Lugo, you turn to the right in the direction of Cortaccione. Once skipped the divertion to the right that leads to Eggi, the rise to the Spina Pass begins: it is a regular, mild ascent, but quite long, that climbs the valley and becomes winding and more difficult in the last 2 km. After reaching the Spina Pass, you start going down toward the vally below, crossing small, isolated groups of houses; after the small hamlet of Terne (there’s a small fountain on the right) you take the road SS319 to the right and start climbing up again toward Valico del Soglio (Soglio Pass).
Past the pass, a long, winding descent begins, that finishes at the foot of Cerreto di Spoleto, to reach which, you need to face another 3-km-long rise.
After admiring the nice view on the Valnerina, you start going down toward Borgo Cerreto. There, you turn to the right and start the harshest rise of the day, toward Meggiano: the first two km are the most demanding (10% gradient), while after the church of Madonna di Costantinopoli and the small hamlet of Collesoglio, the gradient gets milder and allow for admiring the breathtaking views on the Valnerina and surrounding mountains. The last leg is a slight slope, halfway up the hill.

Wnen in Meggiano, you go down straight ahead till the crossing with the road SS 395, where you turn to the right and face the last 5-km rise, till Forca di Cerro. From here, a last 10-km descent leads you back to Spoleto.

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