Total tour distance: 125 miles
Daily tour distance: 21 miles
Difficulty: 30 / 100
This is cycling on quiet country roads among the colourful fields, with a beautiful backdrop of hills covered with silver-green olive groves and fertile vineyards. Umbria has been praised for its pure beauty since Roman times, because of its greenness, many lakes, rivers, refreshing springs, mountain streams and waterfalls. This not-too-strenuous cycle tour since it take place mainly in the valley with only a few rolling parts will bring you to lively, medieval villages and towns of the green valley 'Valle Umbra', such as Assisi, Spello, Foligno, Spoleto, Bevagna and Perugia. Thanks to the reduced daily distances you will have enough time to visit these towns.
The tour starts and finishes close to Assisi, which rises on a mountainous branch of the Monte Subasio, and its highest point, where the castle is located, is 505m a.s.l.. This beautiful pilgrimage town with its narrow alleys, cosy squares and many medieval monuments will make an unforgettable impression. On the first day the scenic route winds its way through the fertile valley till Campello sul Clitunno, famous for its refreshing springs, immersed in an enchanting oasis of peace. The second day you will make a short circular tour among olive groves to Spoleto, so you will have enough time to visit this interesting town, full of life, with many squares, lovely little streets and a lot of sights to visit, such as the Duomo with the frescoes of the Florentine painter Filippo Lippi, the Roman Theatre and the medieval bridge and aqueduct Ponte delle Torri. The second part of the tour will bring you to Torgiano and Perugia, the capital of the province, with its solemn Renaissance palaces, museums, impressive churches and tightly winding shopping streets. A short ride along the quiet country roads of the valley will bring you back to Assisi, which you will already see from afar.
Programme in short:
Day 1 Arrival in Assisi
Collect cycles, route briefing and instruction.
The tour starts near the Middle Age city of Assisi, the pilgrims’ town built against the slopes of Mount Subasio. Many monuments have been erected here in honour of the saints Francis and Clare.
Day 2 Cycling to Bovara passing medieval Spello (37 km)
You leave your hotel and cycle along the slopes of Mount Subasio to Spello. There is enough time this morning to wander around this charming ancient town, pleasantly situated on the southern slopes of Mount Subasio. In urban, architectural and artistic terms, Spello is an extremely interesting town, containing many features dating back to the Roman and medieval times. After Spello you descend to Foligno, which is in the valley. You pass along the main square with its beautiful ‘duomo’ which still has a Romanesque façade. Continuing along the lively main shopping street you will leave the town to cycle the last kms of your route, across the fertile valley with its colourful fields and various waterways. Your country house is situated in the village of Bovara
Day 3 Visiting Spoleto. Overnight stay in Bovara (38 km)
This morning a short tour among olive groves will take you to Spoleto. You can already see Spoleto from afar, with its castle dominating the hilltop on which the medieval part of the town is built. The centre is still largely inside the medieval town walls. There is a lot to see in Spoleto, including the cathedral with its famous frescoes by the Florentine painter Filippo Lippi, the Roman house and the Roman theatre with an annexed archaeological museum. Leaving Spoleto you cycle among the fields back to Bovara
Day 4 Cycling to Torgiano passing the wine-town Montefalco and medieval
Bevagna (53 kms)
Biking through a slightly undulating landscape you will already see Montefalco from a distance. At the foot of this town you have the option to continue along the valley directly to Bevagna or to visit Montefalco… but to reach this lovely town you first have to conquer a steep climb. Montefalco (472 m a.s.l.) is also known as the ‘balcony of Umbria’, because of the fantastic panorama. The Franciscan church, now a museum, is decorated with magnificent 15th and 16th century frescoes by artists such as Benozzo Gozzoli and Perugino. Montefalco is well-known for its excellent wines, Rosso di Montefalco d.o.c. and Sagrantino d.o.c.g , produced on the sunny slopes around the town, and of course it is almost impossible to leave the town without tasting them in one of the many wine bars.
From Montefalco you go downhill to Bevagna. This town has a lovely medieval square with a fountain and two Romanesque churches. The square is a real meeting place for the friendly inhabitants of the town. After a last hill you will reach Torgiano, at the confluence of the rivers Chiascio and Tiber (Tevere). Your hotel is in the quiet town centre
Day 5 Cycling tour in surroundings (47 or 33 km) of Torgiano or to Perugia
(24 km). Overnight stay in Torgiano
Today you can choose between two circular routes:
Visiting Perugia (24 km)
This trip takes you to the neighbouring town of Perugia, which is the capital of the province. A short cycle tour takes you to the station in Ponte S.Giovanni at the foot of Perugia. From here a local train will take you into the historical centre of Perugia. The centre, with its little alleys and characteristic town squares, is a lively vibrant place. The renaissance palaces, medieval churches, museums and many galleries will make a lasting impression. After your visit you return by train and bike to the peaceful, hospitable town of Torgiano.
A trip in the surroundings of Torgiano (33 or 47 km)
Close to Torgiano (6 km) is the village of Deruta which has, in part, managed to retain the highly distinctive features of its medieval buildings. Deruta is universally famous for its ceramics. The origins of this ancient art go back as far as the Etruscan times and nowadays the many local workshops still make excellent quality ceramics. Numerous Italian and foreign museums have pieces of Deruta ceramics on show, including the Victoria and Albert Museum. The town hall hosts the art gallery and the ceramics museum. The next stop is the sanctuary of Madonna dei Bagni, which has built after a miracle, which took place in the year 1657. Inside the church there are more then 600 votive tiles, all testimony to the tradition of the Deruta ceramics. Cycling through a beautiful hilly landscape you pass typical Umbrian hamlets like Casalalta. Your cycle back to Torgiano is through the Tiber valley. Torgiano, like Montefalco, is famous for its excellent red and white wines and when you have you can visit the interesting wine museum. Next to the museum you can taste the wines of the Lungarotti family in the ‘osteria’.
Day 6 Cycling to Assisi (26 km)
Today you will cross the valley, cycling on quiet country roads. You will already see Assisi from afar as, like many other Umbrian towns, it is built on a hilltop. Before reaching Assisi, however, you can stop for a moment to visit the Franciscan basilica in S.Maria degli Angeli. Under its impressive dome still lies the humble little chapel ‘Porziuncola’ where Saint Francis came to pray.
To reach the beautiful historical centre of Assisi you have to make a short steep climb, but wandering through the town you will agree that it was worth the effort. You will have enough time to visit the main monuments of the town, like the basilica of Saint Francis with its beautiful frescoes by the painters Giotto, Simone Martini, Cimabue and Pietro Lorenzetti.
Day 7 departure