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In the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi – gravel biking in Italy’s Umbria

guido gazzaniga

In the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi – gravel biking in Italy’s Umbria

Bike Touring Collection by guido gazzaniga

4

Tours

19:16 h

157 mi

12,700 ft

Umbria is known as the green heart of Italy. In its centre lies Assisi, a town that is both holy and rural at the same time. This is the land of St. Francis and the region is devoted to him. The nature is wonderful too: forests cover the surrounding hillsides, interspersed with vineyards and olive groves, while small villages dot the cultivated countryside. A maze of dirt roads stretch like veins through the landscapes. This Collection includes some of the best gravel routes in the area. There are easy and challenging routes, but all have as little tarmac as possible.

All Tours start from the Assisi train station, a good point to reach by public transport or to park your car. And then, the choice is yours: you can cross the plain to the west and visit the village of Bevagna with its medieval moat or ride further south to see Montefalco cycling through the vineyards.

You can also take on the 1,290-metre (4,230 ft) Monte Subasio as the Tour shows one of the best gravel routes to its summit. Or you can follow the ancient Via Flaminia, built by the Romans in 220 BC, that runs through the valley of Gualdo Tadino.

You can’t go wrong here; every corner is worth a visit and its variety is truly surprising. The region is sparsely populated and gives you a glimpse of rare, untouched natural beauty.
When you meet a local person, it is worth talking to them to understand how much the people who live in this region love their land and traditions. This is probably one of the reasons why the food is so good.

Tours are possible year round, but spring and autumn are definitely best. It can be a little too hot in the height of summer and snowfall is common in winter. All in all, however, the weather is mild.

You’ll find water, grocery shops, bars and even restaurants in every village you pass through.

However, specialised bike shops are few and far between along the route, so I suggest you take along everything you need for emergency repairs. But don't waste any time, it's time to pedal!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Loop 1: Assisi, Foligno, Montefalco, Bevagna – gravel in Umbria Loop 1: Assisi, Foligno, Montefalco, Bevagna – gravel in Umbria

    Difficult
    05:29
    48.7 mi
    8.9 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This tour takes place entirely in the plain of Assisi and leads to other towns and cities of this fantastic territory. You can have a coffee in the Foligno square, enjoy the view from Montefalco or immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere of Bevagna.

    

    Most of the route is flat, however I advise you

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  • Intermediate
    03:07
    27.5 mi
    8.8 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate gravel ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Assisi the tour first follows the course of the Tescio river and then continues on the banks of the Chiascio among olive groves and oak trees, on singletrack or dirt road. This stretch is very pleasant and has numerous natural views and rest areas. On weekends it can be busier with pedestrians

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  • Difficult
    03:56
    27.8 mi
    7.1 mph
    4,050 ft
    4,050 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Assisi rises on the slopes of Mount Subasio. This peak of 1,290 meters above sea level has always been a popular destination for those who love sports and the mountains. From the summit you can appreciate the westward view over the Assisi valley to Lake Trasimeno and, on clear days, to Monte Amiata

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  • Difficult
    06:44
    52.7 mi
    7.8 mph
    5,275 ft
    5,275 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This tour takes you to discover the area east of Assisi, beyond the first Apennine reliefs up to the Gualdo Tadino Valley.

    

    The climb to the Valico di Montemezzo is on an asphalted road with little traffic. The descent takes place on secondary roads, including dirt roads. The Valle di Gualdo offers many

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    157 mi
  • Duration
    19:16 h
  • Elevation
    12,700 ft

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