Welcome to Northern Italy, a place where you can glide through beautiful landscapes, roll on perfect asphalt, push yourself up epic climbs and enjoy the long way back down. Welcome to the home of cappuccino and gelato, of stunning panoramic views of the Alps — of turquoise waters and perfect weather. And the perfect conditions for road cyclists.
Northern Italy has long since been considered the El Dorado of road cycling. Having been the venue of the spectacular Giro d'Italia several times, it's no wonder this place comes with quite the reputation. And with its green, undulating hills, charming apple orchards and mile after mile of gentle climbs — it delivers on its promise over and over again.
Every story has two sides, however, and Northern Italy is no different. It can also be a little rough here, with 16 percent inclines and asphalt that gets baked to temperatures exceeding 60 degrees. Some of the downhill runs might even set your brakes on fire — so ensure you pack some spare kit.
To help you see the best of this region, we have put together a seven-day ride for you that takes you from Bolzano to La Spezia near Cinque Terre. Covering a little more than 310 miles (500 kilometers), you'll roll along the idyllic Lago d'Iseo, indulge in a whole lot of espresso, and conquer some serious elevation gain. In the route, we have included three beautiful passes for you to enjoy, sections that will make all of the hard pedaling more than worthwhile as you gaze out over the mountain on the one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other.
After arrival by train or car we start! Over the next seven days, you'll find just over 500 kilometers, three passes, a lake, the Mediterranean, seafood restaurants and, of course, the obligatory espressos that are part of the standard repertoire on every road bike tour. Here in Italy they are especially good!Start is in the capital of South Tyrol: Bolzano. On a perfectly developed bike path you cycle first to Merano and on to Schlanders. Since the arrival is due on the first day in the morning, we consciously chose the route a bit shorter: a good 70 kilometers to get in and get warm. After a long dinner, you should go to sleep early. Day two is approaching - Stelvio - the queen of the Alpine passes.
Today will be a fantastic day. The racing bike Eldorado of South Tyrol has so much to offer. From beautiful bike paths through the lush apple orchards on mountain roads on which there is a lot of racing machines à la Pinarello, S-Works and Bianchi, to fast descents that scratch the 16% mark.The first 30 kilometers from Schlanders to Gomagoi are getting warm. Here you should save your energy and keep the crank frequency constantly low. The overtaking maneuvers send themselves better anyway in the last turns on the pass. You'll see her soon, too. The first of a total of 46 bends. Numbered in reverse order. The first part of Prad to Trafoi is almost completely in the forest. As soon as you reach the tree line, you soon see the Franzeshöhe. Apple strudel and espressi give you enough strength for the following turns. At the top you will forget all the troubles. The fantastic view over the Ortler Group, the atmosphere and the smell of grilled catapult you into the seventh heaven. Good job! And after a fast descent you will end up in the skier paradise Bormio.
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Double Pass! After the Highest of Italy follows on the day three the hardest. A maximum incline of 16% and in tow luggages for a week, your legs say it's not working anymore, yet your head switches to working mode and looking up you roll off the crank laps.Once you arrive at the top, a real holiday paradise awaits you. Many Italians come here to picnic or just enjoy the sun. With a jealous glimpse of you and your bike. The descent into beautiful Edolo is one of the things you just had to do. Nearly 1,000 meters downhill on a distance of about 20 kilometers. All efforts have been worthwhile. But something from!
After the two Passtagen it is now cozy again. Another dream route to Lake Iseo. Since today only about 60 kilometers are announced with a large proportion of downhill ride, you should arrive at noon on Lake Iseo. Highlight of the day: Gelato am See with a subsequent dip into the refreshing water.
Day five has begun. I hope you are well rested, because it is the longest leg of the tour. Through the Po Valley you cycle over 100 kilometers. Thankfully with less altitude and mostly complete calm. Therefore, the length should not be a problem. In the town of Cremona, known to the Stradivari family of violin makers, you can take a tour around the Torrazzo bell tower and the Duomo. You will notice that the climate here is already very different than four days earlier in Bolzano. Dry hot air and bright asphalt will demand a lot of power on this day as well. Persevere, because your destination, the sea, is only two nights away.
Day six has dawned. After the last days in flat plains the favorite discipline of many cyclists is announced today - pass road. The Passo Della Cisa over the Apennines. An advantage of this about 18 kilometers long pass are the missing cars. The cause is the parallel highway and the fact that hardly any people live between Pontremoli and the pass, so that only a negligible amount of local residents. OK then!Once at the top, you can already look forward to the descent. With proper flow and on a road that has been recently tarred, you will be traveling about 20 kilometers with a drop in altitude of 800hm. Do not be surprised if you can not suppress the grin on the entire route to Pontremoli. This is completely normal here.
Faster than expected, he is already broken. Day seven and thus the last tour. You start with a very winding section in the sparsely populated area near Zeri. From curve to curve, you will notice how not only the flow increases, but also the salty sea smell is getting stronger. In the early afternoon you should already have taken a beach chair by the sea and keep the deserved Moretti beer in the air. After a week, you are finally at the destination.If necessary, you can add another day or two to visit the beautiful Cinque Terre region in a classic tourist manner. Regardless of whether the journey is by racer or by train. You have absolutely earned the bathing in the sea. Best place to do so: Monterossa.