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Cycling in Italy

Cycling in Italy

Only cycling in Italy can take you from a stunning mountain climb to a quiet country road, along a car-free sandy coastline and into glitzy seaside resorts - all in the same day.

Italy’s appetite for cycling can be traced back to the beginning of the annual Giro d’Italia in 1909. Since then, the country has become known as the most popular cycling destination in Europe. The hobby is especially popular in Tuscany, Veneto and Lombardy.

The Mediterranean climate means cyclists can indulge all year round. Although, the months of April-May and September-October will ensure you don’t have to adapt too much to the weather. Water fountains can be found all over Italy, which is crucial for summer cyclists.

There’s no better place to begin your cycling journey than the location for the annual competition that started it all: the Dolomite National Park. Almost every road in the Dolomites is a well-ridden cycling route, taking the cyclist through incredible mountain scenery along a range of routes requiring different skill levels. Far more daring and experienced cyclists can try the Maratona dles Dolomites route, a tricky annual cycling race covering seven mountain passes.

Cyclists also have a worthy home in Tuscany. Tuscany, in central Italy, is home to many famous cyclists and Strade Bianche, the annual road bicycle race which takes in the white gravel roads of the Crete Senesin. In the countryside, marvel as you zip past olive groves and vineyards. Then take your throbbing legs to the healing waters of Ancient Roman hot springs Bagno Vignoni and Vivo d'Orcia.

Once you’ve cooled down, you can follow a coastal path to the Cinque Terre alongside the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian waters. This route from Levanto to La Spezia takes in a total of 40km. Or if you’re looking for something a lot quieter, the empty 159km Grand Tour della val di Merse will ensure you read in peace without bumping into a soul.

Similar solitary cycling can also be found along Liguria’s Cycling Riviera, an easy 24 km route down an old railway path - with no cars allowed. If you’d like to explore ancient Etruscan sites, caves and tunnels, Il Grand Tour della Maremma will help you to explore the ancient regions of Tuscany and Lazio. Be aware though, it takes you on over 5,000 km of elevation with some 20% inclines.

Elsewhere, the Italian lakes of Como and Garda offer fantastic cycling spots. The former features Passo del Ghisallo, a key hub for serious cyclists, as well as the Cycling Museum.

Il Lombardia is an annual 253km cycling race in Lombardy, departing from Bergamo and finishing in Como. It is a very demanding course, with very steep inclines and a thrilling sprint finish.

It is the second Italian race of ‘The Monuments’, five classic cycling races considered to be the most traditional, prestigious and toughest one-day events in the world of cycling. The other covers Milan to San Remo, a 115-year-old race referred to as La Primavera.

With masses of options in every region, there is no doubt Italy is the world’s number one choice for cycling.

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