This year, I’ll be pedaling on an 11-day bike ride across Italy.
I’ve signed up for the famous “Ciclismo Classico,” a coast-to-coast bicycling tour across the heartland of Italy. The tour winds through the country’s many medieval villages. The route begins from the Pesaro to the Costa d’Argento and passes through Le Marche, Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany–each of these regions is celebrated for its gorgeous terrains and delicious food.
Pesaro is known for its castles and gardens. not to mention its waterfront views. Le Marche is known for its beaches, cliffs and coves. Umbria is wine country with lush green forests. Then, right in the Lazio region, there’s Rome, Italy’s capital. Then, of course, Tuscany is the site of the beautiful Renaissance-era art and architecture that’s been imprinted on our memories over the years.
Italy is celebrated for its rich history and stunning panoramas. Along the tour, I’ll witness the Grotte di Frasassi, Italy’s largest cave system. Located in f Genga, Italy (which is Ancona, the largest city in Le Marche). The caves were slowly discovered beginning in 1948. They’ve only been open to the public since around 1974, when an artificial tunnel was built inside. A legendary Italian production designer, Cesarini da Senigallia, was then commissioned to, literally, enlighten the caves. You can see the stunning result for yourself in this video.
On day 3 of the tour, there’s a challenging climb to see the Monastery of Fonte Avellana, which was once a secluded religious community that is now the site of a library, a nearby cloister, and a monastic house. The blog Green Holiday Italy has a lovely, lengthy description about a visit that the writers made there in 2014. They describe it as follows:
After dinner, we were offered a tour of Fonte Avellana. Brother Cesare, who had lived in the monastery for twelve years, spoke in a low gentle voice telling us its story. A small group of hermits seeking quietude for their spiritual practices founded Fonte Avellana in the 10th century. It grew over time becoming an important centre of the Benedictine monastic order. The monks here made parchments from sheepskins and copied ancient Latin and Greek manuscripts. The scriptorium room where they worked is one of a few in Italy that have remained unchanged by time, undamaged by earthquakes and bombardments during the Second World War. The monastery was renovated a few years ago with utmost attention to historic details and many original details such an 11th century cloister, frescoes, some ceilings and floors were brought back to their original glory.
On Day 7, the tour goes to Todi. The terrain: Rolling farmland. But there will be another climb, too. This time to Montefalco, where we can expect to see olive groves and vineyards. Legend has it that the approach to Todi is the best part. It’s a descent toward the town’s soaring steeple.