Cycling for Peace
9 days 8 nights
7 nights Half Board and 1 night B&B
from £1,398 per person (sharing a twin/double room)
Guided: minimum 6 people
5 - 13 June 2016 and 28 August - 5 September 2016
Custom dates for groups of 6 or more
6 Stages / 1 Rest day
Total distance: 439 km Total climb 6700 mts
average mileage: 73 km/day
average climb: 1100 mts/day
The bicycle is a strong candidate for the 2016 Nobel peace prize. 2016 is also the year of the extraordinary Jubilee called by Pope Francis. We thought to combine these two events with a tour that sends our own small but ‘much-suffered in sweat’ message of peace. All roads lead to Rome but we won’t take the easy one: starting from the Adriatic coast, the central Apennines stand between us and the sight of the Eternal City. The journey won’t be boring as the terrain is rugged, the climbs long and steady but requiring your full attention on the twisted descents. The scenery is a medley of medieval stone villages and family farms nestled in greenery and meadows in bloom. We will come across some remarkable Abbeys and Holy landmarks. They may not possess the quality of the most acclaimed sacred architecture but it is within their flaws and modesty that it is easier to spot humanity.
our price Includes:
- 7 nights Half Board accommodation in Agriturismo and 3 star hotel
- 1 night B&B accommodation in 4 star hotel
- Transfer from Pescara airport (arrival only)
- Baggage transfers throughout the tour
- On-call assistance
- Daily maps and cue sheets
- Cycling guide
- Full van support throughout the tour
We meet you at the airport in Pescara for transfer to Fossacesia Marina. After checking in we take a 10 km test ride to the XIII C Abbey overlooking the gulf and far beyond. A welcome dinner will be prepared for us at the 4 star hotel located on the beach.
Stage 1: Fossacesia-Manoppello 68 km - 1350 mts
We leave the coast and head west riding gentle hills dotted by olive trees and vineyards. We come across the Sanctuary of the Miracle in Lanciano before stopping in Castelfrentano for a taste of its mouth-watering pastries. A short climb takes us to Guardiagrele, celebrated for its artisans, charming town centre and views ranging from mountain to sea. Above the many palaces and churches towers the Cathedral with its splendid XIV century façade. We ride into the Maiella National Park and summit in Pretoro. A long downhill journey will lead us to Serramonacesca where we can admire the Abbey of S. Liberatore a Maiella whose origins date back to Charlemagne. Our ride ends in Manoppello. Its Sanctuary of the Volto Santo holds the ‘Veronica’, a veil on which the face of Jesus remained impressed. We overnight a short distance away in a fine Agriturismo with swimming pool.
Stage 2: Manoppello - Loreto Aprutino 67 km - 1100 mts
After a few easy miles we stop in Torre dei Passeri for a visit to the Abbey of S. Clemente a Casauria, founded in 871 and containing art treasures testifying the historical importance of this now remote crossroad. The course gets hilly as we enter wine country through quiet backroads. We will cycle passed gems like the church of Madonna delle Grazie before reaching Cepagatti where old houses and alleys have been painted to illustrate episodes and characters of the town’s history. After Pianella and a fter a few more km we can admire the skyline of Loreto Aprutino where our ride ends. Pianella and Loreto are part of the ‘Golden Triangle’, an area that produces an extraordinary quality of extravirgin olive oil. The Agriturismo where we will be staying is ranked amongst its best producers.
Stage 3: Loreto - Montorio al Vomano 84 km - 1300 mts
Today the rolling ride will continue through countryside, interrupted by two of the finest towns in the area: Penne and Atri. A detour across their rich town centres is a must. From Atri a long downhill leads to the Vomano river valley where two splendid XII C Romanic abbeys are located: S. Maria di Propezzano and S. Clemente al Vomano. The second half of the ride follows the Vomano valley road to Montorio al Vomano where we will be accommodated for 3 nights in a 3 star hotel. The county of Teramo is arguably the best for traditional cuisine so a well-deserved exquisite dinner will await us.
Stage 4: Montorio al Vomano - L'Aquila 62 km - 1350 mts
Today we ride on the SS80, the old National road connecting the Adriatic coast to L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo. The fast motorway that replaced it makes this old road free from car traffic and, following the Vomano river, it is now a paradise for cycling. After a few kms we will find ourselves in a deep canyon flanked by the rocky walls of the Gran Sasso range on one side and the Laga Mountains on the other. A couple of hamlets mark the route securing a comfortable ride. The setting is beautiful but the road points up for 30 km so there will be elation when we reach the open pastures of Passo Capannelle, the highest point of the tour. A rewarding but twisted descent on the other side will require maximum attention. Our 3 star hotel is in the city centre of L’Aquila.
Nearly annihilated in 2009 by a tragic earthquake, L’Aquila is very slowly undergoing a full reconstruction. The city is renowned for its 99, centuries old churches and ‘piazzas’ but entry is allowed to but a few that have been repaired. The roof of its monumental S. Maria di Collemaggio collapsed, the Basilica now beneath a glass dome but the superb façade is a joy to admire. Here is the world’s first ‘Porta Santa’ (Holy Door). The monumental portal is open only in Jubilee years and its crossing grants indulgence. The remains of Pietro da Morrone elected Pope Celestino V in 1294, rest in this very basilica. A hermit from the mountains of Abruzzo, Pietro is considered by many a hero, famed for his disgust for the conjures and corruption of Rome, resigning after only 4 months. The ‘Great Refusal’ by Celestino V was the only time that a Pope had resigned until just recently.
Stage 5: L'Aquila - Poggio Catino 88 km - 1100 mts
Reinvigorated by our rest day, we begin the longest stage of the tour with an easy climb to Sella di Corno. At the top we cross the border of Latium, descend to Antrodoco then turn onto the SS4 to follow the course of the old Roman road along the Velino river. The road is rather flat until we reach Rieti for our lunch break. Along our way we pass the XIII C Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo immersed in a centuries old oak forest that was once the stage for legendary episodes from the life and times of St.Francis. The road will point upward within the greenery of the Sabina hills that ends with a long descent, taking us to a charming medieval village where we spend the night in a 4 star hotel with swimming pool.
Stage 6: Poggio Catino - Roma S.Pietro 70 km - 500 mts
We resume our ride in Sabina crossing Poggio Mirteto and Montopoli. For many centuries this area was under the rule of the powerful Abbey of Farfa and a short detour will take us to the Benedictine abbey. Founded in the VII century, during its maximum splendour it owned more than 300 villages and was an authentic powerhouse, often in opposition to the pope. Amid the many treasures, today’s monks live according to the simplicity, spirituality and peacefulness of the Benedictine order. We cross the Tiber river and cycle along the banks until we enter the Eternal City. We emerge at Castel S.Angelo, the once much feared papal prison, to see the dome of St. Peter’s at the end of the boulevard. Our 3 star hotel is near Villa Pamphili. Tonight’s dinner is not included but you will have ample choice at every corner whilst marveling at the city’s astounding beauty as you choose your dining venue.
On request, the hotel will provide shuttle service to the airport in Rome.
- Lunches, beverages and dinner on the last night
- Single room supplement of £216
- Transfer to airport in Rome
- Bike hire: from £168 (includes cycle computer, repair kit, pump, lock)
- Gratuities and items of a personal nature
- Bicycle case storage
For groups of 6 or more:
All our cycling itineraries can be customized to your specific tastes and requirements.