I love bike riding, I see things that otherwise I may have never seen. The roads have two directions, even where there is only one road.
With a backpack on our back and the wind on our face, we hop onto our race or triathon bicycles (or mountain bikes) and pedal through the magnificent region of the National Park of Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise, where we can live a true eco-friendly, sportive, cultural and symbolic experience. Our goal is to connect places and people, and explore them at a slow, friendly pace.
Being onboard an ecological transport par excellence, we can relish all the goodies from the territory, including the richly flavoured local gastronomy. To travel by bike means to rediscover a natural physical rhythm, the just vitality; it makes worries fade away. We feel ourselves escape in satisfying solitude, immersed in our personal dreams and desires, but at the same time enthralled by the vivid signs of history, by food and wine, by culture, environment and traditions. In this particular type of trekking on two wheels, a guide and cycling expert will take us through many routes. We will get to discover and know the Central Apennines – the Tibet of Italy – in a novel way, crossing its alluring plateaus and valleys. Ultimately, we will reach Molise, a land of silence, of open spaces, and of tranquillity. Our bike manager can also customize the route that best suites the needs and wishes of our cycling visitors. And all of this can be experienced with the convenience of having our luggage and necessary equipment for our bicycles’ maintenance transported by our bike team car. Molise is a gentle land, far away from centre stage and blinding lights – a land of wolves and wild boars, filled with tiny medieval villages, and historically ransacked by pirates and thieves. It is a pleasant and silent region, rich in beauty, hospitality and flavours of the past – a place to see and live.
Rome Fiumicino International Airport Leonardo da Vinci / Termini train station
Around 11:00 AM
Depending on your arrival time at Fiumicino, our first day will include: a presentation of the details of our trip, meeting the other participants, organizing the bicycles, and an overnight stay at the entrance of the Sabina. The morning after we will depart and start our trip. We jump on top of the saddle, leaving behind the eternal city of Rome! We will cycle to the slopes of the Lucretili mountains, home to a regional national park of incredible natural richness. The diversity of the intrinsic flora and fauna, the singular configuration of the landscape, and the extreme proximity to the sea – all of these elements will give us the sprint we need. Within a wild environment barely touched by man, we submerge ourselves in holm oak trees, terraced olive gardens and fruit trees, typical of the idyllic landscape of the Sabina Romana. We will reach one of the most beautiful villages of Italy: Castel di Tora, located in the valley of Turano. For at least one thousand years, this magical medieval village has been reflecting itself on the clear waters of the Turano lake.
A biodiverse paradise, a cultural treasure: The National Park of the Laga and the Gran Sasso Mountains. Its landscape is typical of the Dolomites, with majestic summits and steep peaks. In here, we will be able to find a myriad of high-altitude natural trails. If it is a clear day, we will have in sight both the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian sea, as well as an ample section of central Italy. Here, we will be fascinated by the Calderone glacier and by the high plateaus of Campo Imperatore, a vast and beautiful prairie where a mandatory restorative stopover will take place, perhaps eating outdoors delicious lamb skewers or home-made sausages roasted over a charcoal grill. We will feel like cowboys in an almost uninhabited environment as we indulge in the surrounding natural landscape, admiring wood forests, streams, waterfalls and small lakes, coming across herds of sheep, cows and horses. The Laga mountain range will charm us with its many waterways and vast fir, beech, birch and coniferous spruce trees. In the most wild and enchanting part of the park, the Italian Tibet is found; here, medieval villages and hamlets like Santo Stefano di Sessanio or Calascio characterize the dreamlike landscape. Calascio – with its grand rock cliff and home to the highest fortress in Italy – has become a well-known location for American movies, gaining a full entry into the history of cinema. Lastly, we will find before us an important patrimony of humanity: Castel del Monte, the fortress of “the thousand mysteries” known for its illusionary witches.
A long descent will take us to the Peligna valley, where a handful of roads have as common denominators rivers, with even large segments of bike lanes coasting along the waterside. The splendid valley divides the Abruzzo National Park and the National Park of the Maiella between forests and streams, in a territory known for comfort and charm due to its local people, its diverse monuments, and its sweet sugared almond candy.
We begin cycling uphill, in the southern part of the Abruzzo National Park, towards Molise. In search of bears and wolves, between woods and lakes, we venture in and cross Anversa degli Abruzzi, also called the “Flower Lily of Sagittarius”. The characteristic narrow streets of the medieval village are the point of departure for a visit to the Gole del Sagittario WWF Natural Reserve, that goes from 500 metres of altitude at the village of Anversa all the way to 1500 metres at the evocative mountain pastures of Pizzo Marcello, on the border of the Abruzzo National Park.
The first medieval village we encounter is Barrea, nestled on a rock spur at 1066 metres of altitude and facing a man-made lake located inside a natural amphitheatre formed by some of the most alluring mountains of the Abruzzo National Park. Finally, we head into Molise, the smallest region of Italy. We arrive in the province of Isernia, specifically in Vastogirardi, a village located in the Natural Reserve of Montedimezzo, a MAB (Man and Biosphere) reserve of the UNESCO. On top of our bike saddles we encounter a silent and hospitable setting, with a grand natural and historical beauty, before ultimately reaching Capracotta, a pleasant village located among the tallest peaks of the Appennino mountains, known for receiving great amounts of snowfall every winter season.
Lastly, we arrive in the heart of Molise, where we will be amazed by art, nature and cuisine, in a unique and distinct mix that will definitely mesmerize you. Waiting for us impatiently is our promised land and final destination: welcome to the “transhumance land”! Welcome to the most secret part of Italy, absolutely boyond the obvious.
Participants will stay either in splendid structures located in the historic centers of small villages, or in mountain farmhouses surrounded by green meadows and woods. We have selected only cozy, quality, environmentally friendly and sustainable accommodations. They are all inserted in context of value, authentic, in contact with the residents. The relative strengths are the hospitable approach and the welcoming culture.