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Just southeast of Tuscany lies Umbria: Italy’s green heart. Umbria is a wonderful mix of vineyards, olive groves and tiny medieval villages perched upon the hillside. This is a stunningly beautiful region just waiting to be discovered. Cycle through rolling hills dotted with castles, fortresses and watchtowers which will transport you back to the mysticism and mysteries of the Dark Ages, and visit the well-preserved medieval hill towns harboring splendid Renaissance art. Also see Assisi, where the region’s rich history can be found at every turn.
Bike tour to Torgiano and Lungarotti Winery estate, and explore Deruta, the pottery town. Two days will be spent in Montefalco where you can wander through vineyards of sagrantino grapes and taste the outstanding Umbrian wines.
You will be met at the charming Relais Castelluccio. After the fitting of bikes you are free to explore this delightful hill town Città della Pieve is a town high up on a hill striking for its intense terracotta colour. At the highest point, the fortress dominates with its five square towers, while the town centre is Piazza del Plebiscito.
The day starts with a bike ride from Citta della Pieve to Torgiano via Deruta.
For your first tour you wind past cornflower fields and isolated farmhouses, then into a series of gently rolling hills studded with minuscule towns that you will want to stop and visit. Not-to-be-missed is Deruta the pottery town. The highlight however, has to be Torgiano, with its Museum of Wine, and just outside of town is one of Italy’s most prestigious and modern wineries, Lungarotti. For the visitor interested in food and wine, Torgiano is a veritable treasure trove.
Level: Easy to moderate. Total Distance: 56km / 35miles
Bike ride from Torgiano to Montefalco via Assisi, Spello and Bevagna
Today you begin with a lovely downhill ride into the broad Upper Tiber Valley, followed by a short climb up to Assisi, hometown of Saint Francis, perched on an outcrop overlooking the valley, gleaming soft pink against the dark-green backdrop of wild Mount Subasio. You’ll want to explore the city’s revered and beautiful churches, its romantic castle and impossibly narrow streets. Visit Saint Mary of the Angels, one of the largest Christian basilicas in Umbria
Then continue and visit Spello, the hamlet Bevagna, and finally arrive to Montefalco, quintessential Umbrian delicacy: the medieval hilltown. Extremely tiny, it occupies a hilltop placed so strategically that majestic views are available at the end of every street.
Total distance: 60 km / 37,5 miles
Circular bike ride from Montefalco to Spoleto.
Along the way, you will breeze past a few isolated rural churches and through a couple of towns too small to even make it onto the map. The first big church is Santuario Madonna Delle Stella, 7 km from our departure point. Today’s tour is along very gentle hills and flat terrain. The highlight is the visit of Spoleto, within its wooded setting, the loveliest of the Umbrian hill towns. Its urban atmosphere is enhanced by its superb monuments and by the Festival dei due Mondi, Europe’s leading arts festival held in June and July. Come back in time for a wine tasting in Montefalco, the area is famous for the Sagrantino wine.
Total distance: 52 km / 32,5 miles
Bike ride from Montefalco to Todi via Giano dell’Umbria, Viepri and Castagnola
Back roads are the main roads today, as you wind your way over hill and dale, past the tail end of mountain streams, silent forests and wild mushrooms. You’ll see fewer people today, hear fewer 20th-century sounds and see fewer modern sights than any other day. At the end of this unique excursion you’ll take the customary uphill incline leading into Todi, whose proximity is heralded by the wonderful Santa Maria della Consolazione, a magnificent Renaissance church set amidst shrubs and treetops on the outskirts of town. Todi still has almost all of its medieval walls, and its pristine charm has made it a favourite country home of wealthy Romans and artists, as well as a host of artisans who have enlivened its streets with their shops.
Total distance: 40 km / 25 miles
Bike ride from Todi to Orvieto via Prodo Castle.
Yet another–perhaps the most glorious–church awaits you at the end of this day, your reward for mastering some pretty steep inclines. Along the way you will pass several ruined castles which provide a perfect backdrop for a picnic of local salamis, cheeses and breads purchased in the morning.
By late afternoon you will see Orvieto, looming ahead on its strange plateau, crowned by the cathedral of Santa Maria, considered by one and all to be among the very finest churches in all of Europe.
Total distance: 46 km / 28,7 mi
Optional bike tour to this ghost town: striking position a top a plateau of friable volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber valley. Distance: 44 km / 27,5 miles.