The Camonica Valley cycleway starts at Ponte di Legno but in this article we will speak about the lower part that connects Capo di Ponte to Pisogne following the valley floor with the exception of a couple of possible detours. Recently the local administrations finished the missing section of the path to link the upper part of Camonica Valley to the lower until Lake Iseo and now we’ll be able to travel by bike the distance between the Tonale Pass (and even before the Sole Valley in Trentino) and the river Po, till the Adriatic Sea... in complete safety!
From Capo di Ponte, cycling in the Camonica Valley
The Camonica Valley cycle path starts in Capo di Ponte, a few steps away from the train station crossing the historical center uphill, a good start I’d say. If you’re coming from the Sole Valley, you’ll have already crossed the Tonale Pass, on the border between Trentino and Lombardy. After being transported by the slope you’ll be arrived at the cycle path of the Upper Camonica Valley, between Ponte di Legno and Vezza d'Oglio and, later, you’ll have faced the roads of the Camonica Valley from Vezza d'Oglio to Capo di Ponte, two resorts still waiting to be connected one to another through a cycle path. In Capo di Ponte we can finally start our trip by bike towards Lake Iseo.
We climb slowly till Ono San Pietro from where you have a nice panoramic view on the valley and then go down again to Cerveno
well-known because of its life-size Via Crucis
. If you have time tie your bicycle and go up the steps of the sanctuary to visit it... it’s worth it. Along the cycling itinerary following the course of the river Oglio meandering, from time to time, among the historical villages of the Camonica Valley, you meet some rest areas that are rather well-finished where to relax for a few minutes, eat your sack lunch or refill your bottle with fresh water in the hottest days. In Breno you can visit the town center and, if it’s open, also the castle on top of the village. To reach it you have to overcome a rather rampant ramp, but the panoramic view on the Camonica Valley
... this and much more, right?
The temple of Minerva and Roman past
An underpass draws us nearer to the Sanctuary of Minerva located in Spinera, Breno. This place is impregnated with history: it was inhabited since the Iron Age and the ancient temple, in the Roman age, was enlarged and embellished. The statue of Minerva can be seen still nowadays, as well as remains of the mosaic flooring and items found during the excavations. The cycle path continues its course till Cividate Camuno of the Roman age too. The story of this village is very interesting, wandering in its streets you’ll find many evocative corners and buildings to photograph like the medieval tower. It’s said that Cividate, with its 3 square km of territory, is the smallest municipality in the province of Brescia.
You cycle again close to the Oglio before leaving it to flank the orbital road. At a short bike ride from Darfo-Boario Terme
the cycle path crosses an old gallery rather picturesque to travel by bicycle.
The route bypasses some fields allowing a nice view of the valley and of some still snow-capped peaks in early summer. In Darfo it’s worth stopping some time to admire the course of the Oglio that, almost emotionless, crosses the village continuing its trip towards Lake Iseo. At the humped back bridge we continue to follow the signs leading to reach the Monument to the Fallen and then continue among the countryside of the Camonica Valley. At the sides of the valley you catch sight of many villages: Pian Camuno, Artogne, Gianico... but the directions lead the cycling traveler to Pisogne and the lake, which are reached after about 41 km of a cycling itinerary (not all in the right place!) The Camunian rose is the symbol of the Camonica Valley but, after having been stylized, in 1996 became also the symbol of the Lombardy region. Found 92 times in the rock carvings of the valley, you can meet it represented in many artistic works or monuments in various villages.