Rate this item
(0 votes)

Italy's 14 best cycling roads you need to ride

Italy's 14 best cycling roads you need to ride

Picking Italy's 14 best cycling roads among the variety of itineraries of this magic country has been my hardest job ever. Each region, with its features, biodiversity, architectural and natural wonders, is crossed by hundreds of trails and itineraries up on the hills, mountains to then get back to the sea, tumultuous rivers, or quiet lakes... Italy by bicycle offers so many possibilities for a visit... to simplify things and inspire you, we decided to list here Italy's 14 best cycling roads you need to ride.

 
 

strade più belle ande ruta de la joya 4

Italy's 14 best cycling roads

Italy is a beautiful country, rich in secondary roads, high trails, gravel paths to be cycled in absolute peace. Picking Italy's 14 best cycling roads for this article was not easy: in order to succeed in our task, we had to ask for help from all the dusty hard-disks we had in our house. Before starting with the list, be aware that this article will be repeatedly updated, year after year, in order to bring you along on our journeys on the road!le strade piu belle del mondo grecia 3

Stelvio Pass - Alto Adige and Lombardy

Stelvio National Park was established in 1935, occupying a great part of the North-Western Alps, Rhaetian Alps, between Lombardy, Trentino and Alto Adige. The most famous road of this big natural reserve is the one leading to 2757 m of Stelvio Pass, the highest crossing in Italy. Climbing from Prato allo Stelvio, you'll be facing an endless snake od panoramic winding turns. 01 stelvioIt's without any doubt a beautiful show of white peaks, perennial glaciers, naked flora and rocky sides.04 stelvioPrato allo Stelvio is 915 m high, and to reach the top you have to face 1800 m elevation gain and 26 km alternating softer and more aggressive gradients (up to 12%). 03 stelvioIf you choose to climb it from Lombardy, a softer and shorter ascent, you can start from Bormio at 1225 meters. To reach the peak you'll have to count down 40 turns, 21,5 km, and almost 1500 m of elevation gain. Each year, at the end of August, for one day this road is closed to cars and every motorized vehicle and you can enjoy this beautiful road for the Stelvio Bike Day.02 stelvio

Start and finish
Bormio - Prato allo Stelvio
Distance
48 km circa
Elevation gain
1500 m (or 1800 m starting from Prato)
Not to miss
Detour to the Giogo di Santa Maria (Umbrail Pass)
Ascent to Cima Garibaldi
Count every turn up to the peak
When to go
From the end of May to October

Crossing the Campo Imperatore plain - Abruzzo

The upland of Campo Imperatore, with some peaks of the mountains of Gran Sasso d'Italia and the typical Corno Grande, is one of the most famous places in Abruzzo and maybe it's one of the most stunning. 02 campo imperatoreYou have many possibilities to access the upland, but the one I'm listing in this article starts from L'Aquila and crosses the upland reaching Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Rocca Calascio and Castel del Monte, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. campo imperatore 1From this city in Abruzzo, famous for its Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio wanted by the Pope Celestino V in 1288, you start climbing towards the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. 03 campo imperatoreYou gain height pretty quickly in the beauty of Nature of the Appennine of Abruzzo and its medieval villages. The road SS17bis reaches Campo Imperatore, at 1800 m, to then cross the vast upland through the endless blossom fields and the griffons' flight on the plain.03 campo imperatoreFrom this road, you can detour towards Santo Stefano di Sessanio, one of the most typical villages of this area, counting no more than 120 inhabitants.07 campo imperatoreFrom this village, where you can lose track of time and space through its typical narrow streets, you can pedal further towards Calascio up to its locality and castle of Rocca Calascio, at 1460 m, from which you get a stunning 360 degrees view. 05 campo imperatoreIn 2019 the Norman fortress dating back to the XII century was listed among the 15 most beautiful castles of the world by National Geographic. From Rocca Calascio you get down to Calascio to cycle towards Castel del Monte with its medieval center and the main church dedicated to San Marco Evangelista.06 campo imperatore

Start and finish
L'Aquila - Castel del Monte
Distance
65 km circa
Elevation gain
1770 m circa
Not to miss
The sight over the pyramid of Corno Grande
Ascending to Rocca Calascio at sunrise or sunset
Hiking in Santo Stefano di Sessanio and Castel del Monte
Visiting the Holy Door
Looking in the sky for some griffons in Campo Imperatore
When to go
From May to October
Useful information
Abruzzo by bicycle: what to see

Sellaronda Ring - Trentino, Alto Adige and Veneto

One of the most satisfying rings to be cycled on the Dolomites is the Sellaronda Ring, proposed during the Sellaronda Bike Day and allowing to climb four Dolomitic peaks between Trentino, Alto Adige, and Veneto. being a circuit, the starting point of the Sellaronda, called so because you cycle around the group of Sella, can be chosen, but in this case we're starting anti-clockwise from Canazei in Val di Fassa. From this picturesque village, we start climbing towards the first peak, Passo Pordoi. The woods will lead you in this first ascent to then become low grass fields and rocks.sellaronda itinerarioWe reach the height and the views open giving some beautiful views on the mountains around. At 2239 meters you reach Pordoi, the border between the Province of Trento and Veneto. Even during the prestigious Giro d'Italia, the ascent to Pordoi Pass has been used many times, the first one being in 1940 and the first reaching the top being Gino Bartali. Fun fact: on the top a statue dedicated to Fausto Coppi was built, one of the most famous cyclists and contestants of Bartali. Coppi reached this peak five times in five attempts from 1947 to 1954. passo sellaFrom the Pordoi you climb down to Arabba to take some breath before the second ascent towards the Campolongo Pass, at 1875 m, between Veneto and the Val Badia in Alto Adige. The ascent reaches a maximum gradient of 10% and is 5 km long from Arabba. From this crossing, you climb down to Corvara to gain some energy. The third effort is before the Gardena Pass at 2121 m altitude. From Corvara, you have to face 600 m of elevation and 11 km to enter the Gardena Valley. paesaggi dolomitici sellarondaThe last crossing, my favorite, is Sella Pass at 2240 m in an idyllic setting, in the heart of the Dolomites. This last crossing, next to the City of the rocks, connects Alto Adige and Trentino. From the Sella, you start the last descent towards Canazei partially on the same road you climbed towards the Pordoi. You can choose to face the Sellaronda clock-wise: Sella, then Gardena, then Campolongo and finally the Pordoi Pass.

Start and finish
Canazei (ring)
Distance
69 km circa
Elevation gain
1700 m circa
Not to miss
The view over the Dolomites
Eating some Strauben in Alto Adige
Crossing the City of the rocks (Città dei sassi)
When to go
May to June and October to November 

Panoramic road Alghero Bosa - Sardinia

One of Italy's 14best cycling roads you need to ride on a good sunny day is the Scenic Route from Alghero to the colorful Bosa, in Sardinia. 06 sardegnaThe road is a continuous up and down along the coast and allows living at its best the Nature of this part of the island. 05 sardegnaImagine the wind, the sound of the sea, the coast... and with some luck you could sight some griffons flying above your head... 01 sardegnaThis itinerary starts from the most Catalan city in Sardinia, Alghero, looking down to the Mediterranean Sea and into the Porto Conte and Capo Caccia Natural Reseve. Alghero offers a good cycle path and you should consider a two-days visit.02 sardegnaThe finish point is Bosa, a colorful village in the province of Oristano. 03 sardegnaBosa was born on the river Temo, the only one partially navigable in Sardinia. it is dominated by the stunning Castle of Serravalle. Bosa's main features are the watercolor houses reflecting in the river Temo.04 sardegna

Start and finish
Alghero - Bosa
Distance
45 km circa
Elevation gain
670 m circa
Not to miss
Griffons' flight
Alghero, a Catalan city in Sardinia
Bosa and its colours
Bosa Marina for a dive
When to go
All the year long
Useful information
Sardinia by bicycle: a 1400 km itinerary

Crossing the Langhe - Piemonte and Liguria

There are dozens of roads crossing the wine region UNESCO heritage of Piemonte's Monferrato, Langhe, and Roero: all offer a magical point of view on the hills on the horizon. This itinerary brought us to many villages and without any form of traffic. 01 piemonteFrom Casale Monferrato we started our journey through Piemonte until Millesimo, the door to Liguria with its mountains. Along the way we visited Alba, Acqui Terme, Pollenzo, La Morra, Belvedere Langhe and Dogliani, until we reached Millesimo, one of the most beautiful villages of italy.

Start and finish
Casale Monferrato - Millesimo
Distance
270 km circa
Elevation gain
3200 m circa
Not to miss
Wine tasting
Visiting the village of Pollenzo and the stunning Cappella del Barolo
The castles of the area, especially Montemagno
The beautiful view over Monviso from the Langhe
When to go
From March to November

Cinque Terre scenic route - Liguria

Cinque Terre's scenic route is without a doubt one of Italy's 14 best cycling roads you need to cycle! It allows entering and cycling through Cinque Terre National Park on the hills or on the coast to visit the beautiful villages. 02 5terreStarting from Levanto, west from the Natural Area, the road leads us to Passo del Termine passing by the Chiesa di Nostra Signora di Soviore, just above Monterosso. 01 5terreThe scenic route continues high giving some breathtaking views on the hills and the sea.03 5terreTowards La Spezia, after Monterosso, you can see the colorful houses of Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, but also the sea melting ith the sky and the many greens of the trees, vineyards and olive trees. 04 5terreThis itinerary ends in La Spezia, where you can get back to the starting point by train.

Start and finish
Levanto - La Spezia
Distance
40 km
Elevation gain
750 m circa
Not to miss
Visiting the Cinque Terre
A swim in Mar Tirreno
View of the sea, the villages and the features of this National Park
Olive oil tasting
When to go
All year long except July and August
Useful information
Cinque Terre bike tour: the scenic route

Forcella Staulanza - Veneto

The Forcella Staulanza road isn't famous, but I can assure it can amaze every bicycle traveler for the variety and the beauty of the landscapes.01 forcella staulanzaThe crossing at 1783 m connects Val di Zoldo and Val Fiorentina, in the province of Belluno. 02 forcella staulanza20 km from Forcella Staulanza you can overnight at the Alleghe Lake, the ideal starting point. The landscapes next to the road include the unique Monte Pelmo, Monte Civetta, and Monte Crot. 03 forcella staulanzaMonte Pelmo, also known as Caregón de 'l Pareterno, was the first Dolomitic peak to be climbed in 1857 by the Irish John Ball and reaches 3168 m height with its unmistakable shape. 04 forcella staulanzaMonte Civetta above Alleghe reaches 3220 m altitude. 05 forcella staulanzaMonte Crot lies between the two giants, just above Forcella Staulanza, and boasts 2169 m altitude. From the peak, the road goes down towards Forno di Zoldo (locality of Val di Zoldo) and then Longarone, sadly famous for the Vajont disaster in 1963.06 forcella staulanza

Start and finish
Alleghe - Longarone
Distance
59 km
Elevation gain
1150 m circa
Not to miss
A jump in Lake Alleghe
A detour from Longarone to visit the Vajont Dam
Trekking on Pelmo and Civetta mounts
Stopping at Longarone Museum dedicated to the Vajont disaster
When to go
From May to October

High Valley of the Aniene River - Lazio

This short but intense itinerary allows discovering the flow of Aniene river by bicycle along the Way of Saint Benedict. 01 anieneStarting from the beautiful Subiaco, dominated by the medieval Abbey, in a short bit you can reach the Monasteries of Santa Scolastica and San Benedetto, also known as Sacro Speco. 02 anieneSanta Scolastica Monastery id one of the 12 founded by Saint Benedict and the oldest of the Benedictine Order, dating back to 520. The Sacro Speco one boasts a more characteristic position, being nestled in the rock of Monte Taleo and boasting a medieval church, some byzantine frescos, and the paint of Saint Francis from 1223.06 anieneFrom the monasteries you can follow the flow of the Aniene river in the narrow and stunning valley. The gravel road, partially disconnected - will be a real challenge but the flight of the birds of prey, the smells of the vegetation and the sound of the water will lead the traveler in a magical way.03 anieneYou'll be going up and down up to the waterfalls of Trevi nel Lazio. At the naturalistic site, you get on the paved part towards Trevi del Lazio and the Monti Simbruini natural Park. 04 anieneTrevi is suspended in time with the shape of the Castle Caetani and the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta.02 aniene

Start and finish
Subiaco - Trevi nel Lazio
Distance
22 km
Elevation gain
650 m
Not to miss
Visiting the Monasteries of Santa Scolastica and of Sacro Speco
Relax at Trevi's waterfalls or along the Aniene (with a dive!)
Ascent to Castello Caetani
Hiking through the streets of Subiaco
When to go
From march to November
Useful information
The Way of Saint Benedict

Ascent to Casone d'Aresta - Campania

One of my favorite bicycle touring itineraries in Italy is for sure the Silent Way (Via Silente) designed by Simona, allowing to cross the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park with a 600 km ring.01 via silenteThere are many stages, but my favorite one is for sure the demanding ascent to Monte Cervati, the highest peak in Campania, connecting Petina to Sant'Angelo di Fasanella passing by the astronomic observatory in Casone d'Aresta. 02 via silenteThe crossing is located in the heart of the Alburni Mountains, 1169 m high. From Petina you enter a shadowy wood leading to the demanding ascent to Casone d'Aresta. 03 via silenteYou conquer every meter slowly, and you must savor every bit of the crossing.04 via silenteSpending one night on the top of the mountain would be ideal, under the stars and the hundred-years old cherry tree. The descent towards Sant'Angelo a Fasanella is very pleasant and this village with the castle, the churches and chapels deserve a visit.05 via silente

Start and finish
Petina - Sant'Angelo a Fasanella
Distance
18 km
Elevation gain
635 m
Not to miss
The colours of the chestnuts and beeches in autumn
Cycling on the trails of Cilento National Park
Visiting Sant'Angelo a Fasanella and its surroundings
Sleeping under the century-old cherry tree
When to go
From march to November
Useful information
The Silent Way

Gola del Furlo - Marche

From the picturesque Fossombrone, in the province of Pesaro e Urbino, you can take a road towards Gola del Furlo and be led to 77 d.C., when this tunnel wanted by the Emperor Vespasiano substituted the Etruscan one. 01 gola del furloFossombrone is located along the river Metauro, which you can bypass from the many bridges, the most famous one being the Concordia Bridge. In Fossombrone, before leaving towards Gola del Furlo, please consider visiting the Forum Sempronii Archaeological Park. 02 gola del furloOn the secondary roads entering the countryside along Metauro and Candigliano, you reach the entrance of the Gola del Furlo Natural Reserve, where you can choose one of the many hiking trails where you can sight the eagle, the wolf, many reptiles and other mammals. 03 gola del furloThinking about this passage being helpful to Lucrezia Borgia, Ostrogoths and many rebels, partisans, travelers... this place gets even richer meaning. From Gola del Furlo you can continue towards Cagli, where you can visit its historic palaces, the famous Bridge Mallio, the two abbeys, and the most interesting localities.

Start and finish
Fossombrone - Cagli
Distance
25 km
Elevation gain
200 m circa
Not to miss
Be stunned in the Gola del Furlo
Take a picture of a sneaky predatory
Cycling on the Concordia Bridge in Fossombrone
Visiting Cagli and its surroundings
When to go
From March to November

In the heart of the Sibillini mountains - Umbria

After the last earthquake Norcia has completely changed, but the pride of the people has started Saint Benedict's village again. 01 norciaThe road leading to the plain of Castelluccio and to the Forcella di Presta starts ascending from Norcia. During the autumn, in the morning, when the fog hugs Norcia, this ascent could give some unexpected sights and emotions. This ascent isn't hard, but it's long!.02 norciaPedaling on the SP477 you gain height until the Rifugio Perugia. Suspended on this crossing you can enjoy the view over the plain, with the small village almost torn down by the earthquake. In summer, when the plain gets colored by the lentils blossoming, you just cannot stand it: it's just amazing. you will be crossing the plain to then climb again on the opposite side. 04 norciaThe ascent to Forca di Presta isnt's quite demanding, but it can give some alternative sight on Monte Vettore dominating the scene. Forca di Presta is 1550 m high and separates the provinces of Perugia and Ascoli Piceno, Umbria from Marche...05 norcia

Start and finish
Norcia - Forca di Presta
Distance
33 km circa
Elevation gain
1250 m circa
Not to miss
The blooming in Castelluccio
The Monti Sibillini National Park in MTB
Having a typical lentils soup in Castelluccio
Visiting Norcia
When to go
From March to November

Crossing the Dolomiti Lucane - Basilicata

One of Italy's best cycling roads I cycled with Leonardo is in Basilicata, in a less known area, a beautiful naturalistic area with two villages, Castelmezzano e Pietrapertosa, which look like two nativity scenes-villages in the heart of Gallipoli Cognato Piccole Dolomiti Lucane Natural Park. 04 dolomiti lucaneWe're in Lucania and more precisely in the province of Potenza. 01 dolomiti lucaneThe road crossing the Reserve starts in Castelmezzano, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, together with Pietrapertosa, getting into the woods and the picturesque rocks, making you feel in an idyllic anachronism. 02 dolomiti lucaneThe Dolomiti Lucane Cycle Way crosses the parc, and you could be completely alone if you choose to visit it off-season.03 dolomiti lucaneEnjoy the beauty, the smells, and the warmth of the people! Lucan Dolomites will amaze you!06 dolomiti lucane

Start and finish
Castelmezzano - Cirigliano
Distance
51 km circa
Elevation gain
800 m circa
Not to miss
Visiting Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa
The ascent to Pietrapertosa's Castle by feet
Lucan typical dinner
Taking night pictures to the nativity scenes-villages
When to go
From April to November
Useful information
What to see in Basilicata

Crossing Pollino - Calabria and Basilicata

The nature of the Pollino National Park, with Serra Dolcedorme and Monte Pollino, its colorful wild orchid, the conifers, and the animals is breathtaking.01 pollinoOur crossing of the Pollino brought from coast to coast passing through Civita, an arbaresch village in the province of Cosenza, Terranova del Pollino (in Basilicata), Oriolo and Rocca Imperiale. 02 pollinoMany km are dirt and demanding, but to enjoy and live the true essence of the Park, you need to get deeper in this wilderness. 03 pollinoThis stunning itinerary might be the right occasion to spend one night under the stars, in front of the majestic mountains of the Park. 05 pollino

Start and finish
Villapiana -  Rocca Imperiale Marina
Distance
128 km
Elevation gain
3400 m circa
Not to miss
Visiting Civita, Kodra  houses and the Raganello Gorges 
Oriolo, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy
The trail below Serra Dolcedorme and Pollino
A night in the Park under the stars
Walking through Rocca Imperiale
When to go
From March to November

Alpe Adria from Tarvisio - Friuli

The Alpe Adria cycleway is a bicycle touring itinerary connecting Salzburg to Grad, on the Adriatic Sea. 01 alpe adriaThe most enchanting part of this track is the segment betweenCoccau and Venzone.02 alpe adriaIn this part of the itinerary, you cycle along the old pontebbana railway, once railway now converted into a cycleway.03 alpe adria From Coccau you cross many stunning places in the province of Udine, savoring the alpine views and going slowly down to the plain... closer and closer to the sea!05 alpe adria

This is an itinerary to enjoy slowly and possibly in its totality from Salzburg to the sea.04 alpe adria

Start and finish
Coccau -  Venzone
Distance
86 km circa
Elevation gain
150 m circa
Not to miss
The old railway from the border to Tarvisio
Cycling in the silence of the woods
Visiting Venzone, the city of lavender
When to go
From April to November
Useful information
Alpe Adria Cycle Route

Which one of Italy's 14 best cycling roads have you cycled? Which one do you dream on cycling?

Say something here...
Cancel
Log in with ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

Le 10 strade più belle mai pedalatelifeintravel.it
Francesco

ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 31 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...
ITA - Ho 31 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!

Ride with us

Leave your e-mail here to get tips, routes and suggestions to start your bicycle touring experience

Please enable the javascript to submit this form

Join more than 12.000 bicycle travelers.
We wont ever send you spam!
 

           

 
 
To the top