FASCINATING & MYSTERIOUS ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE ETRUSCANS AND ROMANS

An 8 days cycling tour

 An evocative bicycle tour in the Etruscan and Roman heartlands of Umbria and Tuscany. Water courses and magnificent scenery landmark these regions which have been shaped by the forces of nature and by human hand.

The tour starts from Assisi, the most atmospheric and mystical town of Umbria. From here, as you pedal you regenerate mind and body in a setting of palpable harmony, where each stretch of land and each citizen has an unmistakable identity: the fruit of millennia of civilisations which have left thick layers of memories and timeless masterpieces. Tuscany and Umbria are lands of magnificence, where a single fresco can capture a thousand different facets and moods: paths set between rolling hills rich with vineyards and olive groves; water courses immersed in greenery and big lakes of an intense shade of blue; medieval villages; necropolis and other Roman and Etruscan remains of incomparable value. By the end of the trip, having crossed these two regions, one thing is clear: that humankind and nature can achieve a balanced fusion.

 

 

 

 

Programme in short:

1. arrival in Assisi                                     

2. to Ponte San Giovanni (Perugia; 33 km / 20,5 miles)

3. to Passignano al lago di Trasimeno (65 km / 40,3 miles)

4. to Castiglione del Lago passing Cortona (65 km / 40,5 miles)

5. to Orvieto passing Città della Pieve (68 km / 42 miles)

6. to Todi (47 km / 29,1 miles)

7  returning to Assisi (53 km / 32,9 miles)

8. departure

 

 

Programme

Day 1

Arrival in your hotel

On the first day you arrive in Assisi, a medieval town of global renown which is rich in both famous and lesser-known artistic treasures. Embraced within its old town walls on the slopes of Mount Subasio, Assisi is a magical place and the fact that it has hardly changed since ancient times has preserved its charm. You cannot miss the opportunity to admire the Basilica of St. Francis, an architectural masterpiece which consists of two churches, one above the other, and is brimming with frescos by great masters such as Giotto, Cimabue and Simone Martini.

To fully appreciate this historical town, however, it is also worth visiting historical sites dating back to the Roman period, such as the Roman Forum with its archaeological remains and the Temple of Minerva. Wander the narrow streets and allow yourself to be enchanted by the beauty of all the town's buildings, both sacred and secular.

At the end of the day: route briefing 

Your overnight stay is in Assisi at a *** hotel (on request also possible **** star hotel)

 

Day 2

Assisi – Ponte San Giovanni (33 km / 20,5 miles)

Following the paths and roads of a part of the 'Valle Umbra' valley, dominated by hills thick with vineyards and olive groves, you arrive at Ponte S. Giovanni. Here you can visit the Ipogeo dei Volumni, which is an Etruscan tomb site discovered in 1840 and now classified as one of the most important monuments of the Etruscan period. This site, along with many other findings, is part of the Palazzone Archaeological Park.

From Ponte San Giovanni you can also visit Perugia, taking the train for Sant'Anna station. In just a few minutes you are in the heart of Etrusca Perusia (Perugia) and you can appreciate the extraordinary Etruscan civilisation by visiting the Etruscan Well (Pozzo Etrusco) and the necropolis in the suburbs as well as stopping to admire the old town walls and arches.

Perugia is an eclectic and particularly beautiful city which is rich in culture, architectural monuments, events, shops and characteristic wine bars where you can taste the famous Umbrian wines.

Overnight stay at Ponte San Giovanni at a **** star hotel.

 

Day 3

Ponte San Giovanni – Passignano (65 km / 40,3 miles)

To reach Passignano you cycle along paths and roads which enjoy a panorama of the rolling green hills sloping down to the shores of Lake Trasimeno .

Passignano is on the gently sloping northern shores, where the lake meets the rocks. The town is often referred to as l'isola felice (“the happy island”) because it is a meeting place for nature and history, art and folklore, peace and vitality.

It was along these north shores, between Malpasso and Passignano, that the epic battle between the Carthaginians and the Romans took place; the battle which marked the beginning of the legendary 20 year war between Hannibal and the Romans.

Overnight stay in Passignano at a *** hotel 

 

Day 4

Passignano – Castiglione del Lago (65 km / 40 miles)

In the morning you leave Passignano to head for Castiglione del Lago, a charming village at the west coast of lake Trasimenoi. Your journey through Tuscany begins today, in the farmlands of the Val di Chiana, with the fragrance of its orchards.

Your route, in fact, crosses a number of 'food trails' - cheese, fruit, olive oil, wine and Chianina beef - adding flavour to the list of attractions alongside history, art, human resourcefulness and water. Your Etruscan journey continues through legends and mysteries, ancient town walls and necropolis such as those of Cortona. This town is an important cultural and artistic centre for the valley, well worth exploring and enjoying in all of its aspects, and something of interest can be found here for everyone: enthusiasts of history and art, lovers of nature and adventure, those keen on sport and fitness, food and wine experts and those interested in fashion and shopping. Descending you cycle to Castiglione del lago, a walled in town with cosy squares

Your overnight stay in a *** star hotel in the old centre of Town

 

Day 5

Castiglione del Lago- Città della Pieve– Orvieto  (68 km / 42 miles)

The first part of this stretch offers you some wonderful atmospheric scenery. You pedal immersed in the green landscape of the surrounding areas and begin to catch a glimpse of Lake Chiusi, a reminder of the wetlands here in ancient times and site of the legendary escape of Saint Mustiola, persecuted and imprisoned by the vicar Turcio in the period of the Roman emperor Marco Aurelio Claudio (3rd century C.E.). Fleeing from her persecutors, Mustiola is said to have reached the lake and sailed across the waters on her cloak. Saint Mustiola is celebrated locally on 3rd July, while it is said that on 3rd April the golden wake of her cloak is visible on the waters of the lake.

The last stop in this day of cycle touring is Orvieto, which was known by the Romans as 'Volsinii'. The town, now in the Province of Terni , was near a famous sanctuary, Fanum Voltumnae, the chosen venue every year for many Etruscans to celebrate religious rites, games and events. From the 8th to the 6th century BCE the town enjoyed considerable economic development. Remains of the Etruscan civilisation can be found in the rocky crags and above all in the nearby necropolis.

The only easily visible Etruscan temple remaining in Orvieto today is the 'Tempio del Belvedere', next to the famous 'Pozzo di San Patrizio' (St. Patrick's Well).

Your overnight stay is in the historical centre of Orvieto in a *** star hotel (on request also possible a overnight stay at a **** star)  

 

Day 6

Orvieto –Todi (47 km / 29,1 miles)

Before leaving the splendid Umbrian town of Orvieto don't forget to visit the Duomo, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture. Its façade is decorated with magnificent bas-reliefs and sculptures designed by the Sienese architect Lorenzo Maitani. Also not to be missed are the Pozzo di San Patrizio, a great work of hydro engineering built by request of Pope Clement VII to ensure a water supply to the town in the case of a siege. He had taken refuge in Orvieto  during the Sack of Rome in 1527.

In the saddle once more, you leave Orvieto to reach a panoramic road by Lake Corbara. Pedal slowly, enjoy all the shades of colour nature offers you and stop to breathe the fresh air. If you are a keen historian remember that near here, where the Paglia and Tiber rivers meet, are the remains of what was an important river port in Roman times (The Roman Port of Pagliano).

Today's ride finishes in Todi, which in 1992 Prof. Richard S. Levine of U.S. Kentucky University defined as “the most livable town in the world”. Todi is another Etruscan town, but was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE by the Umbri (whose settlements were on the other side of the Tiber from the Etruscans) and named Tutere, which means 'boundary town'. In 340 BC the town developed significantly when it was conquered by the Romans. It acquired the name 'Colonia Julia Fida Tuder (1st century BC) and was granted the right to mint its own currency. The town's most beautiful Roman constructions were built after it became part of the Roman Clustumina tribe.

Overnight stay in Todi at a *** star hotel (on request upgrade to **** possible)

 

Day 7

Todi – Assisi (53 km / 32,9 miles)

In the morning you leave Todi and pedal through a hilly landscape of farmed fields and vineyards to get to Bevagna.

This charming medieval village, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is rich in art, history and cultural events which celebrate folklore and traditions (such as the 'Mercato delle Gaite'). 

You can see the remains of the Roman forum and of a Roman temple with half columns and pilasters. Not far from this is the site of the Roman baths, of which the frigidarium remains. This is decorated with a very fine mosaic in black and white tiles with designs inspired by the sea. Walking along the narrow streets you come across the Roman theatre, of which evident and significant signs are still visible and which determines the curve of the houses built on the remains of this great civilization. The other buildings are of medieval and renaissance origin and demonstrate a perfect example of architectural harmony between the forces of municipal hegemony and ecclesiastical power.

Leaving Bevagna you pass through lush, fertile land which belongs to the Sagrantino DOCG area. This is a wine with definite character and intense flavour, which is famous worldwide. Your route takes you to Cannara, which rises on the left bank of the Topino river and is situated almost at the centre of the Valle Umbra in an area which in ancient times was wetland (known to the Romans as Lacus Umber).

You are now coming to the end of this evocative journey through the art, history and nature of the two unique and uncontaminated regions of Umbria and Tuscany. The last stretch of your trip brings you to Assisi.

Embraced within its old town walls, Assisi  is a serene and atmospheric town which is a symbol of peace and harmony. It is a place of saints, churches, monasteries and convents; buildings in which devotion and art live together in a symbiosis which few places have ever equalled. A grand example of this is the Basilica of St. Francis.

Nevertheless, in Assisi the secular buildings in the town also blend in perfectly with the religious architecture. Crossing the main square, Piazza del Comune, you can admire secular medieval buildings such as the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo along with the Roman temple of Minerva, which has now become the Church of Saint Mary above Minerva. At the end of the town square, if you go into the Museo del Foro Romano, you are effectively turning back to pass under the present day square. In the vaults here you can admire the original paving and the remains of impressive masonry and sculptures.

The magic of this town can also be felt in the evening, sipping a glass of wine in one of the characteristic local wine bars, or at night when you wander the tastefully lit streets and alleys.

Overnight stay at Assisi in *** star hotel (on request it is possible to have a overnight stay in a **** star hotel)

 

Day 8

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

 

This tour includes:

  • 7 nights in *** hotels with breakfast

  • Luggage transportation

  • Client assistance

  • Route instructions, tourist information and maps

  • Route briefing 

 

 

Period

Every day from April till November. 

Level 3

Difficult. You cycle in a hilly country side with significant up-and downhill cycling and daily distances between 35 – 68 km. A tour for cyclist with experience and in good condition. Cycling along quiet asphalted country roads or dirt roads (Children from the age of 14 years). Total kilometres: 315 km

Prices p.p. 2017 

in double room      € 695,00

in single room      € 758,00

3rd person in triple room     € 410,00

half board supplement     € 170,00

on request: bike rental (hybrid, ebike and road bike), tracks for gps. extra overnight stays, upgrades are possible 

                                                    

                                 

 

   Please, contact us freely, if you would like to receive more detailed information!