Giro d'Italia - coming to a village near you!

Italy's version of the tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, started yesterday with a ~20km team time trial through Turin. It's impressive stuff. The full 3,524km route is composed of 21 stages, taking in 17 of the 20 regions of Italy. During the three weeks of racing there are 40 major mountain climbs and seven mountain finishes (such as on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily) before a grand finale under the duomo in Milan. It's an incredible race, taking in some stunning scenery and breathtaking climbs.

Click here for a bigger version on La Gazzetta dello Sport
La Gazzetta dello Sport has a great Giro d'Italia section (in Italian), which details each of the stages, with maps, distances, altitude etc., plus all the latest news. If you're watching at home, you may want to accompany the cycling with a delicious Italian wine grown on the very slopes the cyclists are puffing up, you could even do your own Giro dei vini, if you like.

Since I write a blog called Lazio Explorer, you won't be surprised to learn that I'm particularly interested in Stage 6 of the tour (on Thursday 12th May). This is a grueling 216km trek from the beautiful hill town of Orvieto in Umbria, through northern Lazio, to the spa town of Fiuggi Terme, located to the south-east of Rome.
Click here for a PDF of the route (from Gazzetta dello sport)
Going to watch the Giro d'Italia makes a nice day-trip out of Rome. Obviously, you'll need to choose where to watch it quite carefully, as you may want to do something else when the cyclists are not passing. In the following section I've highlighted with links some of the interesting places on the trek. The route takes you through some beautiful scenery and past or even through some lovely towns and cities. Soon after entering Lazio, the cyclists will pass the parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo, a very surreal non-Italian style garden filled with strange sculptures and bizarre images. They then pass nearby the papal city of Viterbo, and climb up the 450m Soriano nel cimino before cutting through the hill top city of Civita castellana, with it's stunning ravine and precipitous climbs (trust me, I did some of the route last month and it gets pretty hairy in places). Civita is a lovely city, about 71km (44 miles) north of Rome. There's a castle, Forte Sangallo, and nearby, there's Nepi, a charming little town also with a castle, and where my favorite bottled water, Acqua di Nepi, comes from. That area makes a nice day trip from Rome, and can be reached by train from Piazzale Flaminio.

After a steep descent from Civita castellana, the cyclists then follow the SS3, also known as via flaminia, one of the roads that lead to Rome, past Sant'Oreste, perched high above the plains on the characteristically serrated Monte Soratte, with it's nature reserve, monastery and stunning views, before heading south via Fiano Romano and Monterotondo. Rather disappointingly, the route then continues a little futher to the finish line to the east of Rome, instead of through it. Can you imagine how cool it would be to cycle through the streets of Rome past the Colosseum? (with all the traffic stopped of course!)  Maybe next year...


*All maps taken from www.gazzetta.it

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I would love to cycle past the Colosseum! I live in Montreal and we have beautiful bicycle paths along the rivers. None of my cousins in Rome cycle, though. They just drive like maniacs!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog, by the way. I see we are both participating in Italy in Books Challenge. I will look out for your reviews.

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