The high valley of the Aso river. Where mountains become blue
I have always loved the Aso River and its Valley. From the sea up to Comunanza the valley is wide and hosts its famous orchards. Further West there is the Sibillini area. The valley become tight. The slopes become steeper and impervious. The peaks are near the sky and blend in with it, giving life to the mythical Blue Mountains. Here nature is wild and the woods dominate unchallenged. This is the area we will visit today on a spectacular cycling route that is absolutely not demanding.
|Estimated elevation gain what’s that?||1300 m|
|Min elevation||396 m|
|Max elevation||972 m|
|GPX track tutorial||download
|Montemonaco from Amandola||altimetry|
|Foce di Montemonaco||altimetry|
|Passo Pescolle from SP83||altimetry|
Departure from Comunanza, at the traffic circle, where we find parking lots, fountains and some bars. A small climb at Casa Tasso, then a descent and a mixed stretch towards Amandola without excessive difficulty. In Amandola we take the road to Montefortino. After about two kilometers begins the climb to Montemonaco. The climb is about 10 kilometers, but it is quite easy. The average slope is less than 5% and the maximum is 10%. Several stretches of breath along the way. After a couple of challenging hairpin bends at 9% we are already in Montefortino. The village is beautiful. The view of Sibillini is magnificent. From the terrace near the fountain we observe the route taken in The breath of the mountain. Mount Sibilla and Isola San Biagio.
We leave Montefortino and start to climb very gently along a road that winds through sandstone outcrops. In a short time we reach the village of Cerretana. A small deviation from our itinerary may be worth it. The village is evocative, although clearly affected by the earthquake of 2016. The wonderful mountain view. The inevitable fountain.
We move on. A couple of hairpin bends make themselves felt. At the end of the stretch the maximum slope, 10%. Then the climb becomes easy again. At Lanciatoio Mount Vettore makes its appearance on the right. We finally reach Montemonaco. Here the view is practically 360 degrees. Before entering the village we can stop to observe the view to the north, with the valleys that reach the sea. After passing through the old town, we can not help but stop, impressed with the beauty of Vettore, Sibilla and all the shades of green and blue that mountains and sky seem to have.
The descent into the Aso River is technical and pleasant. The road surface is sometimes not perfect and you need to pay attention because of the distraction that the view on the Sibillini can cause. We quickly pass all the hairpin bends and reach the bottom of the valley, at the fork for Foce di Montemonaco.
Even the climb to Foce does not present great difficulties. The road creeps into a valley that gets narrower and narrower, until it becomes a real gorge. Here the sun’s light never quite reaches. Even in Summer the temperature remains always low. The Aso is a stream, which runs alongside the road. The mountains in front of us shine brightly in contrast with the gloom that reigns here.
The arrival at the small village of Foce is spectacular, with a view of the Sibillini mountain range that rises around us. We are between Mount Vettore and Mount Sibilla. Here, after the earthquake of 2016, the winter has struck down with more force than elsewhere, with one of the most devastating snowfalls that memories of man remember. The remains of the avalanches that have made Foce unapproachable until spring are still visible.
Fill the bottle with the fresh water of the source and go back the same way. At the intersection we go right to Montegallo. A mixed stretch of a couple of kilometers, most of it in the woods, and we begin the ascent to Passo Pescolle. Even this climb is undoubtedly easy. It is not very scenic, as it is largely covered, but in the end the view suddenly opens up the valley of the Fluvione and Montegallo, which we have described in Il Montegallo: woods and villages in the shadow of the Vettore. The descent into Propezzano is spectacular. The view of the Laga Mountains and the hills to the sea is breathtaking. Then we face a mixed section of 7 kilometers. In fact it is almost a long descent, with some absolutely non-demanding ramps, which accompanies us pleasantly up to Croce di Casale.
Start a technical descent that leads us back close to the river Aso. Shortly before, however, turn right and take the fork for Piane. I inserted this alternative route to Val d’Aso in order to avoid the main road with its traffic. The ramp that takes us to Piane is challenging (11%), but short and then the road will almost always be in pleasant descent. Reaching Comunanza it is necessary to pay attention to the ground, sometimes uneven.
We pass behind the town of Comunanza and, after a couple of little easy ramps, we reach the fork for Force. We turn to the left, we cross the bridge on the Aso river and we go towards the traffic circle of the main road. A very easy climb of three kilometers leads us back to the starting point, concluding this beautiful excursion through the high Aso valley.
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