Town of Fermo, from Lido to the alleys of the Historical Center

Gravel itinerary very beautiful and complete, made up of many different situations. The dirt road with the puddles in the countryside along the Tenna river. The silent asphalt on the green hills. The cobblestones of the historical center of Fermo. The asphalted and restful descent towards the Valley of Ete Vivo. The dirt road of Contrada Santa Elisabetta. The cobblestones and the alleys of Torre di Palme. The poetic dirt road on the sea of Marina Palmense …

Roads surface asphalt, gravel, cobblestones
Lunghezza/length 54,6 km
Aumento di quota/elevation gain 870 m
Quota minima/min elevation 2 m
Quota massima/max elevation 325 m
Pendenza massima/max slope 18%

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There are some advantages to being in the beautiful corner of the world called Marche. Today I want to talk about how many situations you can face in a single bike ride of just over 50 kilometers, remaining practically always in the shadow of the hill of Fermo, the capital of the homonymous province.

Sunday morning. Cold but not too much. Cloudy but with the sun that occasionally appears, in a  reassuring way. It is winter, but thanks to our Monte Conero, the province of Fermo remains almost always sheltered from the cold wind coming from the North. So I take my gravel bike and go out. Start from the B&B Pedalare con lentezza, in Porto Sant’Elpidio and reach the SS16 and the bridge on the river Tenna, that marks the outer perimeter of Fermo‘s territory.

fiume tenna
The river Tenna between Porto S. Elpidio and Fermo

Turn right immediately after the bridge and suddenly I find myself in a quiet and tree-lined road that runs along the river, going towards Contrada Paludi. Soon the bumpy asphalt gives way to the dirt road. On the left a garden center. In the air the barking of dogs.

lungo tenna fermo
Moving towards Contrada Paludi near the River Tenna

A short stretch of provincial road, the SP11 Paludi, and turn right again, along a road that soon becomes a beautiful white road, with many puddles, which describes the perimeter of the airfield, where the plane dedicated to parachuting takes off continuously. That’s a  sport that has been practiced lately here. On the left the hill of Fermo appears.

strada sterrata paludi di fermo
The beautiful and lonely dirt road at Contrada Paludi di Fermo

Go across the Contrada Paludi for a paved road. At a small ramp I see in front of me the terrible uphill dirt road that leads to the Matteucci Tower, more appropriate for a mountain bike than for a gravel bike. I think to face it for a moment. Maybe next time. Returning to the Provincial Road my gaze is attracted by the beautiful Church of San Marco alle Paludi, a small jewel chosen by many couples as a place for their wedding.

torretta matteucci strada
The terrible uphill road to the Matteucci Tower of Fermo
san marco alle paludi
The beautiful Church of San Marco alle Paludi

A small stretch of the provincial road and I go to face the first effort of the day: the ascent of Contrada Vallasciano. The first ramp reaches a gradient of 17%. A dog looks at me questioningly from the house on the left. The road is paved, but the silence is incredible. The traffic is practically absent. The ramps follow each other, alternating with restful stretches, where I look at the valley and the summit of Fermo, with the cathedral that dominates the territory and seems to expect me defiantly.


The climb ends. A little downhill, then a challenging ramp and go back to the Provincial road, in a place called Tirassegno. It’s Sunday and the traffic approaching Fermo is really small compared to working days. The flat stretch is short. Begin to climb towards the top of the hill. After a couple of bends, we enter the old town and the asphalt leaves the field to the cobblestones of the main street, now deserted.


The arrival at Piazza del Popolo is really suggestive, with the light of the sun illuminating the famous Palazzo dei Priori, putting it in contrast with the shadow that reigns in the streets. The square is spectacular, but I do not stop. The hardest part of the ascent, but also the most characteristic, awaits me. Step under the arch that leads to Via Università and turn immediately left. It presents itself to me an insurmountable “wall” at first sight. Just over 200 meters of cobblestones with small steps that make the ascent a real game of balance. The slope remains always double-digit, with peaks at 18%. A couple of tight curves make it even more complicated. Fortunately it ends early and the square of the Girfalco opens in all its splendor.

corso cefalonia fermo
Arriving at Piazza del Popolo from Corso Cefalonia
arco via università
The arch of Piazza del Popolo on Via Università
salita per girifalco fermo
A hairpin bend with cobblestones towards Girfalco

From here the view is exceptional. A natural balcony from which I look at the coast and Mount Conero. The Cathedral, which I have observed from a distance no more than an hour before, now stands majestically above me. I won the challenge. I reached it and now I touch its ancient walls. The numerous trees make the place even more impressive, especially at sunset.

fermo cattedrale
The majestic Cathedral of Fermo
girifalco fermo
The impressive Square of Girfalco on sunset

Start a long descent. Go across the beautiful Piazza del Popolo and take Via Giacomo Leopardi and then Via Perpenti, always on cobblestones. Then, under an arch, Via Cicconi, which leads me out of the walls, back on the asphalt.

fermo piazza del popolo
Piazza del Popolo
via cicconi fermo
Going down on the cobblestones of Via Cicconi

A short stop at the Fonte di San Francesco da Paola to fill the bottle with its fresh water and start going down towards the Ete Vivo river. The descent, at Contrada San Lorenzo, is restful, even if the road surface is not the best.

fonte di san francesco da paola a fermo
Fonte di San francesco da Paola
contrada san lorenzo di fermo
The descent towards the Ete Vivo at Contrada San Lorenzo

Cross the SP87 and ride in Contrada Camera di Fermo, where I find the last real effort of the day. The gravel climb of Contrada Santa Elisabetta. About four kilometers of dirt road that, along a very scenic ridge, leads to the village of Lapedona. The slope is hard only on some isolated ramps. I enjoy this ascent observing the valley of Ete Vivo and the hill of Fermo now so far, a moment ago so close.

contrada santa elisabetta lapedona
Going up to Contrada Santa Elisabetta of Lapedona
fermo da santa elisabetta
The hill of Fermo from Contrada Santa Elisabetta of Lapedona

Reach the asphalt of the SP153 and immediately go down across a rough road on the left. A gravel and uneven ramp brings me in Contrada Piermarano, where I start to go down towards the village of Torre di Palme. The village, fraction of Fermo, is a little gem. Its cobbled streets, the flower boxes, its churches, its little square, a real balcony on the coast below, the exit in its walls with the sighting windows … Everything contributes to making the experience unforgettable.

arrivo a torre di palme
Arriving in Torre di Palme
oratorio di san rocco
Oratorio di San Rocco in the village of Torre di Palme
via duca degli abruzzi torre di palme
Via Duca degli Abruzzi di Torre di Palme
mura torre di palme
The suggestive passage inside the walls of Torre di Palme

The descent to the sea is short. I take an underpass to avoid crossing the State Road 16, here very dangerous, and I enter the village of Marina Palmense. The tour comes to an end and, when everything seems finished, with the melancholy that assails me, I discover another wonderful and poetic place. The dirt road remains just behind the rocks. The sea, with its powerful waves, can not reach it directly, but occasionally some spray arrives. Here the saltiness, the sound of the waves and the cries of the seagulls reign.

fermo gravel lungomare marina palmense
The wonderful dirt road lapped by the waves at Marina Palmense

Reach the Church of Santa Maria a Mare. Begin riding through the territory of Porto San Giorgio, along the seafront. The bike path of Lido di Fermo leads me to the starting point. Now it’s really over. I just have to think about the next bike ride through the wonderful territory of Fermo.

mare inverno fermo porto san giorgio
The colors of the winter sea at the seafront of Fermo
ciclabile lido di fermo
The beautiful meadow between the bike path and the beach at Lido di Fermo

B&B Pedalare con lentezza

Via Legnano, 96  63821 Porto Sant’Elpidio (FM)

Geographical coordinates:  43.24569, 13.76299

Contacts: Tel Fabio 3356561216 



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