The villages of Fermo and the “white roads”
The villages of Fermo and their territory in a cycling tour with characteristics suitable for gravel bike. We will face, in addition to the little traffic paved roads, also the typical white roads (gravel roads), the country dirt roads and the cobblestones of the historic centers. The route is very demanding, with “walls” at 20% and descents that require extreme attention. The effort will be great, but the satisfaction in reaching the end will be equally great. However, there will often be the possibility of detours to shorten the route and make it less difficult.
|Estimated elevation gain what’s that?||2100 m|
|Min elevation||2 m|
|Max elevation||458 m|
|GPX track tutorial||download|
|Altidona from Contrada Cantagallo||altimetry|
|Contrada Castelletta (Monterubbiano) from Valdaso||altimetry|
|Moresco from Contrada Castelletta||altimetry|
|Contrada Eschito from River Ete Vivo||altimetry|
|Contrada Bore di Fiano from River Ete Vivo||altimetry|
|Poggio-Contrada Mileto from Torchiaro||altimetry|
We start from the Church of Santa Maria a Mare, in the territory of Fermo, at the Fermo-Porto San Giorgio highway exit. The first kilometers, almost five, good for warming up, are along the SS16, which in this area is wide enough not to be dangerous. This will be the only really traffic segment that we will face today. At the crossroads for Lapedona we turn right and immediately take the SP255.
The SP255 is an asphalted road, sometimes uneven, very silent. On one side the olive trees, on the other a riding school. Silence is total. Only the birds to keep us company. Riding here is very pleasant and it is a good warm-up that prepares us for the first effort of the day: the climb of Contrada Cantagallo.
The road becomes gravel after the small bridge. We are immersed in silence. Above looms the village of Altidona, in front on the right Lapedona. We go on among olive trees and fruit trees. The slopes are not prohibitive and reach the maximum values of 12-13% at the final hairpin bend.
We arrive in Altidona, at the bowling green. With a small detour we can take a look at the first of the Fermo villages, then we jump right toward the abandoned monastery of Saltareccio, in a gravel road. We reach the woods and the stones give way to dry leaves and mud. The dirt road that leads us back to the asphalt is very demanding. Almost a kilometer with an average gradient of just over 10%, with a peak of 18%. The asphalted descent and a source on the right appear as a salvation.
An asphalted ramp leads us to the main road, the SP2, which we cross to face the spectacular and fun asphalted descent of Contrada Aso, until the bottom of the valley of the homonymous river. The small stretch of the SP85 Valdaso can be crowded and is worthy of the utmost attention. After a few hundred meters we turn right to Moresco and immediately take a white road (gravel road) on the right. The spectacular ascent of Contrada Castelletta begins. Just over two kilometers with an average gradient of 8% and a maximum of 14%. The Sibillini Mountains and the Moresco hill make good show of themselves in the background.
A small downhill stretch and soon we start to climb gently towards Moresco. The beautiful old town, one of the most beautiful villages in Fermo, appears with Sibillini in the background. We reach the asphalt just before the beautiful church of Santa Maria dell’Olmo and the slope increases considerably, up to 11%.
We reach the highest point (GPM) near the gates of the village, where we can safely venture, across the alleys to discover the characteristic square. If tiredness is felt, you can turn right towards Lapedona and follow the last stretch of our track. This is the Alternative 1, which will total 35.4 km and 840 meters in elevation gain.
If we feel good we continue, going down under Monterubbiano, through Contrada Pozzetto, where we enjoy the view of the Aso valley. The dirt road on the right at the crossroads for Rubbianello climbs a hill where a stop to admire the view is practically mandatory. We descend and cross the main road to continue going down on a dirt road. A small but decisive ramp leads us to the village of Montotto.
We head towards Petritoli. We cross this wonderful village pedaling on the cobblestones of its historic center, where we can take a break at the bar.
Arriving in Petritoli, at the public fountain near the hospital, we can opt for the Alternative 2: we keep the right towards Montegiberto and, at the crossroads for Moregnano, we continue on our main route. In this case, in the end, the total kilometers will be 56.6 and the elevation gain 1450 meters.
Continuing with the itinerary, from the historic center of Petritoli we face a descent and then a very easy ascent, which leads us to the small village of Monte Vidon Combatte. A photo, a stop at the public fountain and then go down towards Collina Nuova, where we still find a flat stretch.
Before Montottone we jump to the right along a gravel road, called Collina Vecchia, that leads to Fonte Magna, with its washhouse, which has certainly known better days, but which still has that charm that I find irresistible. Once, when houses in the countryside still did not have running water, these sources were very important for the peasant society. Here they went to get water every day, walking for miles, and here they went to wash clothes all together, having a conversation. Every time I find one of these sources I stop to contemplate the current desolation with sadness, imagining how it should have been crowded in the past of our grandparents.
We return to the asphalt of the SP61 and we slip into Contrada San Pietro Martire. Descending we appreciate the view of Montottone. At some point the gravel road begins. This wide, “white road” runs alongside the Rivo ditch to the Ete Vivo River.
We can also avoid going down to Contrada San Pietro Martire and continuing towards Montottone, according to the Alternative 3. In this case we will not have to face the ascent of Eschito and, once we have descended to the Ete Vivo river, continue on the direct way to Monte Giberto. It is an easy ascent, already faced in The villages of Fermo: cycling between nature and history, which allows us to avoid the very hard climb of Bore di Fiano. This variant makes the tour a total of 74.5 km long, with 1840 meters of elevation gain.
If we continued to Contrada San Pietro Martire, just before reaching Ete Vivo we turn right and face the demanding climb of Contrada Eschito. The last half of the ascent is paved, as is the beautiful descent towards Ete Vivo.
We take the SP112 and go along the Ete Vivo river for 2.5 km. Then go to face the demanding asphalted climb of Contrada Bore di Fiano. The first stretch is the hardest. Several hundreds of meters, always double-digit, with a peak of 19%. Then we have some breath sections alternating with severe ramps with slopes well over 10%. The effort is well rewarded by the view of the hills and the various surrounding villages of Fermo. For those who do not feel like tackling these “walls”, as we have already said about Alternative 3, there is the much easier direct climb to Monte Giberto, which begins immediately after the descent from Montottone.
We reach the SP66, which we immediately leave for the gravel road of Contrada Madonna, that, with a ramp of about one kilometer that reaches an 18% gradient, leads us to Monte Giberto. We stop at the public fountain and continue, with a stretch of ups and downs, towards Moregnano. A short visit to one of the smallest villages in Fermo and face the panoramic descent to Torchiaro.
We keep going down on the uneven road that winds through the woods. Arrived at the ditch we begin to face the very tough climb of Contrada Mileto. Completely on gravel road (except the initial stretch, recently paved), this climb is almost two kilometers long and has an average gradient of over 10%. At this point of the day, with some fatigue accumulated in the legs, the ascent will seem truly endless. At the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna: the highest point) of Contrada Poggio the suffering finally ends and you can take your breath up to the SP56, where you start climbing again towards Monterubbiano.
The climb is easy and relaxing until the gates of the village. Immediately after the petrol station, on the right there is a narrow gravel road, with a sign indicating the Bike Village La Cava, “kingdom” of Alessandro Corso and his The Black Sheep MTB. We face two terrible ramps at 18% which can force us to put our foot on the ground, especially the second one. In the end, however, we will see that it was worthwhile to push the bike for those few meters. In front of us lies an almost flat grass road that goes around the ruins of the ancient walls and leads us to the suggestive Porta S. Andrea. The place is magical and invites to stop.
We start again and, after a small ramp, we find ourselves riding on the cobblestones of the historic center, near what once was the Jewish Ghetto. Then we go into Via dei Segreti, with an arch where the transit ban sign for tractors and military wagons has remained. We reach Porta San Basso, or Porta Vecchia and the spectacular view opens onto the Aso Valley.
We leave Monterubbiano to go down toward Lapedona. We do not reach this beautiful village, although it certainly deserves one last small detour, because we throw ourselves on the left to face a stretch of ups and downs that leads us to the highest point of Contrada S. Elisabetta. The final descent is on a gravel road and sometimes requires attention, but it is not overly technical. Some small and undemanding ramps allow us not to increase the speed too much and to enjoy the view of the sea, which appears ever closer.
The gravel road ends and the short asphalted stretch of Contrada San Pietro Vecchio takes us back to the starting point of this spectacular itinerary through the villages of Fermo.
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