Città di Fermo, from Lido to the alleys of the Historical Center
Gravel itinerary very beautiful and complete, with many different situations. The dirt road with the puddles in the countryside at 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 …
|Estimated elevation gain what’s that?||870 m|
|Min elevation||0 m|
|Max elevation||325 m|
|GPX track tutorial||download
|Contrada Vallasciano from SP11||altimetry|
|Fermo Girfalco from Via S. D’Acquisto||altimetry|
|Contrada Santa Elisabetta from SP206||altimetry|
Living in the beautiful corner of the world called Marche has many advantages. 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 Mount 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. The seafront of Lido di Fermo is almost deserted. Tourists on the campgrounds are only a vague memory of last summer. The sea of Winter is not like a black and white film seen on TV, as a famous Italian song says. Today the colors of the Adriatic Sea seem to me more beautiful and interesting than ever and I can not resist the temptation to stop for a moment to admire them.
The Lido di Fermo cycle path is pleasant, but I decide to take advantage of the gravel and immediately take the strip of lawn close to the beach. I continue, always by bike path, to Lido Tre Archi, where I enter the State Road 16. I remain on the busy road for a short while, but this allows me to admire the Tenna River from the bridge that divides the territory of Fermo from Porto Sant’Elpidio.
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.
A short stretch of provincial road, the SP11 Paludi, and turn right again, along a road that soon becomes a beautiful white road, full of 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.
Go through 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.
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 total. The traffic is practically absent. The ramps follow each other, alternating with the stretches of breath, 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, in 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.
From here the view is exceptional. A natural balcony from which I look at the coast and Monte 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.
Start a long descent. Go through the beautiful Piazza del Popolo and take Via Giacomo Leopardi and then Via Perpenti, always on cobblestones. Then, through an arch, Via Cicconi, which leads me out of the walls, back on the asphalt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reach the Church of Santa Maria a Mare. Begin riding through the territory of Porto San Giorgio, along the seafront. Now it’s really over. Now I just have to think about the next bike ride through the wonderful territory of Fermo.
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