Montegallo: woods and villages in the shadow of Vettore
Montegallo in a cycling tour that goes through almost all of its beautiful territory. We will reach 15 of 23 villages scattered in the area of the municipality. The route is less than 70 kilometers, with an increase in altitude of about 1500 meters, but it is very challenging, due to the slopes reached along some terrible ramps. In the end the effort will surely be repaid by the always different and always wonderful landscape …
|Estimated elevation gain wha’s that?||1500 m|
|Min elevation||319 m|
|Max elevation||1047 m|
|GPX track tutorial||download
|Croce di Casale from Roccafluvione||altimetry|
|Santa Maria in Lapide||altimetry|
Departure from Roccafluvione, a few kilometers from the SS4 Salaria. From the cemetery we follow a stretch of almost 3 kilometers slightly uphill, ideal for warming up, and immediately face the first effort of the day: the ascent to the pass of Croce di Casale. The main feature of this climb is the almost total absence of cars, since the traffic is now diverted on the new road made in 2007, so it could almost be considered a real bike path. The ascent is always pleasant and easy. The slope remains fairly constant around 5 or 6%, with some 7% points. The maximum slope at 9% is immediately after the start of the climb. The road winds with beautiful bends in the middle of the wood, so it is mostly shaded. Because of the presence of trees, the view is not exceptional, but occasionally we can see Sibillini, with the unmistakable profile of Mount Vettore and Sibilla. Immediately after Casale the view is discovered on both sides and Mount Ascensione appears on the right. The road flattens and we arrive gently up to the pass.
At the pass begins a very beautiful panoramic stretch, with a view that opens on all sides. You have the opportunity to admire the valley of Fluvione, which is practically our goal today, on the left, while on the right there is the valley of Aso, with Vettore and Sibilla always in the background. Until the village of Polverina we have a mixed stretch, with the classic up and down trend (mangia e bevi,”eat and drink”, in Italian). Then you always go uphill to Passo Pescolle. This ascent is not very demanding, except for the short but decisive ramps of Propezzano. Propezzano, heavily hit by the 2016 earthquake, is the first fraction of Montegallo we meet today.
Following an itinerary through the Montegallo today unfortunately means observing, in addition to the characteristic landscapes of the wild nature of Sibillini, also the effects of the destruction caused by the seismic events of 2016, which were certainly important here. Until August 24, 2016 the various villages were a peaceful holiday resort for many people who have their origins here and who came here every summer to escape the stressful city life, especially of Roma. After the earthquake everything changed and today, pedaling here, on the same days of July and August a year later, we see half-destroyed and abandoned villages, where only the fountains continue to live, with their fresh water that has never stopped to rush impetuous and nonchalant of events. I have already discussed the topic of destruction. Here I simply want to propose a nice bike ride through places that are still beautiful and characteristic.
The descent to the bottom of Fluvione valley is funny and easy, but you have to pay attention to the road surface, which sometimes is a bit uneven. Particular attention should be paid at the district of Piano, where you throw in a stretch always shaded and dark, in the woods. We descend pedaling along the valley, crossing Bisignano and arrive at the gates of Uscerno, where we turn right to face the climb that leads to the village of Abetito.
The climb is beautiful, with several hairpin bends and challenging but not impossible ramps. The maximum slope is 12%, just before reaching the village. The first part is characterized by shaded and fresh stretches. Then the view opens on the valley of Fluvione and Sibillini. The small villages of Collicello and Corbara look quite impressive from the first hairpin, with the background of Mount Vettore. Once arrived at the first houses of Abetito, the road definitely becomes flat and we find ourselves going through a sort of up and down path to the wonderful and refreshing Fonte del Medico (which I have included in The seven best fountains of Sibillini), after which begins the descent to Forca, dangerous and demanding because of the uneven ground.
You can not rest. The descent ends and immediately it is time to face the main effort of the day, the ascent to Balzo from Santa Maria in Lapide. The first ramp immediately reaches 12%. Then the climb gets a bit easier. The view is already fantastic. We are in the wild nature of Montegallo, with woods, green meadows, rocky outcrops and blue sky that blend in spectacular scenery. A small piece of uneven road draws our attention and soon we reach the hardest stretch. Approximately 750 meters with constantly double-digit slope. The maximum is 14%. Suddenly, behind a bend to the left, the road flattens and we find ourselves at the village of Balzo, the main one of Montegallo. Here you can stop to take a picture of Mount Vettore from the famous terrace.
Start again on a road recently reopened after the avalanches of the past winter, which will lead us just under Mount Vettore, near the characteristic villages of the area, until summer 2016 holiday and carefree places, unfortunately today real ghost towns. We reach Collefratte, then Colleluce. The altimetric trend is very irregular, with flat sections alternating with challenging ramps, at 10%. The ascent to Astorara is practically the last effort of the day.
Also in this case it is a short climb, less than two kilometers, but with really challenging ramps. The maximum slope reached is 14%, but the double-digit strokes are not few. The village of Astorara is striking for its beauty and its silence, broken only by the flow of spring water in the center of the village. The highest point is at the junction with the famous Sentiero dei Mietitori (The path of harvesters), at more than 1000 meters of altitude. The landscape here is beautiful. Mount Vettore is so close that it can be touched. Here, even in summer, the temperature is never excessive and autumn requires adequate clothing.
Start going down. Soon we come across the village of Colle, where the silence and the absence of people are a punch in my stomach, more tragically than elsewhere. The descent continues, also crossing rough and dangerous sections, reaching the characteristic rock walls of Interprète. Once during the summer, car horns could be heard constantly at these tight hairpin bends. Today silence is total.
We descend to the main road, near Castro, which is also severely hit by destruction, and then goes up again towards Balzo. At the junction for Roccafluvione turn left and start a long descent along a stretch of road that we have already faced today, which leads us to the village of Uscerno. Then you continue to go down, pedaling, up to the starting point.
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