Valley of Tenna, panoramic hills and ancient villages
Cycling on the silent roads of the hills around the middle course of the Tenna river. A very scenic itinerary, with the view that ranges from Sibillini mountains to the sea, which will allow us to reach beautiful villages such as Falerone, Penna San Giovanni, Monte San Martino, Amandola, Smerillo, Montefalcone and Santa Vittoria in Matenano. Of course there will be not many flat segments, but a lot of not too demanding climbs, certainly spectacular.
|Estimated elevation gain what’s that?||1800 m|
|Min elevation||199 m|
|Max elevation||793 m|
|GPX track tutorial||download
|Penna San Giovanni from Contrada Saline||altimetry|
|Monte San Martino from T. Tennacola||altimetry|
|Smerillo from Val Tenna||altimetry|
We start from Servigliano (Servijà), a village located on the bottom of the Tenna valley. The old town was built in the eighteenth century by Pope Clement XIV following the destruction of the old castle due to a landslide. Castel Clementino, as Servigliano was called for a hundred years, became one of the most characteristic villages of the Fermo area, thanks to its quadrangular plan, which recalled the concept of the Ideal City.
We warm up a bit pedaling towards Piane di Falerone, where, paying attention, we turn left to begin the ascent towards the first hill of the day. The climb to Falerone is easy, so much so that, done quietly, it can be considered a kind of warm-up. Halfway we meet the characteristic towers of the old target shooting area, at the Contrada San Paolino, with the church showing off in the middle of the green meadows on the left.
At Falerone (Falleró) the climb ends. A nice stretch of ups and downs begins on a truly panoramic ridge. At Madonna delle Grazie the view opens onto the Sibillini mountains and the Tenna valley. We observe all the hills that we will face today: Penna San Giovanni, Monte San Martino, Smerillo and Santa Vittoria in Matenano. The Gran Sasso mountain also appears in the background. On the right the spectacle of the hills up to Mount Conero.
A little climb leads us to Contrada Colline, then we begin to descend. Just before arriving in Sant’Angelo in Pontano we turn left to face the beautiful descent of Contrada Saline, during which we meet the Church of Santa Lucia di Salino, on the right. We arrive at the bottom where we find the beautiful Parco delle Saline and our first real effort of the day begins: the ascent to Penna San Giovanni. We are welcomed by a sign that calling “terrorist” is an understatement. The 25% gradient announced just before the hairpin bend is absolutely exaggerated, given that the detected slope is 12%.
The climb is beautiful and demanding, but not impossible. The initial stretch is the hardest, almost three kilometers with an average gradient close to 8%. Then, after the crossroads for Gualdo, the road flattens and with a very gentle slope around 5-6% we reach the village of Penna San Giovanni. The fountain is on the left, near Porta Marina, while on the right there is a viewpoint on the Tenna valley and the Sibillini.
The descent to the Tennacola stream is fast and technical. It could be a lot more fun if the road surface was better. Paying attention we reach the bottom of the valley, where the green of the cultivated fields is interrupted by the yellow of the just blooming flowers (we are in Spring).
The climb to Monte San Martino is beautiful, pleasant, not too demanding. The road winds through green meadows and yellow daisies, completely uncovered and exposed to the sun. In the summer it is very hot here and hydration becomes essential. A couple of ramps around 10% lead us to the cobblestones of the village of Monte San Martino, where we stop to fill the bottle at the characteristic fountain, located on a terrace on the Tenna Valley.
Descending westward, the view of Sibillini and the Tenna valley is spectacular. On the left we meet the beautiful Church of Madonna delle Grazie. We leave the hill of Monte San Martino behind us to face a dozen kilometers of ridge, characterized by the typical ups and downs of Marche. The landscape is wonderful and the breathtaking view of the mountains and the underlying San Ruffino Lake keeps us company along a stretch that could otherwise be boring.
At Rustici Pass we begin to descend towards Amandola. We cross the characteristic Porta San Giacomo and descend again towards the Tenna river. At the end of the 6 km of road at the bottom of the valley we reach the beautiful Abbey of San Ruffino, on the right, which certainly deserves a little stop, even fill the bottle at the fountain.
At the hamlet of Val di Tenna we turn right to face the main climb of this tour: the ascent to Smerillo. Length 7.6 km, average slope 5.9%, with several ramps around 11%. These are only technical data, which say nothing about the main aspect of this climb: the view.
The first segment has a rather irregular trend, with small ramps at 10% that alternate with almost flat sections. We meet several small villages: San Martino al Faggio, Castorano and Ceresola. At Ceresola we turn left and the climb becomes more demanding. The second segment begins, the most spectacular one. Many bends in the middle of the meadows, with the view of Sibillini always present. I call it the little Pordoi. The road is a gray ribbon in the middle of the green fields. You go up constantly, enraptured by the classic relaxing and satisfying colors: the green of the meadows, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds.
We reach the highest point, at the cemetery. The small village of Smerillo (Smerillu) is located a few hundred meters to the left. Definitely worth taking some time to visit it, as well as Montefalcone Appennino, which we meet going down.
The descent continues, always very panoramic. The imperfect road surface requires our full attention, so we cannot allow the panorama to distract us too much. A small climb lead us to the last hill of the day, Santa Vittoria in Matenano. The village dominates the two valleys of Aso and Tenna and welcomes us with its Tower of Abbot Odorisio.
From here there is only a long and restful descent, which takes us first to the village of Curetta, to continue quietly to the starting point.
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