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The Marche Region by bike: from the hinterland to the sea

From the Sibillini Mountains to the Conero Riviera: five cycling itineraries in the Marches Region from the hinterland to the sea for a green holiday inspired by nature.

The Marches Region is rich in cycling itineraries that pass through - and often connect - the sea and the hinterland, unwinding between astonishing cities of art and delicious local flavours: from the Sibillini Mountains to the Conero Riviera, here are five routes ideal for everyone ... for an active holiday reconnecting with nature. Natural scenery of huge impact that will also welcome stages of the Giro d'Italia.

 

1. From the Frasassi Caves to the sea at Falconara Marittima

 

Abbey of San Vittore alle Chiuse, Genga - Marche

Abbey of San Vittore alle Chiuse, Genga. Photo by: Massimo Rivenci / Shutterstock.com

An itinerary for everyone about 50 km long starting off from the hinterland down to the sea, unwinding amidst woods and vineyards. The starting point is Genga, a nature reserve also home to the Frasassi Caves, an underground complex in the heart of the Gola della Rossa and Frasassi Regional Natural Park. Along the way, there are spa oases such as Terme di San Vittore, abbeys such as San Vittore alle Chiuse built in limestone, hill-top villages such as Serra San Quirico, and castles such as Castelbellino and Rocca Priora. The WWF Ripa Bianca oasis at Jesi, on the outskirts of Falconara Marittima, is worth visiting as a protected area where herons nest in spring.

 

2. Ascoli Piceno and its mountain surroundings

 

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno - Marche

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno. Photo by: Regione Marche, license CC BY-SA 4.0

A 30 km, medium difficulty round trip from Ascoli Piceno discovering the surrounding mountains. The climb begins with the San Marco hill and continues towards Montagna dei Fiori, where the tiny church in the Piagge woods and the Hermitage of San Marco perched on the mountain top and reached only across stone staircase overlooking a sheer drop are worth a visit. The climb resumes among chestnut woods, marble quarries and pine forests towards San Giacomo, in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, where the view swoops from Mount Vettore, the highest peak in the Monti Sibillini National Park, down to the sea. The steep descent from here proceeds towards Ascoli or else turns towards San Vito and cross the wildest, most unspoilt area of the Montagna dei Fiori.

 

3. History, poetry and cycling in the hills

 Cloister of the Basilica di San Nicola, Tolentino - Marche

Cloister of the Basilica di San Nicola, Tolentino

An interesting itinerary passing between towns and villages rich in art and culture: more than 65 km of ups and downs of medium difficulty before the final descent to the sea. Sites to discover include Tolentino with its Basilica of San Nicola and frescoed Cappellone, the Abbey of Rambona in Pollenza and the historic centre of Macerata with the Carriage Museum, the Palazzo dei Diamanti and the Arena Sferisterio, home to the Macerata Opera Festival. Don't miss Recanati, the birthplace of Giacomo Leopardi: you can visit his home and places associated with his famous literary works, while admiring the horizon from the hillside of his poem L'Infinito. The descent begins here down from the hills as far as the colourful seaside town of Porto Recanati, where you can savour the typical fish soup with a secret recipe.

 

4. The lands of the Apennine Sibyl

 

Monte Sibilla - Marche

Monte Sibilla. Photo by: Buffy1982 / Shutterstock.com

A cycle ride along the Sibillini Apennine chain, between Monte Vettore, the highest peak, and Monte Sibilla - the legendary home to the cave of the mysterious prophetess of the same name, renowned for her oracles that attracted important figures from all over the world. The route passes through many villages route in the Monti Sibillini National Park: they include the tiny Montegallo, immersed in woodlands and rich in treasures such as the Church of Santa Maria in Lapide and the Church of the Sibille, with exquisite frescoes paying homage to the soothsayer. The medium-difficulty 70 km route comes to an end in Ascoli Piceno.

 

5. The Conero Riviera set amidst hills and the sea

 

Numana beach, Conero Regional Park - Marche

Numana beach, Conero Regional Park

An easy 50 km ride in the Conero Regional Park: a protected natural area on the promontory of the same name characterized by high cliffs overlooking the sea, enchanting bays and inviting paths for mountain bike fans. The route sets off from the lively seaside towns of Numana and Sirolo and then climbs up the hills towards Osimo, where the Cathedral of San Leopardo and the Cantinone underground caves, a long maze of tunnels dug into the sandstone, are worth a visit. Other stop-offs include Castelfidardo, the town famed for the accordion, Loreto and its not-to-be-missed Basilica della Santa Casa, and of course Ancona, where you can enjoy DOC Rosso Conero wine and mussels from Portonovo, a Slow Food centre.

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