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Bike and bubbles: discovering the nature of Lombardy

Nature in Lombardy - between mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers, plains and vineyards - is rich and varied: five cycling routes to discover everything.

Mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers, plains and vineyards, spas and prehistoric sites: nature in Lombardy is rich and varied, for all tastes and cycling abilities. Here are five itineraries to discover its many faces - alongside a glass of the famous Franciacorta Brut bubbly. These scenarios will host the closing stages of the Giro d'Italia.

 

1. The Lakes Cycleway

 

Bellagio, Lake Como - Lombardy

Bellagio, Lake Como

This is a long cycling itinerary of striking scenery passing through Lecco, Como and Varese. It starts from Colico (near Lecco) and ends at Ponte Tresa, on the border between the province of Varese and Switzerland. It can be followed entirely along the route taking in 14 large and small lakes. Alternatively, you can take a few shorter stretches and go directly to discover the three cities and their relaxing lakeside charm rich in history, culture and nature. You will pass many villages, archaeological sites and noble villas along the way - don't miss a visit to the places associated with Manzoni's "The Betrothed", between Lecco and Como, on "That branch of the Lake of Como, which turns toward the south...".

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2. The Stelvio Pass

 

Stelvio Pass - Lombardy

Stelvio Pass

The most ambitious bike ride in the Stelvio National Park is the one tackling the climb up to the Stelvio Pass itself along the hairpin bends connecting Valtellina and Val Venosta. The traditional climb starts from Bormio for 21 km up 34 hairpin bends to the Stelvio Pass almost 3000 m. above sea level, over a spectacular route set in nature among perennial snows, woods, streams, lakes and waterfalls. It is a rather demanding itinerary and therefore recommended for expert cyclists who can freshen up along the way in the spa waters of Bagni Vecchi di Bormio.

 

3. Lake Garda: the Cycle Trail of Dreams

 

Cycle Trail on Lake Garda - Lombardy

Cycle Trail on Lake Garda

Starting from Limone sul Garda, on the Brescia banks of the lake, the Cycle Trail of Dreams is a spectacular route clinging to a rocky ridge overlooking the water suspended 50 metres above the lake. The track reaches the border with Trentino, and a slow ride ensures you can enjoy a truly unique view that is fascinating even in the dark, thanks to the lighting system that makes it passable even at night. This cycle route is part of the larger Ciclovia del Garda project, a circuit of about 140 km which, on completion, will take in the entire perimeter of the lake.

 

4. Franciacorta Brut - A Green Route

 

Franciacorta vineyards - Lombardy

Franciacorta vineyards

An intoxicating 30 km circuit among the terraces and vineyards of the Brescia wine-growing area producing this famous bubbly (departure and arrival in Clusane d'Iseo). The rolling hills are dotted with churches and monasteries, such as San Pietro in Lamosa, flanking Lake Iseo: it is highly recommended to take the boat to Monte Isola, one of the finest villages in Italy, which also has a special cycling itinerary for visitors. We can also visit the Torbiere del Sebino Nature Reserve on wooden walkways. From here, it is well worth moving on to the opposite end of the lake to reach Lovere, another of the finest villages in Italy.

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5. The River Oglio cycle path

 

Palazzolo sull'Oglio - Lombardy

Palazzolo sull'Oglio

This is an important section of a large European cycle route intended to connect Germany, Austria and Switzerland with Venice, the gateway to the Mediterranean. The long stretch in Lombardy takes in the entire Val Camonica, the Tonale and Aprica Passes, the Adamello Alpine Park, Valtellina and the River Adda over a route through the mountains in the region: the Oglio Bike Tour is held here every year, between May and June, involving professionals and amateurs covering the entire route from Ponte di Legno to the Po Delta. The rock engravings of Val Camonica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a major attraction and can be visited in eight equipped parks scattered all over the valley.