The idea of going from Rome to Angera entered my head last year, during my third participation in the Granfondo Strade Bianche: there I realized that with good training the idea of cycling from Rome, where I live, to Angera, where I was born, was not so crazy.
Studying the map, I saw the various locations to be crossed: Bracciano, Bolsena, Val D’Orcia, Siena, Florence, Mugello….a dream! The stages were put in such a way as to make the Milan – Angera a catwalk for sprinters: now I tell in detail about the five days.
The first leg of the Rome-Angera took me directly to Tuscany. This day combines two rides I have already done: Lake Bracciano and Lake Bolsena. The first 50 km leading to Trevignano Romano are basically flat: in this town I had a coffee before embarking on the Rocca Romana climb that marks the beginning of the Cassia. After passing Sutri and Viterbo, at km 100 Montefiascone looms beautiful and….minasty! In fact, to get to the town famous for the wine ‘Est! Est! Est!’ you have to climb to the 550-meter altitude. Montefiascone greeted me with a black cloud: I well decided to stop for lunch at the good ‘Ristorante da Roland’ to refresh myself.
After the lunch break I set off again: in Bolsena the sky became totally dark, and I took shelter from the universal downpour in a campsite. This break turned out to be an hour long: wanting to reach Radicofani, I put on my soul, a kway and shoe cover for the rain and set off. Shortly thereafter, at the height of San Lorenzo, I encountered a second deluge, as intense as the first but of shorter duration. By now there were only a few kilometers left to reach Radicofani, the last 8 of which were uphill (at 7 percent: reaching an altitude of 750 meters).
The satisfaction of Completing the 173 km.
expected was so much! I stopped to sleep at Hotel La Torre and ate the famous ‘Pici’ at ‘Le ginestre dell’Ada’: wine and bitters were not missed!
After a short walk through the beautiful old town of Radicofani (the town is definitely worth a visit) it is time to leave again. The first ten kilometers were all downhill. Having resumed the Cassia road, I pedaled toward San Quirico through the magnificent landscapes of the Val D’Orcia: Poggio Covili stands out for its beauty! After passing beautiful San Quirico, I continued pedaling past Buonconvento and after 70 km I reached Siena: a coffee in the city of the palio was the end of the first half of the stage.
From Siena I reached Monteriggioni: at km 85 it was time to have lunch in this wonderful medieval town! I had lunch at the restaurant Il Feudo, so that I could fully appreciate the beautiful square of the small town.
I had, however, underestimated the second part of the stage: the climb to Barberino Val d’Elsa is really tough (about 2 km at 10 percent!) The scenery, on the other hand, remains beautiful. From Barberino it is about 30 km to Florence, including the 4 km climb (easy this time) to San Casciano.
After 144 km Florence is finally reached! Seeing Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo empty because of the Covid leaves a strange feeling : beers at Brewdog (thanks Dany for the company !) and a kilo of Fiorentina at ‘Le Fonticine’ were my well-deserved reward ! Mimi Guesthouse was perfect: 300 meters away from Piazza della Signoria at a great price!
This stage loomed as the most difficult of the ‘traverse’: in fact, I had to cross the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, via the Futa Pass (920 meters).
The stage started badly: to get out of Florence I lost a lot of time because of traffic and also because of a Google Map that was not exactly cooperative. After 35 km I reached Barberino del Mugello, the base of the climb to the Passo della Futa: the 600 meters of elevation gain, diluted in about 13 km of climbing, are not insurmountable and I overcame them quite nimbly. From the point of view of landscape, I must admit that Mugello did not bewitch me like Val d’Orcia: on the other hand, the descent leading to Emilia Romagna is very beautiful! After passing beautiful mountain villages like Pian del Voglio and Montefredente, I stopped to eat at a typical trattoria (‘Al Bivio’) just before Rioveggio.
From Rioveggio to Modena is 70 km of flat terrain: the first 45 are very nice, on a very pleasant provincial road, while the second 25 on the via Emilia made me realize the difficulties of the next day.
Modena was thus reached, After 145 tiring but very pleasant kilometers!
In Modena I suggest FM23 for drinking great beers and eating typical gnocco fritto: the restaurant ‘Il Fantino’ was a great continuation! I slept at the San Filippo Neri Hostel, which is located just 600 meters from the wonderful historic center of Modena.
The elevation difficulties were now over: unfortunately, the road difficulties began!
In fact, the Via Emilia is everything that is furthest from bikefriendly: the road is often decidedly narrow, it is busy (even with ten-meter trucks), and it does not leave a moment to breathe.
In particular, I totally hated the stretch from Modena to Parma: in these 55 kilometers the traffic I found almost unbearable. Just before Fiorenzuola I stopped to eat at the trattoria ‘The Old Barracks’: the sky was once again threatening and I never wanted to ride on the Via Emilia in the rain.
After lunch I resumed pedaling at a decidedly brisk pace: crossing the Po at km 115 was very satisfying! The road is practically a saucer: in Lodi I took the last break, again to avoid the rain.
After 188 km I finally reached Milan
! After the due photo at the Duomo, I joined a friend of mine at the Navigli and we celebrated the 650 km in four days with the right and well-deserved beers !
After the 188 km of stage 4, the 69 km of the final stage presented themselves as a final catwalk.
And indeed crossing Rho, Legnano, Gallarate and Sesto Calende without doing almost any meters of climbing gave me the feeling of having accomplished the feat.Angera welcomed me with a wonderful day and, after a celebratory drone flight, I celebrated the 719 km with a rich barbecue. The crossing had come to an end!
- 719 km and about 6000 meters of elevation gain in 5 stages
- Best moments: Radicofani, val d’Orcia, Monteriggioni, the descent from the Futa Pass….casa!
- Baddest moments: 1, about 200 km long: the Via Emilia is something hallucinating on a bike!
- Consequently, how to avoid the Via Emilia? You could go through Cremona: I don’t know the way, but I’m willing to bet it’s better!
- FM 23 in Modena: three beers, gnocco fritto and sliced meats after 145 km. Life is beautiful!
- There is no shortage of camping sites in the first three stages: in fact, we pass near the Via Francigena.
- Backpacking and bikepacking. I carried a mini backpack on my shoulders with SLR, drone, shoe covers, kway and the necessities in case of hunger pangs. In the backpack attached to the saddle I put the rest: four underwear, four socks, two T-shirts, an extra cycling shirt and shorts, flip-flops, toothbrush and toothpaste. In total about 2 kg of stuff.
- Bike: a 2003 yellow Carnielli called ‘La Poderosa’
- A lot of towns and cities are passed; therefore, the problem of food and water is easily solved. For sleeping, however, you need to make reservations a few days in advance.
- Would I do it again? The straight answer is ‘No!’ but this is the same answer I gave myself after the first marathon….then I did five 🙂
- Similar craziness: Rome to Pescara by bike in one day!