Jim’s Challenge – The Italian Job (11th – 16th June)

Quintessentially Foundation Annual Charity Bike Ride

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6 days / 5 nights Depart: London – Venice Return: Rome – London

Cycle south through Italy, from the unique city of Venice on the Adriatic Coast to Rome, the capital, renowned for its ancient history. Our exciting challenge takes us Italian job venicesouth on flat roads from the canals of Venice, crossing farmland and waterways. We then come to the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria, passing terracotta-roofed towns with striking bell-towers and Renaissance churches, and small traditional villages hidden among the fertile fields growing corn, fruit and olives. The terrain is hilly, with some long climbs and steep gradients – it’s wonderful cycling country, but not to be undertaken without training! We come down out of the hills on our last day and have a relatively flat run-in to Rome, where we finish a stone’s throw away from some of the main sights. This trip combines diverse, challenging cycling with a wonderful Italian experience.

The Itinerary

Day 1
11th June: Fly London – Venice Venice is renowned for its beautiful waterways and buildings, such as St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto
Bridge. Dependent on flight times, you can enjoy some free time exploring the sights of this wonderful city. We meet up at our mainland hotel in the evening, and ensure our kit and bikes are fully prepared for the start of our challenge tomorrow. Night hotel. (Lunch not included)Italian Job day 1
Day 2
 12th June: Venice – Ravenna Leaving Venice behind, we start cycling! We head south through fertile fields, crossing many small canals and rivers which drain into the Venetian Lagoon, still only a few miles to the east. Our terrain today is predominantly flat, allowing us to ease ourselves in relatively gently: it is, however, a long day in the saddle! We avoid the larger towns, but pass through several small towns and villages, all with a distinctive Italian flavour. Just before our halfway mark we cross the River Po – Italy’s longest river– at the neck of its delta, a vast area of sandbars and wetlands. Continuing south, and roughly parallel to the Adriatic coast, we ride alongside the huge lagoon of Comacchio; it could be windy here by the water’s edge. Not long afterwards we come to the outskirts of Ravenna, an ancient city with many buildings and monuments dating back to the 5th Century AD. Night hotel. Cycle approx 99 miles (160km)
Day 3
13th June: Ravenna – Arezzo A tough day today, as we clock up almost as many miles as yesterday, but on much hillier terrain. This morning, however, is flat as we head southwest and further inland, passing through fields and farmland, and small towns. Skirting the busy city of Forli, we soon start to see hills on our horizons, and after the pretty town of Meldola our roads start to incline gently. The gradients grow steeper and our surroundings gradually change from flat farmland to wooded hills. At the pretty town of Santa Sofia the gradient becomes more challenging and we follow narrow twisting roads into the hills and along ridges. This area has National Park status and is beautiful. After a lovely descent and a few miles of flattish riding, we start to climb again, with twisting hair-pin bends taking us back up into the wooded hills. There are some steep sections, but we take it steady and enjoy our surroundings. An exhilarating 10-mile descent follows, and the last 20 miles form a fairly flat valley ride as we pedal alongside the river Arno. Our day ends at Arezzo, another beautiful city full of wonderful architecture and monuments. Night hotel. Cycle approx 95 miles (153km) Discover Adventure Ltd Throope Down House Blandford Road Tel 01722 718444 Fax 0843 2905 289 info@discoveradventure.com www.discoveradventure.com
Day 4
14th June: Arezzo – Orvieto Today sees another demanding day as we head further into Tuscany. Although there are no particularly long climbs, we will be

Italian job day 4almost continually climbing and descending, with very few flat sections. The scenery is beautiful again. We set off from Arezzo, heading south on a rolling road, and soon leave the traffic behind for quieter, rural roads. Our first steeper climb comes after 18 miles, as we climb up to the picturesque walled village of Lucignano, perched atop the hill. A fast descent follows, then more rolling roads through farmland and small villages. A flatter stretch follows as we approach the ancient town of Chiusi, an important city around 500BC when it was part of the Etruscan civilisation. The climbing starts here again, and we enjoy a hilly afternoon passing shady woodland and vineyards as we head south, crossing into Umbria. A couple more steep climbs await us towards the end of the day, but then we have roughly 10 miles of descent to finish our day. Orvieto is another ancient town, dominated by a huge cathedral, built on the top of rocky cliffs rising over the plains below. Night hotel. Cycle approx 80 miles (128km)

Day 5

15th June: Orvieto – Rome Our last day of cycling continues through beautiful old towns and villages. We are still in hill-country, but today’s terrain is gentler with more gradual climbs. A flattish road takes us out of Orvieto, but before long we start to climb gently. Our road then becomes steeper and winds up through the hills as we approach the old town of Bagnoregio. We then descend fairly gently for over 15 miles through fields of crops, interspersed here and therewith rows of olive trees. Our last long climb takes us back into the hills again, then we enjoy another fabulous descent through woodland, catching small glimpses of the blue Lago di Vico below. A shorter climbs and descent on narrow roads brings us to the larger Lake Bracciano; we ride along the lake’s edge for several miles before heading off southeast, again on small roads. Our roads are now fairly flat as we approach Rome’s outskirts through woodland and quiet towns. Rome’s busy streets are not very conducive to easy cycling, so we follow a cycle path that runs along the River Tiber, taking us right into the heart of this ancient city, finishing within a stone’s throw of some of its most famous sights. After the obligatory photos, we head off to our central hotel, and relax! We meet again for an evening of celebrations. Night hotel.

cycling to rome