Where the unspoiled nature of the Apennines meets the deep blue hues of the Adriatic Sea, you are in Le Marche. Here, contrasts and the most diverse landscapes come together to form an impressive overall picture. In the West of the region, the Apennines reign supreme. The region's highest peak is Monte Vettore (2,476 m) in the province of Ascoli Piceno.

This mountain is part of the Monti Sibillini massif that has been declared a national park. The landscape between the high mountains and the coast is strongly hilly. This part of the Marches is an agricultural area that produces wine, olives and fruit. The coastline of the Marches is about 170 kilometers long with beautiful sandy beaches interrupted by rugged rock formations.

Unspoiled nature and a vessel of culture

Pure nature in one of Italy’s most unspoiled, wildest and most charming regions: you’ll experience that in no time in the Marches. Between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines, 70% of the region consists of hills and mountains with picturesque villages/towns on their summits. Nowhere in Italy is nature so varied, with densely wooded nature reserves, endless coastal roads, idyllic river valleys and exhausting mountain roads – a cycling vacation could hardly be more varied. Between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines are also spectacular natural wonders such as the stalactite caves of Frasassi, an extraordinary number of historic amphitheaters and beautiful walled, historic villages where time stood still hundreds of years ago. The Marches thus not only challenges the calves, but also enchants cyclists who love nature, culture and delicious cuisine.

On the trail of Marco Pantani to the summit of Monte Carpegna

Here in Le Marche we also follow in the footsteps of professional cyclists. The overall picture of the varied landscapes is also appreciated by the pros – and not only during the Giro d’Italia. After all, the legendary Marco Pantani liked to train very much on Monte Carpegna (1,415 m) in northwestern Le Marche. Monte Carpegna is six kilometers long and covers 625 altitude meters with an average gradient of 10.5%. The top of the climb is at 1369 meters altitude. The climb to the top of Pantani’s col, starts from the village of Carpegna and lei(ij)d you to the top in 22 clearly marked hairpin turns. This challenge is one for real climbers and those who love the steep monstrosities. Coming from the coast, it is a good 40 km of uphill cycling at about 2% before you can start the fight with the forces of gravity. The monument in honor of Pantani (“The Carpegna is enough for me.”) stands neatly in the woods. A little further on, you’ll find a welcome little fountain. The first two kilometers of the climb are the hardest, with an average gradient of more than 12%. But also between kilometers 3 and 3.5 you will have to do much more than clean out your ears, because here you will encounter a stretch of 100 meters at 20.7%.

The monument to Marco Pantani, near the Cippo kiosk, has become a real place of pilgrimage for cycling fans.In the beautiful pine forests you can still feel the breath of legends as you push yourself to the limit on the roads of Monte Carpegna. By the way, large parts of this magnificent massif belong to the Natural Park Sasso Simone e Simoncello.

Dream rides of a very diverse nature

On two narrow tires on an F1 pit road or following in the footsteps of the Giro d’Italia icons? Anything is possible in the Marche region. The region literally cries out for extraordinary cycling adventures.

Besides the picturesque villages, coastal roads and mountain peaks in the hinterland, you can also discover the culture, cuisine and architecture of the major cities. The “Panoramica” through the Parco Naturale Monte San Bartolo is a highlight for a leisurely introduction to the Marche region. A trip along the Adriatic coast to Monte Conero (512 m) in the natural reserve of the same name is also beautiful. In the Monti Sibillini National Park, things get a little more challenging, climbing on sub-Apennine roads. And on the tour around the Gola del Furlo Nature Reserve, there is not only the historic center of Urbino – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – but also the 141 km loop with 2,080 meters of altitude via Piobbico, Cagli, Pegola and back to Fossombrone in the Metauro Valley.

Cycling resort for nature lovers

The Marche region – Le Marche in Italian – has much more to offer for cyclists who love altitude and nature. At the Natural Village Resort in Porto Picena, you’ll find everything to pamper you as a cycling enthusiast. Relaxation/recovery and water fun on the private beach and by the pool after cycling. Exercise and mental healing while cycling. The resort offers a wide range of all-in-one sports activities and opportunities to make the day in the saddle unforgettable. The resort is surrounded by a varied landscape of hills and mountains with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. On one side rises Monte Conero, the mountain of desire, with its lush natural park, and on the other spread dream beaches. The modern and fully equipped chalets offer fantastic views of the natural park and the sea. The cycling day can end with Mediterranean specialties and a glass of wine at the Ristorante Seaside right on the beach. Afterwards, you might dream of Marco Pantani’s legendary cycling successes or your own top victories in the Marche region and how you became the new Pantani.

Stay overnight at specialized cycling hotel:
Natural Village Resort****


Photos © Alex Moling

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