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Mediaeval Umbrian Cycling

from $2,699.00

This 10-night holiday combines gentle pedalling through olive groves, sunflower fields and vineyards with time in gorgeous historic towns and sun-drenched villages with 4 nights spent in Spoleto with its fantastic architecture and opportunities to visit Rome and Norcia, famed for its cured meats.

  • Reviews 14 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Mediaeval Umbrian Cycling.

Few places can stir emotions quite as intensely as Umbria. To visit here is to embark on a journey into a timeless world of sun-drenched landscapes, ancient hill villages and some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met.
This 10-night self-guided cycling holiday combines scenic pedalling through olive groves, sunflower fields, vineyards and apricot orchards with the chance to explore some of the most fascinating towns and historic villages in the country. You’ll freewheel along the stately Roman Via degli Ulivi and follow in the footsteps of emperors at the sacred springs of Campello sul Clitunno.
Highlights include the lovely hilltop wine village of Montefalco, ‘the balcony of Umbria’, and the fascinating historic city of Spoleto crammed with exciting Roman remains including Emperor Vespasian’s mother’s house, and fascinating original atrium, baths and mosaics. And, of course, no trip here would be complete without spending time in magical Assisi – be sure to visit St Francis’ Basilica with its beautifully ornate frescoes and his peaceful forest retreat on Monte Subasio where he used to stroll and preach to the birds.
The hotels we’ve selected for this holiday are pretty special too, ranging from a stunningly restored ancient hamlet, set in its own manicured gardens, to a panoramic 4-star hotel in Spello with a gourmet restaurant and one of the most prestigious wine cellars we’ve ever stumbled upon!

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 10 nights accommodations
  • Continental breakfast and 6 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS¬†navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Totally unspoiled cycling: olives, sunflowers, vineyards and apricot orchards
  • Gorgeous summer climate, soft terracotta colors, sun-drenched landscapes, panoramic views
  • Friendly, high quality hotels, most with private swimming pool; superb cuisine, amazing value wines
  • Beautiful hilltop villages and hamlets, each with its own hidden treasures
  • Assisi – jewel in the Umbrian crown; gorgeous Spello, Etruscan Perugia, mediaeval Montefalco
  • Four nights in the fascinating historic city of Spoleto
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive at Spello

    We meet you at Foligno station and take you (15 mins) to picturesque Spello in time for dinner in your hotel’s atmospheric restaurant. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Spello to Spoleto 50km/31.5mi

    Today is level cycling most of the way along the Teverone Valley with some of the best views of the week. We strongly recommend the short uphill detour to Trevi, a beautiful hilltop village dating back to Roman times and capital of the Umbrian olive oil industry. Finally your hotel is situated in the centre of Spoleto near to all the museums and restaurants. (Staying at Hotel Charleston, Breakfast only)

  3. Day 3 Day 3-5 At Spoleto

    Pretty hilltop Spoleto and the surrounding area offer a wealth of things for you to do on your 4 night stay here. The city of Spoleto has a wonderful history reflected in its Architecture dating back to the Etruscans, and including a Roman Amphitheatre, C10 Church, C12 Duomo and a 80m high C14 aqueduct. The castle here was a former prison and now houses an impressive art museum. Lots of lovely cobbled squares crammed with traditional trattorie for lunch. You can also take the train to the Emerald City of Rome. For those wanting to be more active why not walk the well signed trail up Spoleto’s Monteluco. As you climb the views of the Vale of Spoleto are certainly impressive. Or walk along the famous Spoleto – Norcia railway now a peaceful Via Verde taking you on a journey through the magical Valnerina. For cyclists take a ride passing pretty villages, olive groves and flowering meadows. In July you can also attend the Two Worlds Festival – a celebration of Classic and Opera music. (Staying at Hotel Charleston, Breakfast only)

  4. Day 4 Day 6 Spoleto to Marcellano 44km/27.mi

    The wines of Montefalco are known throughout the world, in particular the fine red Sagrantino. There is a climb up to the old village itself, ’the Balcony of Umbria’, but you are well rewarded with wine-tasting, magnificent views and beautiful mediaeval streets. Continue from here past lush green fields, poppies and buttercups before your last climb up to the mediaeval village of Marcellano. Your 4-star hotel is set within its own lovely gardens – fabulous panoramic views across the entire valley. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 7 At Marcellano

    It’s tempting to spend the day relaxing by the pool in the hotel’s tranquil grounds, but it would be a shame to miss the Roman walled town of Bevagna (10 mins by taxi; or you can cycle) – Umbria’s hidden gem. Visit the C13 Gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, the golden mediaeval theatre, or the C2 Roman temple and baths that include a spectacular lobster mosaic. Alternatively, you can opt for a circular cycle to Ceralto Castle. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 8 Marcellano to Torgiano 42km/26.5mi

    It’s picture perfect views all the way this morning as you arrive at the impossibly photogenic mediaeval village of Gualdo Cattaneo with its imposing C15 castle and C13 crypt. There’s a downhill whizz before gentle, flat cycling across the plain and a final short ascent into the old wine town of Torgiano, famous for its Lungarotti cellars. (Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

  7. Day 7 Day 9 At Torgiano

    There is a dedicated wine and olive oil museum – with tastings – in Torgiano’s pretty centro storico. Alternatively it’s a short bus or taxi ride (approx 15 mins) to the university town of Perugia, famous for one of Italy’s finest art collections and home to the renowned Baci chocolates. For the more energetic we provide route notes for optional cycle rides to the panoramic town of Bettona, which dates back to Etruscan times, or the capital of painted ceramics, Deruta.(Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

  8. Day 8 Day 10 Torgiano to Spello 43km/27mi

    Your last day’s cycling takes you along the ’Wine and Art Road’ to Brufa – lovely views of Perugia and Assisi – and on through the Chiascio Valley, on country lanes passing sunflower fields, ochre coloured farmhouses and meadows redolent with wild apricots and figs. There’s time to visit spectacular Assisi – the beautiful Piazza del Comune, the C13 Giotto frescoes and of course, the UNESCO recognised Saint Francis’ Basilica – before cycling on along the lovely traffic free Via degli Ulivi and through olive groves back to Spello. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 11 Leave Spello

    Leave Spello after breakfast for your flight home. Alternatively, perhaps spend extra nights in Rome – we can easily arrange these for you.

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Where you stay
Albergo La Bastiglia Hotel
The La Bastiglia Hotel boasts a beautiful setting at the foot of Mount Subasio, the enchanted mountain of Saint Francis. Originally an ancient mill the hotel has been lovingly restored and transformed into an unforgettable place to stay. There are 33 rooms divided into three categories, many overlooking the typical Umbrian landscape of cypress trees and olive groves. The restaurant serves a mix of ancient recipes and modern creations using the freshest ingredients. On display inside the hotel there is a collection of ceramics, antique furniture and important paintings from the private collection of Schifano and Norberto.
Hotel Charleston
Completely renovated in 2011, Hotel Charleston is set in a 17th-century building in Spoleto’s historical centre, next to the Modern and Contemporary Arts Museum. Its elegant, individually-decorated rooms feature a modern design. Wi-Fi is free in all public areas. Rooms are individually decorated, and come with exposed wooden beams on the ceilings. Each is equipped with a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A buffet breakfast is available each morning, and is served out on the terrace in warm weather.
Grand Relais Laurenti
Just outside the walls of the pretty hilltop village of Marcellano lies the supremely welcoming Grand Relais Laurenti, where nothing seems to be too much trouble. A recently restored former convent (formerly known as the Palazzo Gradoli), parts of the hotel date to as far back as 1516. Opened in 2006, the owner Laurenti Torrello spent thirteen years restoring the premises in order to ensure that all work was done to a suitably high standard. The well put together rooms have a distinctly cosy feel to them and retain original features such as the wooden beams on the ceilings. In addition to the hotel, the Grand Relais Laurenti owns 90 hectares of the surrounding land which is used by their own farm to raise livestock such as cattle and lamb to supply the restaurant with meat. They also produce their own olive oil from their own olive groves and pride themselves on their ability to source only the finest ingredients (such as truffles and porcini mushrooms) from the surrounding area. The restaurant itself has two chefs who provide a mixture of traditional regional food and more elaborate international fare.
Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro
Situated in the centre of the mediaeval town of Torgiano is Al Grappolo d’Oro (The Golden Bunch of grapes), a recently restored 19C residence. The hotel has 15 rooms, each individually decorated in a modern style with warm colours and furnished to a high standard, offering a cosy, welcoming stay. The art filled reception/lounge area gives the hotel character from the start but features such as the pool in the garden to the rear and the downstairs bar (along with the well-stocked breakfast buffet) mean that despite the B+B nature of the hotel, there is still the possibility to spend time relaxing here during the day. The owner Antonello Rossi also owns the wonderfully traditional Italian restaurant ‘Siro’, which lies around 300 metres away from the hotel and where evening meals will be taken.
Eating and Drinking

Continental breakfast and 6 evening meals.

Umbria represents Italian home cooking at its best and the region’s cuisine reflects its landlocked location. The distinctive taste of the region’s olive oil and black and white truffles flavor many of the dishes. The origins of many of the dishes derive from thrift, for example, bruschetta comes from toasting stale bread, covering it with olive oil and rubbing it with garlic. Similarly, crostini are thin slices of toast with a smear of pate, usually made from chicken liver, anchovies and capers. Cooked and cured meats also have a fantastic reputation in the region. You will get to try many of these famous and delicious antipasti, which will then be followed by a ‘primo’ (a first course). In Umbria this is usually a pasta dish oozing with flavor. Wild asparagus is popular in the spring and truffles feature more strongly in autumn. Secondi (second course) will then follow, the Umbrian preference is for grilled meats. Rapidly grilled spatchcocked rabbit and guinea fowl remain favorites. Desserts do not feature strongly on the Umbrian menu, cheese is often the post dinner preference and you will find the option to dip them in oil or honey.

Meal times are usually later throughout the day (08:00-10:00 for breakfast; 13:30-15:30 for lunch; 20:00-22:00 for dinner).

Wine also has a strong history in this region. It has been produced in Umbria since Etruscan times, when vines were first planted. Possibly the most unusual wine of the region is the Vernaccia di Cannara, a desert wine which is unlike any other as it is red.

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 45km (28 miles).
No. of days cycling: 4
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly undulating but the distances are kept relatively short to give you lots of time to enjoy the scenery.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 18/06/2019
4/5

Mr Inglis

We have now had four holidays with Headwater and this was probably the best. Umbria is still relatively unspoiled and the roads were quiet if not always well surfaced. The holiday took us to several picturesque villages but unfortunately they were often at the top of steep hills so unless you are young and fit be prepared to get off and push occasionally. One of us was happy with four days in Spoleto whereas the other would have preferred more time in any of the other hotels which were clearly better. We took advantage of the extra time in Spoleto by taking the train to Assisi. This seemed to be a better option than visiting it on the final day when we would have been encumbered by bikes. A special mention should be made of the warm welcome and stunning views at he Grand Relais Laurenti

Reviewed On 31/10/2016
5/5

Mr Hodgson

Enjoyable relaxing holiday, with good mix of activites, beautiful scenery,great food and comfortable hotels, highly recommended!

Reviewed On 31/10/2016
4/5

Mr Laxen

We really enjoyed our holiday, but because we chose the 10 day option, which included 4 nights in the hotel we liked least, Albergo La Macchia (all other hotels were 2 nights) we ended up being disappointed with this part of the trip. On one of our days off we took a train from Spoleto (very easy, but remember to validate tickets) to do a one day visit to Assisi (get the bus from the station to the last stop then walk down through Assisi), rather than stopping off for a short time on the last leg of the cycling. It was better to have a relaxing time to wander through Assisi. We will will certainly be thinking about another Headwater holiday.

Reviewed On 28/09/2016
5/5

Ms Skinner

They said we were mad- ' too hot!', ' too hilly!' ' too far' - they were wrong! We went in August and we are both only moderately fit and over 60. We have never enjoyed a holiday so much. Because you are cycling there is always a breeze. I would recommend taking ' camelpacks' ; these helped us to drink enough water and kept the water cool. Together with factor 50 liberally applied in the morning we never burned nor were we uncomfortable.

There was always a place to grab a juicy nectarine, cheese and bread en route and a swim at the end of the day before delicious evening meals in all the hotels.

We were greeted like royalty and slept like babies. I am officially in love with Italy.

So , any improvements? Yes, we went awol from Torgiano so that we could spend a whole day in Assisi. Assisi is so beautiful that it deserves more than a quick exhausted ramble in the middle of a cycle so, personally I would have preferred to stay closer to the this wonderful town rather than in Torgiano which was rather small and a little uninteresting.

Spoleto is also stunning and we extended our holiday both here and in Rome. Can't wait for the next one.... Now to choose.

Reviewed On 24/06/2015
4/5

Mrs Chessum

We had a very good time. It was a lovely holiday marred only by the directions being a little bit unreliable.

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