Perugia, Italy to Passo della Futa, Italy

From 02/06/2014 to 20/06/2014

Day 1 – Maastricht to Perugia, Italy – Cycling 10kms

We were up at 5 and slowly got ready. Our daughter picked up the small trailer we rented and her aunt and came over. We packed the trailer with the bike boxes and duffel bags and left the house by 07:30. The flight was not until 12:20 but I wanted to make sure we didn’t have any problems with the large bike boxes (L180cm x H100cm x D25cm), but everything went perfect. All the worrying I’ve done was for nothing. The flight with Ryanair was smooth and hassle free.

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And before we knew it we were at Perugia airport putting the bikes together.

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It took us just over an hour to put the bikes together.

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And soon after leaving the airport we were treated to a beautiful site of Assisi perched on the hillside.

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It was finally nice to just kick back and enjoy a cold beer or three 😉

Day 2 Camping near Assisi to Castilglione del Lago on Lago Trasimeno – 77kms

After a good-nights sleep we were on the road at 07:00. We first headed south to Santa Maria degli Angeli looking for a SIM card for our tablet but we were a bit early so just headed west in the direction of Perugia. And It didn’t take long for the hills to start.

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The first real hill of the tour.

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Not shown in the picture but there was a lot of traffic the whole day and it was a bit of a shock as we weren’t that ready for it. Just spoiled I guess from cycling along car free cycling paths at home.

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A few kilometers west of Perugia on SS220 we started to see some beautiful landscapes.
Click on all panorama pictures to view larger.

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The hilltop village of Agello from the SS220.

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Farmhouse near the village of Mugnano.

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Lunch stop with a view of Lago Trasimeno.

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Castiglione del Lago

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Camping Listro

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Camping Listro is just on the lake, very good value for money, highly recommended.

Day 3 Lago Trasimeno to Siena – 93kms

What a day, it had everything we hoped for in a tour, great weather (warm to hot), some difficult hills, great views, we even had a small rain shower along the way. We were happy we started out early as we wouldn’t have made it before dark.

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The roads are pretty bad around here, the drivers are 98% good, (you always have the odd asshole in every group)

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We came across many beautiful villa’s along the way.

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The SP326 proved to be a very nice road to cycle along.

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The hilltop town of Montepulciano.

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A rare flat section of the days ride after the town of Sinalunga.

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We found this hunters shed half way a hill before the village of Rapolano Terme, to take some shelter from the sun and heat.

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Great riding after the village of Rapolano Terme.

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We thought the road next to the highway would be somewhat flat, boy were we wrong.

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But the great views made up for all the hard work.

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The great views continued until just a few kilometers before Siena.

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Finally we reached the extremely busy city of Siena.
*Tip* Avoid cycling through the city at rush hour.

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Cooking in the dark, after one of the best days cycling we’ve done in a long time.  The shower and toilet block at camping Colleverde in Sienna take top marks, but expensive at €28.

Day 4 Siena to Florence – 93kms

We have done the SR222 in the spring of 2007 so we knew that there would be three hills today, unfortunately we had forgotten how difficult they were and we found out as soon as we left camp at 07:00. But the SR222 was and still is one of the best rides in Italy and that’s why we decided to ride it again. The road was perfect as was the weather, even if it did get quite hot in the afternoon.

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The SR222 is the one in the middle of the picture below, click to enlarge.

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Before the village of Fonterutoli.

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Taking a breather after the village of Fonterutoli.

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The fantastic views continued, click to view better.

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The fantastic views continued, click to view better.

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Having a short siesta along the river Pesa.

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Almost half way there.

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Taking a breather on the longest hill of the day.

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And the reward from the top.

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More fantastic villas along this road.

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View towards Florence from the top of the last hill.

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Crossing the Fiume Arno in Florence.

Day 5 Florence to Fiesole – 14kms

The camping in Florence was the worst we’ve ever experienced in a very long time. We had plans to have a rest day here and maybe explore Florence again but it wasn’t meant to be. There was nothing open at the camping the only things that worked were the ATM machine (so no excuses for not paying) and the all night discotheque just above the camping which  kept us awake until late into the night. We camped on gravel with cigarette buts everywhere, the showers were filthy and we ended up just taking all our stuff (bikes included) to the bar area to have diner and the next morning breakfast. Avoid at all costs. After breakfast in the morning we looked at our tablet for the nearest camping so we could rest and the app (maps with me) showed one at Fiesole.

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Breakfast in the shitty camping Michelangelo Florence.

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One of the nicest things we’ve found in Florence was all the Jasmine plants everywhere, there were whole walls covered with the flowers which gave out the most beautiful fragrance imaginable.

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As tired as we were we had this extremely difficult climb to Fiesole.

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The higher we went the better views we were having of Florence.

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Having another break about half way up the hill. Florence could be seen in the distance.

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More views of Florence.

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More views of Florence.

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Fiesole village center.

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Finally made it to Camping village Panoramico Fiesole. Were sitting here at poolside with Florence sprawled below us, and enjoying one of many Moretti beers. And believe me you me we really worked hard for these.

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Another view of Florence.

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The lovely pool we enjoyed.

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And having diner poolside with Florence below. This is the best camping so far. Not cheap but with a location like this well worth it.

Day 6 Rest day Fiesole – 0kms

We needed a rest day and we couldn’t think of a better place than this to rest. The night was quiet, cool in the hillside woods and we slept in. Later on the morning we walked down to the village for some supplies and just to stretch our legs and by noon we were back at poolside enjoying more great views and cold drinks.
Below is the view we had from inside our tent.

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Early morning view from our tent.

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Early morning view from our tent.

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Our camping spot taken from the terrace above.

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View North from the village of Fiesole.

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View of Florence airport from the camping.

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This is Marijke en Joop, the lovely couple we met yesterday just before Fiesole. We were taking a breather when we spotted these two flying down the hill so I waved them to stop so I could give them the map of Florence I was carrying and we got to chatting. They were almost finished their tour from The Netherlands to Rome and were heading to Camping Michelangiolo so we warned them about the condition of the camping and advised them that they should check out Camping Panoramico and maybe see if there was a shuttle bus that went into Florence. They took our advise and we spent our time at the camping sharing stories, experiences and several beers 🙂 cheers guys. Hope our paths cross again someday.

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Evening view from our camping spot.

Day 7 Fiseole to Camping Il Sergente, a few kilometers before Passo Della Futa – 46kms

Tried to get up early but it was difficult. It seems we were lucky enough to enjoy some sort of national holiday so they had a big party in the village which last until 04:00 with Karaoke than Disco music. When we finally did get underway at 06:45 the climbing started but didn’t last long and we were treated to a very long and cold downhill to the Fiume Sieve river. We followed the river to the Lago di Bilancino. After crossing the bridge we got on the Via Nazionale towards Passo Della Futa.

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The main road after Fiseole, with the Apennines in the distance. Click to view better.

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Looking North from the bridge crossing Lago di Bilancino.
We didn’t know it yet but we had to over the far ridge center of page.

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Views from the Via Nazionale.

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Looking back you can still Lago di Bilancino, middle right.

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The climbing continued, and in the midday sun it was getting very difficult.

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We kept on climbing in the heat of the day. A couple of times we felt dizzy from the heat and had to take shelter in whatever shade we could find. Lago di Bilancino can still be seen in the distance mid left of picture. Click to view better.

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One last look at Lago di Bilancino from the village of Santa Lucia.

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And a picture of the lake and the bridge we crossed, using the zoom setting on my camera.

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That evening we treated ourselves to a nice dinner in the restaurant at the camping.
An extremely difficult but again rewarding ride.

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