Start and Arrival: Passignano s. T.
Height difference: 1.100 metres
Surface: 70% dirt, 30% sealed
What to see: Passignano, Tuoro, Castel Rigone, Magione, Parco del Trasimeno
The route starts from Passignano and goes through the thick woods on the hills over lake Trasimeno to the north. The most difficult part, which is also the most spectacular, is the middle of the trail, where it climbs up to Valico Gosparini and the slopes of Monte Castiglione. There are no really steep grades, but the distance and notable height difference make it a trail for expert bikers.
The start is at the carpark on the lakeshore at Passignano, near the auditorium and the Quattro Camini restaurant, where it exits towards Arezzo. Outside the town, after 2,5 kilometres it turns left towards the recycling plant onto dirt road. Over the level crossing it runs right along the Trasimeno cycling track which runs for about 10 kilometres to Borghetto through woods and meadows close to the lake.
At Borghetto it turns right and after the subway under the E45 motorway, it turns left off the main road. After a brief climb along sealed road, it turns right and follows the yellow “mtb” signs , then after 300m it turns left into a dirt road towards Montegualandro, starting the first long climb (photo on left).
This is where the most beautiful part of the trail starts, through thick woods and with wonderful views of the lake and surrounding valleys (it is advisable to go in Autumn, when the colours are at their unique best). The climb ends with a series of runs up and down the hilltop to the sealed road at km 26,5, where the trail runs left and starts climbing again to Valico Gosparini, another wonderful view point.
Here it turns right and continues to climb, running along the hilltop for several kilometres (photo upper right). It then tackles a couple of difficult downhill stretches before returning to the sealing at km 41,2 (the most expert bikers can do the single track on the right then continue downhill to the sealing, where they can follow the signs to Passignano to return to the start). By turning right, it begins the scenic descent that returns in a few kilometres to the starting point.
Things not to miss
Passignano, which still has its original aspect of a fortified village protected by walls and a Rocca (tower). The church of San Cristoforo and the fifteenth century church of San Rocco are of artistic interest. Don’t forget that it is possible to visit the Maggiore and Polvese islands by boat.
See the castle of the Knights of Malta at Magione, one of the best in Umbria, square-shaped with round towers at each corner. The present castle, developed from a hospice founded in the XII century by the Knights of Jerusalem, is the result of extensions to an earlier castle built around a XII century Benedictine abbey which is believed to have been a seat of the Knights Templar.
Enjoy the hills around the lake through which most of the trail runs, where there are beautiful views of the woods and lake (photo above).
Nearby, the villages of Castel Rigone, Montecolognola and Monte del Lago are also worth seeing.