Start and Arrival: Montefalco
Distance: 24,5 km
Height difference: 650 metres
Surface: 60% dirt, 40% sealed
What to see: Montefalco, Fabbri, Trevi, Bevagna, Giano dell’Umbria, Madonna della Stella
Montefalco is famous for its lovely historical centre and its beautiful setting, which has given it the name of “Ringhiera dell’Umbria”(the balcony of Umbria) because of its wonderful views. But probably what has made it so well known throughout the world are its vineyards and its excellent wine: Sagrantino di Montefalco.
This medium level route discovers the attractions of the town centre, and also the beauties of the surrounding countryside with its gentle hills, olive groves and vineyards, where the best of wines can be tasted. The trail is almost entirely along sealed and wide dirt roads, with only one short, difficult, rough stretch. The climbs are not particularly long or steep, but the succession of hills and dales make it hard for anyone who is not really fit.
Leaving the historical centre, the trail descends towards Camiano and continues downhill to km 2,4, where it turns right into a wide dirt road towards Fabbri. Here, it turns right just before the cemetery and continues to just below Turrita along a pretty country road amongst the grapevines.
It returns to the sealing at km 7,6 then turns left, then right after 600m up the sealed road to Turrita.
It continues straight ahead from here for a few kilometres, crosses the main road towards Cortagnone, then returns to dirt road at km 10,3.
This is where the prettiest part of the trail begins, along a rolling dirt road (photo on left) over vine-clad hills where the eye can roam from the Martani hills to Montefalco. At km 15,5, it turns off the main dirt road to the right, first downhill, then up a rather steep climb.
At the sealed road it turns right towards Casale, then left at the church along another downhill dirt road (here, less expert bikers can continue straight ahead and return to Montefalco following the road signs). This is the most difficult, rough part of the trail, but it can be tackled by less expert bikers if they are careful enough. At the end of the descent, after a short run through thick vegetation, it returns back uphill to meet the sealed road at km 19,5, close to Pietrauta. From here it goes straight back to Montefalco, or alternatively, it can be extended along a couple of dirt tracks to Montepennino, before returning outside the walls of Montefalco.
Things not to miss
Montefalco, famous for its Sagrantino wine and the beautiful views that have given it the name of “la ringhiera dell’Umbria” (the balcony of Umbria). Amongst the buildings worth visiting are the church of San Francesco, the Pinacoteca, with works by Francesco Melanzio, Antoniazzo Romano and paintings from the Umbrian school between the 14th and 18th centuries, and the crypt with archeological findings and other sculptures. The village is still enclosed by its 13th century walls and is dominated by the church of Sant’Agostino, built, together with its convent, in the second half of the 13th century.
A few kilometres from Montefalco is Foligno, third largest town of Umbria, which has beautiful buildings such as the Duomo, the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Infraportas, the church of San Salvatore, the ex- church of San Domenico and the Nunziatella oratory.
Along the trail there are magnificent views of the valleys below and many vineyards where bikers can stop to taste wine and other local products.