Route » Difficult » Itinerario 28 (Norcia, Castelluccio and the infinite colours of nature at the foot of Monte Vettore)

ROUTE 28


Norcia, Castelluccio and the infinite colours of nature at the foot of Monte Vettore
Norcia, Preci, Visso, Forca di Gualdo, Castelluccio, Norcia

Technical Sheet

Starting and finishing point: Norcia
Distance: 79.5 km.
Total ascent: 1,900 metres
Grade: difficult
Road surface: asphalt
Recommended type of bike: road
Places to visit in the area: Norcia, Preci, Castelluccio di Norcia, Piano Grande, the Sibillini Mountains National Park.

Route no. 28 starts from Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, founded of the Benedictine Order, and enters into the heart of the Sibillini Mountains, with their peaceful ancient mountain settlements, wild landscapes and at times haunting atmosphere.

This is the perfect route for those seeking spiritual sanctuary, but given the difficult nature of the ride, is only really suited to the more experienced, fitter cyclists. Those who decide to brave the difficulties of such a ride will be amply rewarded by the sheer magnificence of the views it affords.

The route starts from the sports ground in Norcia, and you then ride off in the direction of the town centre, following the signs for Visso, and the first climb of the day awaits you no more than one kilometre from the start. This first climb is some 6 kilometres long, and takes you up to the Forca d’Ancarano pass, and as you climb you get a wonderful view of Norcia and the surrounding plateau. This is followed by a long descent down to Preci, where you should pay a visit to the Abbey of Sant’Eutizio, and where you bear right in the direction of Saccovescio before climbing once again for a further 2.5 km.

You now have a winding descent down to the SS209 Valnerina road: at the junction, turn right towards Visso, and for a few kilometres you will be riding over the border in the Marche region.

When you get to Visso, where you can stop for a rest and fill up your water bottles, continue in the direction of Castelsantangelo sul Nera (see ‘photo below), an ancient village that marks the beginning of the hardest climb of the day, the one that in just over 10 kilometres takes you up to the 1,450 metres of the Forca di Gualdo pass, and on to Castelluccio (the average gradient is around 7%).

When you get to Forca di Gualdo (km. 45.5), the village of Castelluccio suddenly comes into sight (see ‘photo above), as does the Pian Piccolo (Small Plateau) and the top of Monte Vettore: a truly breathtaking panorama indeed!

You now descend for a few kilometres, before climbing up to Castelluccio (situated at km. 50 of this route). Castelluccio, from its mountain-top position, affords an incredible view of the entire plateau stretching out below it. You should definitely stop a while here just to take in the fascinating, peaceful nature of this virtually uncontaminated wilderness, before setting off once again down towards the Piano Grande (Great Plateau – see ‘photo to the left on the opposite page).

This immense mountain plateau is famous for the stunning kaleidoscope of colours it offers those fortunate visitors from all over the world who come here specifically at the time of the fioritura, between May and June, that is, the flowering of millions of wildflowers covering the entire plateau. Km. 56 marks the start of the final three kilometres up to the pass leading to the extremely long descent, via the ski resort of Forche Canapine, back down to Norcia (see ‘photo above).




Things not to miss

The focal point of this route is the ancient town of Norcia, birthplace of St. Benedict, a perfect mix of medieval spirituality, art, stunning natural surrounds and gastronomic delights. As a result of its significant environmental, cultural and artistic worth, Norcia has been named as one of the "Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy".

The "Castellina", a monumental fortress built in 1554 and designed by the famous 16th century architect Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, faces the town’s main square, as do the Town Hall complete with double loggia, the Basilica of St. Benedict, and the Portico delle Misure. The Renaissance Cathedral of Santa Maria Argentea  (16th century), with altar by Duquesnoy (1640) stands just slightly away from the main square.

Other historically interesting things worth seeing are the Abbey of Sant’Eutizio at Preci, and the Basilica and Convent of Santa Rita at Cascia.

The scenery within the Sibillini Mountains National Park is nothing short of stunning, in particular the unique plateaus of Casteluccio di Norcia, a small mountain village situated at the foot of  Monte Vettore (2,476 m.), the highest mountain in the Park. 


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