Motorcycle Tour of Abruzzi and Central Highlands
Day 1: we exit Rome on A24 and then take the Via Tiburtina (SS5). After Arsoli, we veer north along the shores of Lake Turano, reaching Mount Terminillo. Mount Terminillo is also known as the mountain of Rome, It’s the closest ski resort to the Capital. The views from the top are amazing. Riding down on the other side of this mountain takes us to Leonessa, worth a relaxing coffee stop. Then it’s into Umbria and on to Norcia and the Sibillini mountains.
Castelluccio di Norcia, our final destination for the day, is famous for the flowering which happens exactly when we ride this guided tour. People from all over come to see this. We’ll have the privilege to stay here overnight, sample the local produce and soak up the atmosphere for two nights.
Day 2: We ride a loop around the back of the Monti Sibillini, visit Camerino, ride along the shores of Lake Fiastra, visit the small town of Ascoli Piceno, and return to Castelluccio from the eastern approach. We spend a second night in Castelluccio which gives you another opportunity to enjoy the flowering of this amazing place and enjoy its hospitality.
Day 3: We leave Castellucio and head towards the Gran Sasso mountain which is the highest peak in Central Italy. The setting is amazing and the riding superb. This plateau is known as Campo Imperatore. Before we reach Campo Imperatore we ride through the ruins of Amatrice (destroyed in the 2016 earthquake), along the shores of lake Campotosto and also take a quick visit the archaeological site of Amiternum, near l’Aquila.
We ride the SS80 (Passo Capannelle) which is one of the best roads in Central Italy and reach Campo Imperatore, where, in the hotel under restoration, Mussolini was briefly held captive at the end of WW2. We end our day in l’Aquila. The city was badly hit by an earthquake in 2008 and has now come back to life and offers a beautifully restored historical centre. We’ll take base here for two nights.
Day 4: We take another loop ride and this time head across the valley to the Plateau of the Rocche (fortresses). We reach Albe Fucens and visit an ancient Roman site with a magnificent amphitheater. We then ride the amazing Forca Caruso SS5 (Via Tiburtina) before returning back to l’Aquila via the Sirente mountain range for our second night.
Day 5: We set out back north to Campo Imperatore and complete our ride towards Castel del Monte and Rocca Calascio, Ladyhawk’s castle (movie 1985). From here we ride through the small village of Navelli, famous for its high quality saffron, and reach the massif of the Majella. Our destination is the dead end at the top of Blockhaus at 2100m, where on a clear day you can view the islands of Croatia all the way across the Adriatic sea. We finish our day over the San Leonardo pass into Sulmona for another two night stop
Day 6: You can take the day off in Sulmona, which is an interesting place to explore. Home town of the ancient poet Ovid. We take a ride in the National Park of Abruzzi, Molise and Lazio as far as Isernia on the SS17. A truly fun ride!! We then reach the emerald green lakes by Castel San Vincenzo and return to Sulmona along the ad Devil’s pass. A truly twisty day with fantastic riding.
Day 7: It’s the last day of the motorcycle tour of Abruzzi and the Central Highlands. Time to head back to Rome. Our ride however still has some surprises. We ride the Sagittario gorges and then reach Lazio over the Forca d’Acero pass. This pass is especially beautiful in fall with the incredible foliage colors of the Beech and Maple trees. But it also offers refreshing shade in summer and a very nice ride out of Abruzzi.
Before we reach Rome we shall also be enjoying the rolling hills of Ciociaria. Ciociaria was a region in the past known for its intense herding of sheep. A short blast on the autostrada will see us at our hotel in no time at all. We hand back the bikes and get ready to enjoy our farewell dinner.