In Versilia: the bicycle between the Alps, the woods and the sea

In 2008 a special issue of the Meridiani monthly magazine dedicated to the Apuan Alps found that “in no other part of Italy there is such a concentration of cyclists as on the slopes of this massif”. Groups of professionals (including world champions) trained (and train) for these roads between the most total indifference, as if they were (and do) part of the landscape, a small concentration of what awaits them in the Giro d’Italia or at the Tour de France. Imitated by the rest of humanity on two wheels. An amateur cyclist can find with relative ease assistance and refreshment or a varied scenario to cross, as well as to watch.

The Meridians suggested routes: some in similiar Tourmalet or Cima Coppi: hard and long. And this was the box to get attention. Instead there is a circular route, round trip, on a human scale. It foresees, after Forte dei Marmi, a passage from Ruosina (100 meters above sea level), on the Vezza river where trout jump and the water is green. From there go up to Levigliani, 582 meters s.l.m. with a few hairpins bends legs: woods, archaeology and an excellent restaurant, the Raffaello.

The Cipollaio tunnel, a dark and narrow kilometer, leads to Ami, in Garfagnana: on the sides you can still see wild goats with a boiled look and bad horns. After the gallery “del Vestito” the return is a flight. Downhill for twenty kilometers, from a thousand meters you get to the sea. Few rides, but a botanical garden, a forest with a tall heath with a blueberry heath, and a shelter to enjoy the view of the quarries of Gioia, the most precious for the veined and cloudy marble.

Colonnata is beyond the valley. Altagnana is on a ridge: basins for lard (excellent) and legendary bread. Forte dei Marmi is flat, ten kilometers after Massa. You pedal again. Total ring: sixty kilometers. Time: no more than eight hours, stops with wonder screams included.

taken from: “111 Places of Versilia and surroundings that you must discover” by Dante Matelli Pages: 240 – Version photographs by Alberto Novelli – Publication 06 July 2017 – ISBN 9783740801458