Piceno to Sarnano
||Ascoli Piceno -
Venarotta - Force - Comunanza -
Colle (S78) - Amandola - Sarnano
Had a great breakfast in a lovely cafe off Piazza del Popolo. A sort of toasted prosciutto crudo
and cheese sandwich, washed down with a few coffees. After a few more photographs,
we found (quite by chance) the main post office, and hopefully put our postcards into the
right box. (Postcript: One of the
postcards was for a friend in America. It arrived in February 2001 -
postman must have gone by bike!).
We left Ascoli Piceno at around
10:30am, out over the magnificent bridge we came in on, and on to the main Roma
road. However, this was not as bad as it sounds because after about 500 metres we
turned off onto the quieter (and steeper) road to Venarotta. Basically we were
re-tracing our steps from yesterday for the first 9 kilometres, and we knew they were all
uphill. This really is a lovely road. The sun was out in force, and it was
getting very warm again, but at least on this stretch we did have some shelter from the
trees lining the road. We passed through Venarotta, and carried on for Force
(shown on the map above as Forca, which is wrong).
Force is a lovely looking town. We went up into the old
part, up some extremely steep streets and were rewarded with some fantastic views from the
top. We had our pannini's up there, then rode back down to a cafe at the entrance to
the town for a couple of litres of water and a couple of iced lollies.
From Force, we headed out to Comunanza, where we joined the 433
(or is it the 78 - not sure where it changes names) for Amandola. We climbed out of
Comunanza for a few kilometres, and then it was up and down on rolling roads to Amandola.
As we reached Amandola, one of those signs that tells the time, temperature and
various other bits of information showed the temperature to be 32c.
We stopped at a cafe (on the left just as you leave the town, next
to the gate) where we met up with 3 Italian cycle tourists. They too had been riding
for a few days, and were also heading for Sarnano. We left before them, and after
more ups and downs we found ourselves in Sarnano.
Sarnano is a beautiful town, a lovely honey colour. We rode
around for a while looking for a hotel, and eventually decided on the central Hotel
It looked as though it would be rather pricey, but no, L90.000 for a double room,
with breakfast. After a shower and change, we went and had a walk around the old
part of the town. It certainly looks quite an opulent place. We walked up to a
piazza at the highpoint of the town, which contains a church dating back to the 1200's.
Unfortunately it was being locked up as we arrived.
After another short walk, we ended up at a restaurant whose name
unfortunately escapes me, but it's easy to find in the old town. The food here was
marvellous. We started with Bruschetta al pomodoro, carried on with delicious
Prosciutto crudo and Ricotta cheese with honey, moved on to Pasta with meat (when we asked
what the meat was, the waiters translation was - animal with horns which runs fast in the
mountains!) - err goat?, followed by Cinghiale with mushrooms, finishing with panna cotta
(frutta di bosco) and a very powerful local Aniseed drink. Absolutely bloody
brilliant! It was more expensive than we normally pay, but as you can see, we did
have a few courses. It cost us L80.000 (including wine).
Now you may think - pigs!, but we were absolutely ravenous, and
the food was definitely the best we had had all trip. Also, we were building up our
strength for what was probably going to be the hardest day of the trip - the ride over the
Meta Pass. Incidentally, it was in this restaurant
that it dawned on us that in all the restaurants we'd frequented so far, there had been a
TV on. We hadn't noticed that on previous tours of Tuscany and Umbria. Perhaps
it's a Marche thing?
All in all it was another great days cycling. Very quiet
roads, lots of climbing, big blue sky and hot sun. All
finished off with a fantastic feed!