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by Allan Nelson & Konrad Orlowski  

Day 8 - Thursday 21st May 1998

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Spoleto to Orvieto

Day 8 - Spoleto to Orvieto

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Spoleto – Aquasparta (No 418)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Aquasparta – Todi (local roads)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Todi – Prodo – Prato - Orvieto (No 79bis)

Kilometres: 93

Woke around 8:00am after a good nights sleep. Judging by the car horns at around 10:30pm last night, some Italian football club won something! Never did find out who.

Again, a lovely sunny morning. Had breakfast at the hotel, and after the owner took a couple of photos for us, we were on our way by 10am.

A bit of a false start led us into a trading estate, but we eventually found our way out and made for Aquasparta. Once we got out of Spoleto (on the No 418), the roads were very quiet. After about 6kms, the road started climbing, and carried on climbing for something like 12 kms. Quite steep in places, but a glorious road. We stopped at the summit (651m), had a good drink, an energy bar (why did I bring all the same flavour!), then off down the other side for a long descent down into Aquasparta. We took a detour into the town looking for a café but couldn’t find one. There was an outdoor market in full swing though where we bought oranges, peaches and 2 huge slices of melon. We sat and ate the melon, then feeling refreshed headed off back down to the main road in the direction of Todi.

The road we took ran alongside the busier No 3 road, and was a joy to ride on. The day was really heating up again, and we stopped at a bar on the approach to Todi for food, a drink and to top up the suntan lotion.

We climbed up to Todi, then off down a very steep descent onto the No 448 road for around ˝ km, where we turned off onto the No 79bis signposted Prodo. The road started climbing immediately and continued to climb for at least 12 kms. It was gloriously quiet. For several kilometres we never saw a soul. There were many ‘false summits’ on this road, and it was very hot by this time (3pm). Any shade we could find was welcome; we even saw a snake sheltering in the shadow a tree cast onto the road. We turned back to get a closer look, but as we approached again it slithered off back into the undergrowth (remarkably quickly for it’s size – >1 metre). It looked like one of our British Adders, but I’m not sure what it actually was. We dropped down to Prodo (a pretty looking place), where the road climbed again.

Eventually we started the long descent down to Orvieto (approx. 14kms). Judging by the numbering of the hairpins, and the encouraging words on parts of the road, it’s obvious that this route is on the road race calendar, though from the opposite direction in which we were travelling. It certainly was a brilliant descent, which drops you right in to Orvieto.

We were feeling pretty hot and sweaty by the time we arrived, so we booked into the first hotel we came across, the 3 star Hotel Europa (just across from the railway station). Bikes were locked up in the hotel garage.

After a shower, we went up to the old town on the funicular railway. Well worth the trip, there are stupendous views from the top. Had dinner at a local Pizzeria before turning in.

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) One of the best days cycling I’ve ever had. Really enjoyable. Good climbs, good descents, great views, great weather.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) The roads were so quiet it was unbelievable.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Our wildlife spotting was rising – today we saw squirrels, snakes, lizards and heard numerous cuckoos.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) The smells – so sweet.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) How can I do this for a living?

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