The magic of MTB
MTB is a magical discipline because it allows you to explore areas that are hard to reach with other vehicles: too far on foot and impossible to tackle on a road bike, even less by car. A mountain bike can take you to singular places, completely immersed in nature, on top of the mountains, through marvellous forests and on mixed paths: asphalt, dirt, gravel, soil… in essence, you can go anywhere on a mountain bike.
Luckily, Italy offers a number of truly incredible opportunities for those who love mountain biking while exploring places of incomparable charm. Let’s discover a few of the most beautiful MTB itineraries in Italy.
Tour of Cà Venier Island
This is a great path in the Po Delta Park, in the Veneto region. A mountain bike itinerary that is easy to take on, great for anyone, 51 km long and with very little climb. There aren’t any particular technical difficulties to confront and the path is on both asphalt and dirt roads.
It’s a loop starting and finishing in Cà Venier, in the municipality of Porto Tolle, in the province of Rovigo. The itinerary begins southbound, on an asphalt road running along the main bank of the island, near the Venetian Po river. Here, the countryside you can admire is brightly hued, with the green of the corn crops and the yellow of the wheat blending into a beautiful and distinctive tonal mix. Pedal on this road until you reach Cà Zuliani, where you will head east, following the directions to Pila. The path continues along the main bank until it reaches the easternmost point, where the road becomes unpaved, leading to the small port of Pila.
Continue on the dirt road until you return to the same asphalt road towards Cà Zuliani. From here, head north to the town of Boccasette, then to Lido di Boccasette. Here you will find a public beach with a beautiful panorama. If you want to take a quick break, this is the ideal spot. Then, begin pedalling on grassy paths atop the main bank, with an incredible view of the marshlands. Return to Boccasette and get onto the dirt road, this time westbound, under the bank. From here return to Cà Venier, where the tour concludes.
This is an MTB itinerary perfect for bikers of any level. Easy, beautiful and fun… what more could you ask for?
Tour of Ballabio
We’re in the Lombardia region, on a medium difficulty itinerary. Only 28 km, but with a demanding 800 meters of altitude difference. A mixed track of both asphalt and dirt roads.
The path starts and ends in Ballabio, a municipality in the province of Lecco. Begin pedalling south along the Valsassina State Road, following the directions to Morterone. After crossing the village through a narrow road and then the centre of town, the path begins to have its first few climbs, with medium inclination and lots of hairpin turns.
During the climb, where the road goes into the valley, you can admire a breathtaking view of Lecco with Mount Barro in the background. Keep on climbing, turn after turn, with an inclination that becomes less steep and a few downhill segments. You will arrive at the Fork of Olino Pass and then continue until you reach the village of Calec. Here, get on the dirt road and follow the directions for Passo di Culmine di San Pietro. The track becomes more interesting, with long stretches of white dirt roads, with more challenging inclines and a tract with rather large rocks. Here, gather tour strength and pay attention. The climb is pleasant and, if you’re enjoying it in summer, you will almost always pedal in the shade of the woods, with a few spots where the view opens up to beautiful views of the mountains of Resegone and Zuccone Campelli. You will reach the town of Bocchetta di Ferrera, before completing the climb reaching Passo di Culmine di San Pietro, 1258 meters above sea level.
From here, begin your descent along a dirt road heading towards Maggio: for the first part you will retrace the previous road, turning right onto a grassy path, which then becomes a dirt road with rocks that force you to pay close attention. The path continues downhill until it reaches Ussola. A few more hairpin turns and you will be on a white dirt road, easier but with a few uphill segments. Here you will be in the village of Maggio, from which you will continue on the paved road until you reach the Valsassina State Road. From here, you will arrive at your starting point in Cà Venier.
A truly beautiful MTB track, just difficult enough but not impossible, ideal for those whose legs have had some training.
MTB in the park
47 km and 1400 meters of altitude difference: this path is quite taxing. We are in the Emilia-Romagna region, in the province of Forlì-Cesena, on a loop inside the Casentinesi Forests National Park: perhaps the most famous forest bike loop for the extraordinary beauty of its locations and for the pedalling terrain, always well-kept and fun almost year-round.
The path doesn’t display any particular technical difficulties but is certainly demanding because of its total climb. Begin your ride in Biserno, going up the road towards Poggio Lastra. You will be pedalling on asphalt first, then on a dirt road. Keep climbing and, once you have reached Passo del Vinco, turn right on the ridge, crossing Casanova dell’Alpe and reaching Paretaio. From here, descend towards the Lama Forest and from the village of Cancellino take the bike path, considered by many the most beautiful MTB path in Europe.
Cross the Lama Forest, a location of exceptional beauty, adjacent to the Sasso Fratino Integral Nature Reserve, the most ancient in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The climb becomes constant as you make your way to Poggio della Sella and then Montegrosso. From here, you will reach the lovely meadows of San Paolo in Alpe, a point from which you can choose two paths for your return to Ridracoli. The first is quicker and brings you to the Ridracoli lake, after which you travel along the Crinale della Vacca ridge and turn right. The second path is longer… Let’s choose this one! Descend towards Poggio Capannina on a long slope with gravel and a few holes that you should be careful about. The road takes you to Biserno, your starting point and the end of this journey.
A beautiful MTB itinerary with a considerable altitude difference while always bike- friendly. Of course, this path is ideal for well-trained bikers, but anyone can take on the challenge! Those who don’t have much biking experience will simply have to exert themselves a bit more.
The three itineraries described show three types and three different levels of MTB tracks. The distance travelled, the altitude difference and the road conditions are fundamental details. All bikers must be aware of their training level, in order to choose the most suitable biking tracks. We recommend that you don’t risk getting adventurous in locations you don’t know or would have a hard time tackling. In truth, the variety of bike paths in Italy is so rich and faceted that each and every cyclist is always spoiled for choice.