fb track

Discover the Upper Mugello by bike

A challenging route leaving from Firenzuola

It is not easy to travel through the Upper Mugello region by bike, and this route definitely requires some preparation and training.

Point of departure/arrival: Firenzuola
Distance: 139,3 km
Duration: around 9 hours
Total climb: 2,537 metres
Difficulty: challenging
Road surface: asphalt, at times uneven

It is not easy to travel through the Upper Mugello region by bike, and this route definitely requires some preparation and training. If you want to do this itinerary in one day, you will need, as Enrico Brizzi writes in his novel, ‘thighs of steel and Nietzschean will’.

Leaving from Firenzuola, head along the valley of the river Santerno towards Imola, which forms a type of canyon in which you can see distinct layers of rock.

At San Pellegrino (5.2km), cross the rail tracks. After this there is little traffic and the road overlooks sunbathers by the river. At 11 kilometres, after the church of Cà Maggiore in Coniale, turn right towards Tirli. It is here that the first challenging climb begins, known as the Paretaio Pass.

At 11.7 kilometres there is a fresh water fountain on the right. The climb lasts for 10.2 km. At 21.2 km you will reach the Paretaio Pass and the road winds downhill. This stretch is challenging even when the asphalt is in good condition. After about 8 km (29.1km) through the forests you will get to Palazzuolo sul Senio.

At the junction with the road through the town there is a fountain, and this may also be an opportunity to get a bite to eat. Here you can also take a shortcut, shortening the route by around 44 km, by heading towards Borgo San Lorenzo, but you will still have to tackle the Passo della Sambuca (1,061 metres above sea level, 10.7 km long).

If you choose to continue, cross the river Senio and head back uphill once more for around 6 km (max. 6-7%) towards Marradi. You will get to the Passo Carnevale (700 metres above sea level).

At 35.5 km the descent down to Marradi begins, where there are some more water fountains. After a few hundred metres, the road to San Benedetto in Alpe leads to the third big climb, and the longest of the day, the Eremo Pass (921 metres above sea level, 10.7km).

After signs for the Hermitage, head downhill for around 2 km, followed by a short climb (80 metres) to the Peschiena Pass. After the pass (55.2 km), at 900 metres above sea level, there is a steep, bumpy downhill stretch with no parapets. Here, we are in the National Park of the Casentinesi Forest.

After a ride through the woods with a water spring (58.1 km), the road heads into a valley with steep hills. At 63.5 km you will reach the valley floor at San Benedetto in Alpe, and from here head back uphill to the Muraglione pass, the fifth and penultimate climb of the day.

Back in the park, the slopes are no more than 6-7%. Along a welcome flat stretch of 500 metres you will find the Osteria Nuova (66.3 km). After the 70th kilometre there are a series of bends in the road which last around 2 kilometres, and at 72.2 km the road is smooth for around 800 metres until the Muraglione Pass at 907 metres above sea level. There are beautiful views, which you can admire from the rest point at the top of the hill. Following this there is a nice downhill stretch, which takes you to San Godenzo (81.1 km).

After another 10 km slightly downhill you will arrive in Dicomano(91.6 km) where you will enter the Sieve Valley, which will take you uphill to Borgo San Lorenzo.

If you started from Marradi rather than Firenzuola you can get back to your starting point from here in around 36 kilometres, making a total distance of around 100 km, by heading uphill to the Colla di Casaglia Pass.

Those on the main route should continue from Borgo San Lorenzo until San Piero a Sieve (113 km) and afterwards head towards Scarperia (117.4 km), watching out for the heavy traffic. From here is the final climb of the day, the Giogo di Scarperia Pass, which lasts 10.2 km and has an average gradient of 5.8%. At 127.6 km you will find a beautiful spot with views over the Upper Mugello. From here, head downhill for 12 km until back in Firenzuola.