The Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7)

Published on:  | Last updated: 31 March 2017

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento part of the Ciclopista del Sole and Via Claudia Augusta

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento part of the Ciclopista del Sole and Via Claudia Augusta

New articles

I've just published guides to the sections of the route between Chiusi Scalo and the centre of Rome and between Rome and the sea:

Jump to the Overview map .

The Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) is planned to be a cycle route that runs from the border with Austria all the way to the cost of Sicilia. The route includes a signi­ficant amount of surfaced traffic-free cycleways. Between the border and Verona the route is almost entirely traffic-free and surfaced. Beyond that, while there are some traffic-free sections, it is mainly on quiet roads (and occasionally some that are not so quiet).

It's the longest-estab­lished of the national/​eurovelo routes in Italy - although even so there's a long section south of Minturno near Napoli that is still to be mapped.

There are two branches coming in from the north:

  • the first follows the Drauradweg (Ciclabile della Drava) as it crosses the border connecting Lienz with Toblach (Dobbiaco). At Toblach the route makes one of several name changes and becomes the PusterBike as it heads through the wide, green, PusterTal (Val Pusteria) and on towards Brixen (Bressanone);
  • the other branch comes in over the Brenner Pass. The traffic-free cycleway starts a short way after the border (the local name in German is the Brennerradroute Brenner-Bozen or Eisacktal Radweg, and Italian it is called the Ciclabile Brennero-Bolzano or ciclabile della valle Isarco). The two branches meet north of Brixen (Bressanone) at the Festung Franzensfeste, (Franzenfeste fortress) which once guarded the narrow point of the valley.

The two branches follow the river on what was once the old road to the Brenner Pass. There's a motorway, a major road, and a rail line running through this valley, but it's a testament to the skill of the landscape designers that you are rarely aware that you are passing through a major transport corridor.

Cycleway in the Südtirol near Brixen (Bressanone)

Cycleway in the Südtirol near Brixen (Bressanone) - you can see the motorway but riding the cycleway you aren't aware of it

Along the River Adige (Etsch)

The route passes through a series of attractive Sud-Tyrolean towns and villages before it reaches the area capital of Bozen (Bolzano) and from here it joins with the Via Claudia Augusta/​EtschRadweg (Ciclabile dell'Adige) follows the Adige (Etsch) river south­wards through vineyards and mile after mile of apple trees (this is Italy's largest apple-growing area). From the largely German-speaking Sud Tyrol (or Alto Adige to give it its official Italian name) it crosses into the mainly Italian speaking provincia di Trento (Trentino) and the route's name changes to the Ciclabile della Valle dell'Adige Sud. It runs for a little over 80 kms through the provincia passing through the heart of the city of Trento and skirting around the town of Rovereto.

The cycleway takes advantage of the embank­ments (levees) that were built to contain the Adige and prevent it from flooding the valley during the winter months. The threat of flooding meant that most of the settle­ments in the area were built well away from the river - this means that bars, restaurants and other services were built well away from the river. There is a BiciGrill (an ironic take on the AutoGrill - the name used for motorway services) near Nomi.

The route along the Adige is pretty flat, with well-maintained surfaced cycleways and you can cruise for mile after mile. It is deservedly very popular as a route for cyclists heading for the Lago di Garda. Unfortunately this means that on summer weekends it gets quite busy. Personally I would avoid this stretch on summer weekends if you can: not so much because of the numbers of people but because no one seemed very friendly, (especially the large tour group I encountered riding in convoy). Weekdays are a much more pleasant time to do it.

In any case most people turn off at Mori and take the cycleway to Torbole and Riva del Garda on the Lago di Garda.

At the border between the Trentino and the Veneto region, the signs and road-markings that have accom­panied you through the provincia (equivalent to a county) come to an abrupt end with no indic­ation of where to go next (in fact there is a sign for the Via Claudia Augusta if you know what to look for). Turn right and head for the road, and after a kilometre or so you'll come to the Veneto section of the cycleway: now called the Ciclabile della Valle d'Adige Sole. This will takes you almost all of the way into Verona although the Ciclopista del Sole heads from the village of Rivoli Veronese towards Peschiera-del-Garda on the Lago di Garda.

Signs on the Valle dell Adige Sole cycleway

The parting of the ways: signs on the Valle dell Adige Sole cycleway

At Peschiera you head south following the river Mincio on the border between the Veneto and Lombardia. And yes, you guessed it, it changes its name again and becomes the Ciclabile del Mincio. The cycleway along the river is gorgeous, although as you get closer to Mantova the route follows a rather less scenic irrig­ation canal. The Provincia di Mantova have produced a leaflet/​map: Ciclabile del Mincio leaflet-map  (turismo.mantova.it).

There's also a video on youtube (courtesy VeronaReport). It's worth a look even if you don't speak Italian:

show larger in overlay

I must admit that after watching this video I was kicking myself for not having made a stop at Borghetto - although I have stopped at its close neighbour, Valeggio sul Mincio which I'd also defin­itely recommend

You've now well and truly left the mountains behind and are now crossing the pianura padana, the great plain formed by the mighty river Po. Given that most of Italy is either mountainous or at least very hilly it seems a little ungrateful to complain, but the scenery here is pretty dull (although the river is magni­ficent). While this stretch may be lacking in inter­esting scenery it certainly isn't lacking in cultural interest. If anything there's too much choice, with the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cities on Mantova, Ferrara and Modena, not to mention Bologna - perhaps the nicest of Italy's big cities.

Some people are so intent on getting to Rome that they ignore the treasures along the way. Mantova is one of those places that is easy to bypass, but it would be a shame to do so. In particular there's Andrea Mantegna's Camera degli Sposi - which, because it was a fresco is one of the few gems that wasn't brought by the agent of the British king Charles II when Mantova's ruling family fell on hard times.

Part of the ceiling of the Camera Picta (Camera degli Sposi) by Andrea Mantegna. Palazzo Ducale, Mantova. Picture from the Web Gallery of Art via Wikimedia Commons

After Bologna the route leaves the pianura padana behind and heads for the foothills of the Apennines. Until Bologna the route has been mainly either downhill or on the flat, but now come the Apennines and the most signi­ficant climb between here and Rome - although the maximum altitude is less than 1000 and the climb fairly gentle (there are steeper options!). The section around the Lago di Suviana follows a very quiet, wild, road through ancient beech woods.

Once you're over the top there's a cruise down into Prato and then along the river Arno to Firenze.

Firenze - the Ponte Vecchio at dusk.

Firenze - the Ponte Vecchio at dusk. Picture by Martin Falbisoner Wikimedia Commons

From Firenze onwards

From Firenze the Ciclopista del Sole/​eurovelo 7 follows the Arno valley towards Arezzo. Near Arezzo it picks up the Sentiero della Bonifica, a 62-kilometre traffic-free cycleway through the Val di Chiana which takes you to the Chiusi (or at least to Chiusi station which is at the bottom of a big hill with Chiusi itself at the top). (See also the article on this site about the Sentiero della Bonifica).

While the Sentiero della Bonifica has the undoubted advantages of being traffic-free and flat, it's not the most inter­esting route. Many people opt to head through the Chianti to Siena, and then through the crete towards Montepulciano rejoining the main route at the Lago di Chiusi. This is a much more scenic option but also involves a lot more climbing as well as some busier roads.

The Lago di Chiusi

The Lago di Chiusi on the Sentiero della Bonifica cycleway

Umbria and Lazio

From Chiusi the route continues, following a relat­ively flat route, towards Orvieto and from there it follows the course of the Tevere (Tiber) as far as Orte. At Orte it heads away from the Tevere and on towards Rome Via Civita Castellana in Lazio. Again, there are more scenic options (via the Lago di Bolsena and the Lago di Bracciano) but these involve signi­fic­antly more climbing (the lakes are in the craters of extinct volcanoes).

Onwards from Rome through southern Lazio

The route comes out of Rome along the old Via Appia Antica heading for the Lazio coast. Once again those who are not keen on hills will be pleased to hear that the route swerves to the south side of the Colli Albani - another group of hills and lakes formed by extinct volcanoes. It crosses the flatlands of what until the 1930s was a huge area of marsh­lands, coming out onto the coast east of Anzio and Nettuno.

From here there's a stretch of glorious coastline. It's not partic­u­larly dramatic, but largely unspoilt with the coastal dunes and macchia are protected.

As well as some attractive seaside resorts you can also visit the the emperor Tiberius' villa on the coast and the ninfea (a pool complex he had built partially in a cave overlooking the sea. . You can also see the castle at Gaeta that was the scene of the last days of the Kingdom of Napoli.

Note: as you get closer to Napoli there is a stretch where the coast road becomes busier and there are notably more lorries around. Thankfully things get a little quieter at Scauri when the main road heads inland - taking the heavy vehicles with it. While there is a reasonable shoulder and the traffic isn't partic­u­larly intense it is moving relat­ively fast (or it felt like it), marring what would otherwise be a very enjoyable and scenic stretch of coastline.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

On this part of the route you will encounter a couple of tunnels. Legally you are required to wear high-viz clothing and I would defin­itely advise putting on a bright rear blinking light. It's tempting to think "oh it's only a short one", but when you hear the roar of a lorry roaring behind you (and in a tunnel even a fairly small one makes a hell of a noise) you'll be glad you did.

The mapped route on the mainland finishes here. The bicitalia.org website gives an indic­ation of the intended route. This follows the coast via Napoli, Pompei, Sorrento, Amalfi, Salerno, Agropoli and Sapri where it heads inland via the Parco Nazionale del Pollino reaching the coast north of Corigliano Calabro. From Corigliano Calabro it follows the coast of Calabria along, I assume, the SS106. Further south, there are two branches: one heads via Catanzaro to Lamezia Terme on the Tyrrhenian coast and from there on towards Sicilia via Reggio Calabria; while the other continues along the coast and around the toe of the stivale (boot).

Overview map

Click on the route for further inform­ation. Links open in a new window. To switch between map and terrain view click 'Map' in the top right-hand corner, and then check/​uncheck the 'Terrain' checkbox. Please get in touch if you find any errors in the inform­ation, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.

FT-maps-CPDS   show map in overlay    FT-maps-CPDS   show map in new window

Show distances table
Distances
Brennerpass-Brixen 55kms
Border-Brixen (PusterTal) 85kms
Brixen-Bozen 42kms
Bozen-Trento 60kms
Trento-Rovereto 25kms
Rovereto-Peschiera del Garda 25kms
Peschiera del Garda-Mantova 46kms
Mantova-Bologna 136kms
Bologna-Lago di Suviana 65kms
Lago di Suviana-Firenze 73kms
Firenze-Arezzo 75kms
Arezzo-Chiusi 63kms
Chiusi-Orvieto 47kms
Orvieto-Rome 151kms
Rome-Sabaudia 106kms
Sabaudia-Minturno 84kms

Options and connections

The Ciclopista del Sole connects with other national and inter­na­tional routes:

  • you could come into Italy on the Via Claudia Augusta and connect with the Ciclopista del Sole at Bozen and continue south towards Rome (the two routes diverge at Trento where the Via Claudia Augusta heads towards Venezia;
  • near Mantova it connects with the Ciclovia del Po e delle Lagune (EV8). You could follow the latter towards the Adriatic coast (and Venezia - see article here ) or west towards Torino and the border with France;
  • at Verona it connects with the Bicitalia 16 ciclovia Tirrenica (see article here). You could follow the Tirrenica via Parma and then along the coast of Toscana and on towards Rome (although the last section of the route hasn't been mapped).

Downloads

Maps to print out or view offline

The zip files contain pdf files packaged together for convenience. If you are using a tablet you may find it easier to download the individual sections.

Show map download links for individual sections

 About the maps

sample map page.

Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.

The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smart­phones. As far as eReaders are concerned so far I’ve not managed to get them to work on a Nook - but you may have more success with other devices.

GPS files

GPS files

  •  Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) gps files
    (.zip file containing 12 gpx track files)
  •  Italy Points of Interest

     About POIs

    POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include inform­ation about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instruc­tions. Updated March 2017.

More information

Places to stay

Campsites

In the northern section of the route there are plenty of campsites along the route. South of Bozen (Bolzano) finding campsites gets more tricky. Here's a list of the campsites I know of on or near the route south of Bozen:

  Map of campsites along the route:  EV7-campsites-map-show map in overlay    |    EV7-campsites-map-show map in new window   

Hostels

A list of hostels along, or near, the route:

  Map of hostels along the route:  show map in overlay    |    show map in new window   

Resources

The Ciclopista del Sole on bicitalia.org.

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.


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