Published on: 30 March 2018
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There are six international routes in Italy:
- the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7)
- the Ciclovia del Po e delle Lagune (eurovelo 8)
- the Via Francigena and eurovelo 5
- the Via Claudia Augusta
- the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg
- the Bicitalia Svizzera-Mare route
The Italian national cyclists organisation FIAB (Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta) is responsible for the eurovelo routes in Italy. Its website bicitalia.org is the most authoritative reference on the routes. However, there are gaps in the maps shown on the site. This doesn't necessarily mean that the route isn't viable. In these maps I have shown the official routes as they currently exist (early 2014) in the articles I make suggestions on filling in the gaps.
The Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7)
The Ciclopista del Sole is the Italian section of the Eurovelo 7. It crosses into Italy from Austria before heading south on traffic-free cycleways to Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento. It then heads for Mantova and then either Modena or Bologna before crossing the Apennines and going to Firenze. After Firenze it skirts the eastern side of Toscana and Lazio before arriving in Rome along the Tevere (Tiber). After Rome it heads south-west towards the Lazio coast.
The Ciclopista del Sole is planned to continues to Sicilia however, at the moment there is a gap in the mapped routed between Minturno on the Lazio coast, and Sicilia where parts of the coast have been mapped.
Read more: The Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7).
The Ciclovia del Po e delle Lagune (eurovelo 8)
The Po and Lagoons cycleway is planned to link Ventimiglia near the border with France, with Trieste on the border with Slovenia. It forms part of eurovelo 8. Most of it has been mapped, but there is a gap between Ventimiglia and the start of the mapped route in Piemonte.
The mapped route follows the course of the Po making extensive use of the embankments built on either side of the river as flood defences, with long stretches of high-quality traffic-free surfaced cycleways or very quiet roads. Starting in Piemonte, it heads for Torino and then via Pavia, Cremona, Piacenza and Ferrara before reaching the sea at the Po estuary. After reaching the sea it heads for Chioggia on the laguna di Venezia. From Venezia it island-hops along the eastern side of the lagoon and then continues, following the coast, to Trieste close to the border with Slovenia.
Read more: eurovelo 8 in Italy
The Via Francigena and eurovelo 5
The Via Francigena is the traditional pilgrimage route that runs from Canterbury in south-east England to Rome. Although eurovelo 5 is also called the Via Francigena Romea, for much of its way to Italy it’s a completely different route. In Italy, the two meet up at Pavia on the river Po.
There are three variants of the route:
- the viafrancigena.bike is the closest to the via Francigena hiking route, crossing into Italy at the Colle di Gran San Bernardo (Gran St Bernard Pass) (2469m) (famous for the dogs);
- the Ciclovia Francigena is the name for the Italian section of the eurovelo 5. The eurovelo 5 follows the Swiss national route 3 from Basel to Chiasso in Italy taking the Gotthard pass (2107m);
- there’s also the Moncenisio variant of the Ciclovia Francigena, which starts at the Col du Mont Cenis (2083m).
After Rome you can continue on the eurovelo5 south east towards Brindisi – the traditional point of departure for pilgrims heading for Jerusalem.
Read more: The Via Francigena and eurovelo 5 in Italy.
The Via Claudia Augusta
The Via Claudia starts in Augsburg in southern Germany with official variants going to Venezia, and Ostiglia on the Po via Verona, and an unofficial variant going to the Lago di Garda. It's a very popular route and of the routes listed here, it's probably the best signposted.
It comes into Italy via the Reschen pass north west of the city of Meran (Merano). At Bozen (Bolzano) it joins with the cycleway used by the ciclopista del Sole. At Trento the Venezia variant heads for Feltre and Treviso. The other variant continues on along cycleways to Verona. After Verona it takes quiet roads to Ostiglia on the Po. Many travellers on the route turn off the cycleway and pick up another cycleway going via Torbole to Riva del Garda.
Read more: The Via Claudia Augusta.
The Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg
The Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg starts in Salzburg and crosses the border with Italy at Villach. Traffic-free cycleways on an old railway line then take you to Pontebba and Tarvisio. From here it heads south on a mix of quiet roads and cycleways to Udine and then to Grado on the Adriatic coast via the World Heritage site at Aquileia.
Read more: The Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg.
The Bicitalia Svizzera-Mare route
This route comes into Italy from Switzerland near Domodossola and then heads south-west through Piemonte and Liguria before reaching the coast at Imperia, it then continues on, taking the Cycling Riviera, one of Italy's top cycleways to Ventimiglia near the border with France. As this connects with the Po cycleway, this offers an alternative to the missing link in the eurovelo 8 route.
Very few of the routes are signposted, and where they are signposted, it's with the local name for the section of the route. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a sign referring to eurovelo. Bicitalia have tried to persuade local authorities to adopt a national system of signposting but with very few exceptions they have preferred to go their own way. I've given the local names for routes where there is one (or where I know what it is).
Sources of information
The most authoritative source of information on the routes is bicitalia.org. Many of the routes are also included in the Open Street Map digital maps. In some cases the OSM maps have routes or sections of route that aren't yet shown on the bicitalia website. It's still nevertheless worth checking with bicitalia.org. The site also includes lots of detailed information about the types of road and road surfaces. It’s in Italian but I’ve written an article (reading a route description in Italian) that hopefully will give you all the words you need.
There are a lot of routes floating around on the internet which claim to be eurovelo in Italy and aren't. Which doesn't mean that they aren't perfectly valid routes, but I would always prefer to rely on routes put together by cyclists who know the area.
Please note that there are some technical issues which mean that the bicitalia site is extremely slow. You may find that using a different browser helps (Safari seems to have particular problems), but you may just need to be a little bit patient: open the page in a new window and let it load in the background. The FIAB are working on making things speedier so hopefully these problems will soon be in the past.