Mediaeval Umbrian Cycling

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Headwater

This 10-night holiday combines gentle pedalling through olive groves, sunflower fields and vineyards with time in gorgeous historic towns and sun-drenched villages with 4 nights spent in Spoleto with its fantastic architecture and opportunities to visit Rome and Norcia, famed for its cured meats.

Single Supplement
Add 17 per person per night for sole occupancy of a double room.
Accommodation
Albergo La Bastiglia Hotel (4 star)
The La Bastiglia Hotel boasts a beautiful setting at the foot of Mount Subasio, the enchanted mountain of Saint Francis. Originally an ancient mill the hotel has been lovingly restored and transformed into an unforgettable place to stay. There are 33 rooms divided into three categories, many overlooking the typical Umbrian landscape of cypress trees and olive groves. The restaurant serves a mix of ancient recipes and modern creations using the freshest ingredients. On display inside the hotel there is a collection of ceramics, antique furniture and important paintings from the private collection of Schifano and Norberto.

Hotel Charleston (3 star)
Completely renovated in 2011, Hotel Charleston is set in a 17th-century building in Spoleto's historical centre, next to the Modern and Contemporary Arts Museum. Its elegant, individually-decorated rooms feature a modern design. Wi-Fi is free in all public areas. Rooms are individually decorated, and come with exposed wooden beams on the ceilings. Each is equipped with a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A buffet breakfast is available each morning, and is served out on the terrace in warm weather.

Grand Relais Laurenti (4 star)
Just outside the walls of the pretty hilltop village of Marcellano lies the supremely welcoming Grand Relais Laurenti, where nothing seems to be too much trouble. A recently restored former convent (formerly known as the Palazzo Gradoli), parts of the hotel date to as far back as 1516. Opened in 2006, the owner Laurenti Torrello spent thirteen years restoring the premises in order to ensure that all work was done to a suitably high standard. The well put together rooms have a distinctly cosy feel to them and retain original features such as the wooden beams on the ceilings. In addition to the hotel, the Grand Relais Laurenti owns 90 hectares of the surrounding land which is used by their own farm to raise livestock such as cattle and lamb to supply the restaurant with meat. They also produce their own olive oil from their own olive groves and pride themselves on their ability to source only the finest ingredients (such as truffles and porcini mushrooms) from the surrounding area. The restaurant itself has two chefs who provide a mixture of traditional regional food and more elaborate international fare.

Hotel Al Grappolo d'Oro (3 star)
Situated in the centre of the mediaeval town of Torgiano is Al Grappolo d'Oro (The Golden Bunch of grapes), a recently restored 19C residence. The hotel has 15 rooms, each individually decorated in a modern style with warm colours and furnished to a high standard, offering a cosy, welcoming stay. The art filled reception/lounge area gives the hotel character from the start but features such as the pool in the garden to the rear and the downstairs bar (along with the well-stocked breakfast buffet) mean that despite the B+B nature of the hotel, there is still the possibility to spend time relaxing here during the day. The owner Antonello Rossi also owns the wonderfully traditional Italian restaurant 'Siro', which lies around 300 metres away from the hotel and where evening meals will be taken.

Travel
British Airways Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino 08:30/12:00 then rail Rome Termini to Foligno 15:35/17:15 and transfer to hotel 15 minutes. Return: Transfer to Foligno station 15 minutes then rail Foligno to Rome Termini 10:41/12:35 then British Airways Rome Fiumicino to Heathrow 17:30/19:10.
Meals
Continental breakfast and 6 evening meals
Destinations
  • Assisi
  • Rome
  • Perugia
  • Europe
  • Italy
  • Umbria
Tour Types
  • Cycling
  • Self Guided
Departure Points
  • London Airport
Day 1 Arrive at Spello
We meet you at Foligno station and take you (15 mins) to picturesque Spello in time for dinner in your hotel's atmospheric restaurant. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

Day 2 Spello to Spoleto 50km/31.5mi
Today is level cycling most of the way along the Teverone Valley with some of the best views of the week. We strongly recommend the short uphill detour to Trevi, a beautiful hilltop village dating back to Roman times and capital of the Umbrian olive oil industry. Finally your hotel is situated in the centre of Spoleto near to all the museums and restaurants. (Staying at Hotel Charleston, Breakfast only)

Day 3-5 At Spoleto
Pretty hilltop Spoleto and the surrounding area offer a wealth of things for you to do on your 4 night stay here. The city of Spoleto has a wonderful history reflected in its Architecture dating back to the Etruscans, and including a Roman Amphitheatre, C10 Church, C12 Duomo and a 80m high C14 aqueduct. The castle here was a former prison and now houses an impressive art museum. Lots of lovely cobbled squares crammed with traditional trattorie for lunch. You can also take the train to the Emerald City of Rome. For those wanting to be more active why not walk the well signed trail up Spoleto's Monteluco. As you climb the views of the Vale of Spoleto are certainly impressive. Or walk along the famous Spoleto - Norcia railway now a peaceful Via Verde taking you on a journey through the magical Valnerina. For cyclists take a ride passing pretty villages, olive groves and flowering meadows. In July you can also attend the Two Worlds Festival - a celebration of Classic and Opera music. (Staying at Hotel Charleston, Breakfast only)

Day 6 Spoleto to Marcellano 44km/27.mi
The wines of Montefalco are known throughout the world, in particular the fine red Sagrantino. There is a climb up to the old village itself, 'the Balcony of Umbria', but you are well rewarded with wine-tasting, magnificent views and beautiful mediaeval streets. Continue from here past lush green fields, poppies and buttercups before your last climb up to the mediaeval village of Marcellano. Your 4-star hotel is set within its own lovely gardens - fabulous panoramic views across the entire valley. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

Day 7 At Marcellano
It's tempting to spend the day relaxing by the pool in the hotel's tranquil grounds, but it would be a shame to miss the Roman walled town of Bevagna (10 mins by taxi; or you can cycle) - Umbria's hidden gem. Visit the C13 Gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, the golden mediaeval theatre, or the C2 Roman temple and baths that include a spectacular lobster mosaic. Alternatively, you can opt for a circular cycle to Ceralto Castle. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

Day 8 Marcellano to Torgiano 42km/26.5mi
It's picture perfect views all the way this morning as you arrive at the impossibly photogenic mediaeval village of Gualdo Cattaneo with its imposing C15 castle and C13 crypt. There's a downhill whizz before gentle, flat cycling across the plain and a final short ascent into the old wine town of Torgiano, famous for its Lungarotti cellars. (Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d'Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Day 9 At Torgiano
There is a dedicated wine and olive oil museum - with tastings - in Torgiano's pretty centro storico. Alternatively it's a short bus or taxi ride (approx 15 mins) to the university town of Perugia, famous for one of Italy's finest art collections and home to the renowned Baci chocolates. For the more energetic we provide route notes for optional cycle rides to the panoramic town of Bettona, which dates back to Etruscan times, or the capital of painted ceramics, Deruta.(Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d'Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Day 10 Torgiano to Spello 43km/27mi
Your last day's cycling takes you along the 'Wine and Art Road' to Brufa - lovely views of Perugia and Assisi - and on through the Chiascio Valley, on country lanes passing sunflower fields, ochre coloured farmhouses and meadows redolent with wild apricots and figs. There's time to visit spectacular Assisi - the beautiful Piazza del Comune, the C13 Giotto frescoes and of course, the UNESCO recognised Saint Francis' Basilica - before cycling on along the lovely traffic free Via degli Ulivi and through olive groves back to Spello. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

Day 11 Leave Spello
Leave Spello after breakfast for your flight home. Alternatively, perhaps spend extra nights in Rome - we can easily arrange these for you.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

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Touring with Headwater

In 1985, Richard and Christine Bass made the life-changing decision to turn a passion into a business and thus Headwater was born at their kitchen table.

The first Headwater tours were launched in summer 1986 and modestly comprised three holidays in the Upper Loire Valley in France: a canoeing holiday and two self-guided walking holidays.

Their vision for Headwater was clear, right from the start. Richard and Christine wanted to offer their customers exactly what they loved in a holiday – family-run, friendly hotels, an authentic experience of a region, including culture, cuisine and fine wines, and above all a fantastic level of personal service, with staff on hand in resort to help and guide as required.

After a successful 10 years specialising in France, Headwater launched a new Great Walks in Europe brochure in 1995, offering a selection of hand-picked guided walking holidays in eight countries. As a result of the phenomenal success of this, a year later the first self-guided walking and cycling holidays in Italy were launched.

In 1999, Richard and Christine decided to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and sold Headwater – but not before ensuring it was in the safest of hands to continue their legacy.

Today, they enjoy taking customers (new and loyal) on journeys on foot or by bike throughout 18 countries worldwide. Whilst they have embraced modern technology and changing times since 1985, Richard and Christine’s ethos remains key to all of their holidays and they consider it their mission to ensure that the same detail, knowledge and passion goes into delivering each and every trip.

With more than 32 years’ experience, their collection now includes 59 self-guided and 12 guided walking holidays and 62 cycling holidays. Their canoeing holiday in the Dordogne remains as popular as ever, as well as their choice of winter snow holidays (cross-country skiing and winter walking) that run between December and April in Austria and Norway.

They are particularly proud of their Headwater-employed representatives (reps) who are on-hand in 15 regions in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Bavaria. Burgundy is their longest-standing “repped region” – Richard and Christine researched the holidays and they have been running them since 1992. Their reps provide 24-hour support in resort including: briefing you on arrival, transporting your luggage from hotel to hotel, offering a ‘Wine Service’ where they collect any bottles you’ve purchased en route and transport them to your final hotel for you, and giving you tips and advice and sharing their knowledge of the local area, the routes, the best views and generally helping you to make the most of your trip. Each year, before the season starts, the reps have an in-depth training session at Headwater HQ to make sure they’re ready for the summer ahead.

Their newest addition to the Headwater portfolio is a selection of single-centre activity holidays in Brittany and the Dordogne, France and Catalunya, Spain. These are ideal for multi-generational families and groups – take a look below for some Headwater inspiration.

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