Montetiffi - Perticara - San Leo - Pugliano | Difficulty: Difficult, Distance: 79 Km, Altitude: 2081m
This course winds for about 80 km, covering stretches of the famous Gran Fondo Nove Colli course, which for nearly 50 editions has attracted cycling enthusiasts from all over Europe.
The circular tour starts with the descent down Monte Titano on the Acquaviva face and, having passed the state border in the village of Gualdicciolo, follows the course of the river upstream along Via Marecchiese, which, since the Roman era – under the name of Ariminensis – has connected Rimini with Arezzo, and is still a vital arterial road, used by cyclists from the coast tackling the climbs of the Valmarecchia.
From the village of Secchiano you access the Passo delle Siepi, the first climb of the day, better known to enthusiasts as Passo del Grillo, part of the Nove Colli course.
The climb is not particularly difficult, being quite regular with a mild to average gradient, but it is captivating because it takes you through a stark and wild environment.
After scaling the slopes, many possibilities for alternative trails open up to you, but our tour continues towards the next highlight of the day: the Montetiffi climb.
This stretch, where traffic is scarce, climbs in the midst of dense vegetation and begins with a slight slope, then reaches more significant gradients of up to 16%.
The village of Montetiffi and its Romanesque parish church are definitely worth visiting; in the past, skilled artisans in this area handcrafted earthenware pans used to cook piadina by kneading various materials according to secret recipes.
The next climb ascends another of the hills of the celebrated Gran Fondo and leads to Perticara, an area which was heavily populated and thriving up to the 1960s, thanks to the presence of one of the most important sulphur mines in Europe.
The ascent to Perticara Hill rises irregularly, alternating in the first part between slight slopes and more abrupt ramps, before rising up in the second half to gradients in double digits.
The view, which is initially divided, opens up in the upper part to offer a panorama over the plain to the sea.
Having scaled the slopes, continue towards Novafeltria, cross the Marecchia River and face the next challenge: Monte Pugliano, the seventh hill of the Gran Fondo Nove Colli. This climb winds up the slopes of pristine hills and begins with a difficult stretch, then ascends more gently.
Having reached the town of Maiolo, you’re rewarded for your efforts with a sublime view of the San Leo fortress with Monte Titano behind it.
Once in Pugliano, the most determined climbers can choose to continue the climb towards Villagrande, Carpegna and Pennabilli, but our tour at this point goes back down to San Leo, to then resume the trail towards San Marino.
The climb to the departure point is approached from the Montemaggio Chiesanuova face, with a meandering but manageable climb that leads back to Fiorentino and then to the historical centre of the oldest Republic in the world.
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