what is "la Carrareccia"?
It’s September, you feel the taste of the still damp air and it’s time to pull on the old wool jumper again and get into the saddle of your sparkling, well-oiled vintage bike. The first blows of the pedal along the edge of the lake and straight away the images of Alta Tuscia begin to unfold; land of great historic and natural riches, where the borders and the traditions of Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany mix and where the carrareccia is always the right road, the large well-maintained one where the carts pass, pulled by horses or oxen.
A hilly territory, hard to pedal, but never monotonous with its continuous ups and downs, rich in vegetation and good air, in archaeology and history, that knows how to conserve its authenticity tied to a strong peasant tradition, especially in homemade food and drink. Surrounded by a crown of woody hills there is the caldera of the biggest volcanic lake in ltaly around which unfold the 5 routes of La Carrareccia, one for every leg: 54km for all and every type of velocipede; “crossing the years by boat” for those who want to be less tired and just enjoy the scenery; 105km for well-trained and heroic legs.
Why choose to pedal those stony routes; are they not equal to many others? Perhaps, but read a brief narration of the 100 mile route: it departs from Bolsena, ancient city belonging to the Etruscans, then the Romans and finally to the Church, indissolvably linked to the eucharistic miracle (1263). Pleasant and restful city along the lake shores, enchanting and suggestive among the old streets of the historic medieval quarter overlooked by its austere castle.
The "coregone", the fish of the lake, is one of many local specialties to be tasted.
We begin to climb on the north-east side of the hills behind Bolsena, heading towards Umbria.
You descend and down, in the middle of the valley, you can already see the rocky spike on which the ancient city of Orvieto rests. There’s no need to describe the splendour of this pearl of Umbria. You enter Piazza della Repubblica which offers an inviting refreshment before crossing the historic centre and reaching the Duomo. The stone-paved descent that leads out of the city towards the Canale vineyards and Lubriano is extraordinary.
And here the legs, proven by the dirt road, ask for a refreshment stop at the panoramic square; and while havung a sip of a good red, the gaze meets another pearl of the Umbria-Lazio territory: Civita di Bagnoregio, the dying city.
You gain altitude after leaving Bagnoregio towards Montefiascone, home of the Est Est Est wine; a taste and you fly on the descent that leads to the lake; you cycle along the shore, until you reach Marta and Capodimonte, historical domains of the Orsini and Farnese families, linked to the events of the Grand Duchy of Castro.
An unforgettable taste of chunks of bread soaked in caneiola (typical sweet red wine of Marta). The Brigands’ Path leads us back on the last stretch to Bolsena, the finish line.
Not only pedals and fatigue, but the irresistible and delicate beauty of this territory experienced from the saddle of an old bicycle, simple and genuine as the "hot snail" bread, crunched while humming the anthem of "La Carrareccia".