Alé have made their home in Verona, and for good reason. The historic city and the surrounding area is simply spectacular for road cycling thanks to a much sought after combination of rustic, leg-testing climbs and picturesque views across the vineyards, olive groves and ancient settlements that the area is famous for. With its fresh meadow air and balmy climate, spring is the perfect time to saddle up and soak it all in. Here’s a handy guide for everyone looking to make the most of a spring road cycling trip to Italy.
Dotted with historic squares and monuments connected by meandering medieval streets, there’s a lot to see in Verona itself; and no better way to do it than by bicycle. With its flat, pedestrianised streets, cycling is a great way to see the sights of Verona city center. Start your spring cycling day in one of Verona’s many piazzas for a laid back latte, while soaking up the early morning buzz of Veronese life. Piazza Brà is the largest square in the city and serves-up unrivaled sights of the ancient Arena – the magnificent Roman amphitheatre that the city is well known for.
A short distance from the city, and across the Adige river, lies the region of Valpolicella, where the roads are lined with elegant Italian Cypress trees towering up to 15m high. This region offers relaxed and easy riding through rolling countryside and, naturally, stunning views of row upon row of grapevines – plus the option of stopping for a vineyard tour and tasting.
Ride further west from Valpolicella and it won’t be long before you arrive at the shores of Lago di Garda. The largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda’s clear waters stretch out across its 52km length. Every weekend, lakeside cafes are awash with liveried road cyclists arriving in their pelotons out to enjoy the vibrant cycling scene on the lakeside riviera.
For those willing to climb, breathtaking lake and snow-capped mountain views await those who venture to the villages high above the edges of the lake. Above the western, northern and eastern shores rise switchback climbs, with views of the distant Dolomites to reward you from the top. Even more adventurous cyclists can take on the beautiful but challenging Three Lakes Route to the west of Lake Garda. This long day-ride starts with a hydrofoil ferry across the lake, before riding deep into the wooded valleys and panoramic roads of the Alto Garda Bresciano Park. On the way, you’ll discover the pristine Lake Ledro, the lilies of Lake Ampola and the thrilling cornice roads and tunnels of northern Lake Garda.
If you’re after a challenge, the Verona area offers several climbs for the checklist, including Sdruzzina, Peri-fosse, Punta Veleno – and the longest climb in the Verona area – Monte Baldo. At 25km long and with an altitude difference of 1800m, it’s the highest peak around Lake Garda. Baldo serves up an 11.5% average grade of climb and a maximum 18% and, as you’d expect, incredible panoramic views across the Prealps and verdant pastures of Lessinia National Park; the plateau of the Veneto Prealps.
Extending from the shores of Lake Garda to the borders of Vincenza, is Baldo-Lessinia – a cycling wonderland of rich green meadows, attractive woodlands and deep valleys. The addition of well-kept paved roads make this a must-visit cycling destination. The great thing about Lessiana is its accessibility for all levels of cyclist – there are paths that offer low technical difficulty, as well as more extreme options with serious climbs and exhilarating descents.