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Part 2: Basel - Florence

Description
The second part of the route to Rome starts in Basel in the Rhine valley and then goes on to the smaller valley of the Thur towards Bodensee (Lake Constance). The route from Bodensee follows the cycle paths through the Rhine valley that cross over Austria and Liechtenstein for a short distance. After Chur the route continues along the lovely Polenweg (Polish Path) towards Thusis at the foot of the Alps. You have a choice at Thusis. For those who enjoy climbing, take the gorge in Viamala rising up to the Splügen Pass. The climb rises in three distinct sections, which allows you to regain your breath in between. The Splügen Pass is beautiful and also one of the quietest over the Alps. It is open from May until October.

If you prefer less climbing, or if the pass is blocked by snow, you can take the most beautiful railway journey in Europe from Thusis to Samedan and St Moritz. From there you descend to Maloja. Or you can take the spectacular train journey over the Bernina Pass to Tirano. You can also cycle down the Bernina. The routes over the Splügen and Maloja passes come together at Chiavenna followed by a cycle path along the river to Como. If you take the route over the Bernina Pass, you can then cycle from Tirano along the new cycle path through Valtellina to Lago Como. Valtellina is a delightful valley with very special vineyards perched on the steep mountain sides.

Halfway along Lago Como the route crosses to Bellagio by ferry boat. At the southern tip of the lake at Lecco, there is a cycle path running along beside the River Adda. At Imbersago you can see the (replica) ferry boat powered by the river current whose design is attributed to Leonardi da Vinci. At this point you can choose whether to pay a visit to Bergamo, or continue southwards along the River Adda, therefore avoiding the city and steeper climbs. The route then runs along Lago d’Iseo to Brescia through the undulating landscape of the Franciacorta with its castles and abbeys. From Brescia the route goes via Desenzano on the shores of Lago Garda then along part of the valley of the Mincio river. You follow the cycle path beside the river, continuing all the way into the historic centre of Mantova. Nowadays there is a cycle path out of Mantova virtually all the way to Modena, and even further as the route also forms a section of the Eurovelo cycle network.

Leaving Modena you first join the cycle path running over the former railway to Vignola, after which the route takes the lowest route through the Apennines Mountains (Appennini). This route provides wonderful views over the surrounding landscape. It then descends again to Pistoia, the first town in Tuscany with its beautiful medieval square. You now have a choice after Pistoia. The main route goes to San Gimignano, the town in the centre of Tuscany with the amazing towers. This is followed by an excellent link to the next section towards Rome, which also means less climbing through the Tuscan hills. The other route goes to Florence and runs over a cycle path along the river Arno all the way into the city. There is also a route to Lucca that is ideal for those wanting to cycle on to Pisa and Livorno. This also has the easiest gradient when cycling in the opposite direction through the Appennini.

The route is signposted virtually all the way through Switzerland. The route is also signposted for the most part in Italy. From Chiavenna and through the Valtellina to Lago Como, and from Palazzolo near Bergamo via Brescia and Mantova to Modena and Vignola.

The site also includes the various routes to Milan, as well as the older, though shorter, route through the Po valley.


Map(s)



General information
Edition/Year of publication: 6th edition, 2019
Language: Dutch (english text available)
Distance: 950 km Basel - San Gimignano 920 km Basel - Florence
Detailed Maps: 68, scale 1:100,000 (Switzerland), 1:150,000 (Italy)
City Maps: 12, scale varies
Traffic-free kilometres: Over 400 km (500 km with options)
Difficulty rating: Easy until you reach the Alpine foothills at Thusis. You then have the choice of cycling the beautiful Splügen Pass, or jumping aboard the train to St Moritz then descending via either the Maloja or Bernina passes. Following the Po valley you cycle the lowest route through the Apennines with just moderate climbing demands.

GPS available: Download GPS-tracks


Map samples - Part 2
Sample pages with detailed maps and height profiles.



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