By bike from Orvieto through the Way of the Badlands

The cultural effervescence of a city, Orvieto, the spectacle of a valley, the Badlands. Together they create a path from the original storyline, full of excitement and mystery.
  • Travelling time: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Why we love it: For its ability to amaze offering moments of genuine in the nature and puffs of historicity in the city
  • Length: 27 km
  • Total Elevation Gain: 400 m
  • Way to travel: By Mountain Bike
  • Cost: 0 €
  • Our Advice: Suitable for all practicable also with mountain bike is not amortized. The path is characterized by flat stretches and steep climbs slightly.
Map of the Bike Tour between the Badlands, Umbria, Italy
Map of the Bike Tour between the Badlands, Umbria, Italy

Technical Data Sheet

Departure and arrival: Orvieto

Distance: 27 km

Altitude difference: 400 meters

Difficulty: Easy

Surface: 95% dirt, 5% asphalt

What to see: Orvieto, Paglia River, Tenuta della Sala

Orvieto Cathedral, Umbria, Italy
Orvieto Cathedral, Umbria, Italy

This route starts at the foot of Orvieto, more precisely from the parking lot of the cable car in a few minutes to reach the city center.

One of the most beautiful cities in Italy and that, in terms of artistic and cultural heritage, has nothing to envy to other much vaunted foreign cities.

Just think of the varied landscape of churches of which provides:

the Cathedral, designed by Lorenzo Maitani (XIII century), the church of San Giovenale, that of San Lorenzo de'Arari, and those of St. Francis and St. Dominic to name a few.

The slew of buildings of historical interest does not end here, in the old town one can admire impressive historic buildings such as the Town Hall, the Palace of the People, the Palace of the Seven and the Teatro Comunale Luigi Mancinelli.

Umbrian estate of Castello della Sala, Orvieto
Umbrian estate of Castello della Sala, Orvieto

The route runs almost entirely on dirt roads not binding, apart from a short stretch of tarmac in the area of ​​Castello della Sala and a fairly technical downhill section immediately after passing through the spectacular scenery of the Badlands, where the less experienced may conduct feet. In any case, it is a path rather easy and suitable for everyone.

Paglia River, Orvieto
Paglia River, Orvieto

The first kilometers of the route along the Paglia River and are completely flat. The first spurt at about 100 meters tackles after 9 kilometers, but turning right freewheel down immediately and you proceed to the hills, riding in the shadows donated by meadows and woods.

The only climb the route starts after 11 kilometers and ends about 2 kilometers further, once the Sala Church, where we can enjoy magnificent views of the valley below and on the vast vineyards surrounding the Tenuta of Castello della Sala.

The visual impact of the Badlands
The visual impact of the Badlands

Here we turn right and continue to climb for a few hundred meters on the asphalt road, but we leave shortly after (13.4 km) turn right and begin the first part of the descent that leads us in the fascinating area of ​​the Badlands, a beautiful lunar landscape eroded by the outbreak of the time. Overcome these amazing sandstone formations reach a dilapidated old house, where we turn left and begin the most technical stretch of the descent. Shortly after, passed a lawn (16.3 km), we turn right and dry we are facing the steepest part, where the less experienced, to avoid problems, can walk for a few meters.

St. Patrick's Well, volcanic outcrop in Orvieto. Photo by Luca Galli via Flickr
St. Patrick's Well, volcanic outcrop in Orvieto. Photo by Luca Galli via Flickr

The descent ends at kilometer 16.7 and us back on the trail crossed leg, about a kilometer before the start of the climb. Here we turn left and retrace back the dirt road did in the first part of the itinerary.

The effort of these though delicate pedaling, repay us the effort made. In Orvieto we run it in what is legitimately considered a masterpiece of engineering: the St. Patrick's well 62 meters deep. It consists of two independent spiral staircases that allowed to go down to the bottom to get the water out to meets with those who went back. This underground passage is just a small taste of Orvieto underground that will wait.

The Orvieto underground among its tunnels, hidden archaic mysteries. Photo by Roberto Ferrari via Flickr
The Orvieto underground among its tunnels, hidden archaic mysteries. Photo by Roberto Ferrari via Flickr

You will be captivated by the halo of mystery that winds and creeps in all the many artificial cavities, from galleries to wells, from tanks to the quarries, a maze of tunnels where faces and colors will be dissolved, leaving prevail hearing and smell, or those senses generally less stressed.

 

Cover photo: Panorama from the walls of Orvieto, photo by Groume via Flickr

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