An exciting off-road route which follows Dante Alighieri’s footsteps mainly through forests and almost always off the beaten paths! The tour starts from Ravenna the city where the poet is buried and ends in Florence where he was born. The tour aims at discovering villages and art cities in Romagna and Tuscany where Dante wandered during his exile.
A Grand Tour which crosses territories such as Mugello, Casentino Valley, Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines, Lamone Valley and little historic villages such as Poppi, Romena, Pratovecchio, Camaldoli, Portico di Romagna, San Benedetto in Alpe, Castrocaro Terme and Terra del Sole, places that inspired Dante writing his Divine Comedy.
This itinerary, away from traffic and any kind of air pollution, crosses the Apennines ridge characterized by an exciting alternation of ascents and descents. The route is mainly on dirt roads, technically never too difficult (no singletrack) to ride but challenging if considering the elevation gain : 4 stages with an elevation gain over 1000mt and 3 below 1000mt.
Level: level 4 on a e-gravel / level 5 on a push bike
Average daily distance: 46,5 km
Length: 279 km
Day 1 Ravenna
Arrival in Ravenna: spare time to visit the city center on your own, use the Dante Pass for a discounted access to museums/monuments/ attractions.
Check the updated list here: https://www.dantebike.it/en/dante-pass/
Overnight in Ravenna
Day 2 Ravenna-Forlì-Castrocaro
The first day of riding is almost entirely along the river and flat till Castrocaro in a mixture of gravel on the river levee and asphalt terrain which will never be technical then it will climb lightly to get to Castrocaro. Along the way we will ride first to Classe where you can visit the Basilica of Sant Apollinare in Classe , a mosaic masterpiece, then we’ll continue through Forlì, where Dante lived twice during his exile. The trip moves to Terra del Sole, a jewel of Renaissance town planning commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1564 as an example of perfect urban planning, Terra del Sole was also a fortress defending the northern borders and Castrocaro with its fortress and spa.
Light lunch along the route, I would leave this on their own as it can happen easily either in Forli’ or Castrocaro, depending on their speed.
Distance 57 km / elevation gain + 254 mt
Day 3 Castrocaro – Portico di Romagna
From today no more flat terrain but good climbs. From Castrocaro, we climb through vineyards and olive groves along the ridge of the spungone (literally ‘sponge’) a special geological formation typical of the area that was used in the construction of the imposing tower of the Castle of Guido Guerra, a member of the Guidi family who was mentioned by Dante in the 16th canto of the Inferno. The tour later on climbs to a ridge that leads to the famous Vulcanello of Monte Busca, a burning fountain of methane gas that comes out of the subsoil and is constantly combusting. From here, a pleasant descent on asphalt leads to the overnight stop, the lovely Portico di Romagna, known for its characteristic humpback bridge.
Distance 39 km/ elevation gain + 1066 mt
Day 4 Portico di Romagna –Campigna
The tour goes into the Tuscan-Romagna Appennine “selva oscura” [Dante’s dark forest] characterized by thick woods and hidden hermitages.
Then the tour continues into other forests climbing the Appennine and then descending towards San Benedetto in Alpe, a town known for its Abbey. If you like here you can leave the bikes and walking up to to the Acquacheta falls (9km round trip) whose beautiful scenery was described by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy. The tour continues discovering the territory of Casentinesi Forests National Park where an alternation of steep ascents and descents leads to Campigna with its century old forest. Most of the time we will be immersed in the forest with beautiful overviews over the valleys below!
Distance 41 km /elevation gain + 1300 mt
Day 5 Campigna- Camaldoli-Poppi
The first stage of the tour is the Sacro Eremo of Camaldoli, where we’ll get to through a thick forest. The ancient monastery is still inhabited by monks. The tour continues along a steep descent on asphalt and then still down but more gradual and off road to the plains of Pratovecchio. It is worth the climb for 5km to the Abbey of Romena built in 1152 and the nearby castle that hosted Dante in his first years of exile (optional) . Another short diversion leads to Porciano Castle, where Dante was a guest of the Guidi family. During his stay he wrote three of his famous Latin epistles. The route continues along the river towards Poppi which is a must-see on a route through Dante’s places. Poppi is dominated by the Castle of the Guidi counts, near which the famous battle of Campaldino took place. Dante fought in this battle on the Guelph side. His participation is remembered by the “Column of Dante” in Poppi.
Distance 53 km / elevation gain + 1089 mt
Day 6 Poppi –Saltino/Vallombrosa
Today we cycle up the slopes of Pratomagno (meaning grand meadow) where will enjoy the amazing views over the beautiful meadows overlooking the plains of Florence and Arezzo. We’ll get closer and closer to Florence by stopping at the dominant Vallombrosa Abbey surrounded by forests of beech and firs. The monastery is open to tourists and its “Antica Farmacia” sells local products such as herbal teas and liqueurs made following antique recipes. Among these is the rare and legendary Dry Gin of Vallombrosa.
Distance 38 km/elevation gain + 1200 mt
Day 7 Saltino/Vallombrosa - Florence
Today’s is our last ride leading towards Dante’s birthplace, Florence. We’ll start enjoying a rather long and thrilling descent through the ‘Polverosa’ path, a pretty famous gravel itinerary which leads down to the Sieve Valley where, having reached the Arno river, the challenging ups and downs are resumed between vineyards and olive groves to then finally reach the city of Dante, Florence.
Distance 51 km/ elevation gain + 600 mt
Day 8 Florence end of the tour
In Florence a lot of corners and places recall Dante’s life, first and foremost the House where he was born near “Torre della castagna”, we recommend visiting it after breakfast (closed on Mondays).
End of the tour and of this unforgettable adventure.
See you next time!
You can return to Ravenna by train or with us booking the return trip as an extra service.
Type of itinerary
linear, in group with a guide
8 days, 7 nights
Number of participants
minimum 6 people
15th of April | 15th of July | 7th of October
Price per person in double room
- 7 overnight stays in a double room in a 3-star hotel or similar accommodation
- 7 breakfasts
- 7 dinners and 1 packed lunches
- Dante Pass
- luggage transport
- APP and GPX tracks
- authorised bicycle touring guide
Services not included
- tourist tax
- transport to the starting point and/or end point of the tour
- medical/luggage insurance
- bike rental and bike fitting
- anything not specified under “included services”
e-MTB Bike rental price
40€ per day
Single room supplement
DB-MG8 / itbg4090