Strade Montane is a cycling project to discover the Apennine territory through the roads that run along the ridges of the mountain area between Emilia and Tuscany among ancient villages, boundless woods and silent crests. We are on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
Let’s talk about it with Giovanni, one of the project’s creator.
What is the objective of Strade Montane?
The goal is to make you venture into the mountains near our house, along paths, cartways and narrow provincial roads that have something to tell about their present and past history.
How was the idea born?
It’s been in my head for a few years. Having always been around the mountains at home, I was able to get passionate about both the naturalistic part and the historical one. I came to make it a real job as a GAE guide, and a few years ago I started riding for the first time in the Apennine valleys. I already came from road cycling on a purely occasional level, but slowly I approached the world of gravel and bikepacking. I actually got down to business two years ago. I liked the idea of talking about the Apennines in my own way, giving a personal contribution to making the area I love known. I proposed the idea to Fabio, a friend and fellow adventurer, who contributes decisively to the project. Together we take care of the tracking, which means losing our eyesight on Komoot, making a million attempts, trying and retrying the routes several times, ending up in real ravines every now and then! It’s a fun job that allows us to explore even more deeply a territory still little known to many.
Where does the passion for the “Lost Roads” come from – which seems like a nostalgic-philosophical concept?
It’s actually the heart of the project. Strade Montane certainly sets itself the goal of creating new routes on mixed terrain, but it doesn’t want to be another invention in the gravel world, all adventure and beers. The aim is to make known the history of the places where your wheels are riding. The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines are historically a border area between the pre-Roman populations and the Romans themselves, between the Papal States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and during the Second World War our ridges witnessed the most dramatic pages of our history: a still open wound called the Gothic Line.
Many paths have crossed here, at least as many stories have crossed them. Over time, modernity arrived and with it the infrastructures, the large roads that finally allowed the small and medium-sized provincial towns to connect to each other, but at the same time we let go of an important cross-section of the local mountain culture. We would therefore like to bring attention to the history hidden in the ancient passes, in the large beech woods, among the ancient chestnut groves and doing it by bicycle seems to us the most fun way to do it.
Three handpicked tips for our Bammers?
- Strade Montane periodically comes out in volumes, a collection of 4 free downloadable tracks united by a theme. Volume 1, which you find on the website, can be covered in 3 or 4 days based in Porretta Terme: a different track every day!
- Since we never give up on the bike even on vacation, this summer we launched an off-topic on the website: Find the “Fuori Porta” section where the traces of our holidays on the road are available. If you haven’t planned anything yet, check it out!
- For those who love good food: you should know that on each itinerary you will find several little places where you can taste the Emilian and Tuscan mountain cuisine, washed down with red wine. You will learn their meanings: ciacci, balotti, frugiate, fugacine, borlenghi and zampanelle and trust me, you won’t regret it!
Discover more on https://www.strademontane.it/