Leaving Firenzuola behind, you'll head along the valley of the river Santerno towards Imola, which forms a type of canyon that displays distinct layers of rock.
At San Pellegrino (5.2km), cross the rail tracks. After this there's little traffic and the road overlooks sunbathers by the river. At 11 km, after the church of Cà Maggiore in Coniale, turn right towards Tirli. It's here that the first challenging climb begins, known as the Paretaio Pass.
At 11.7 km there's a fresh water fountain on the right. The climb lasts for 10.2 km. At 21.2 km you'll reach the Paretaio Pass and the road winds downhill. This stretch is challenging even when the asphalt is in good condition. After about 8 km (29.1km) cycling through forests, you'll get to Palazzuolo sul Senio.
At the junction with the road through the town there's a fountain and this is also an opportunity to get a bite to eat. Here you can take a shortcut, shortening the route by around 44 km, by heading towards Borgo San Lorenzo. You'll still have to tackle the Passo della Sambuca which is 1,061 metres above sea level and 10.7 km long.
If you choose to continue, cross the river Senio and head back uphill for around 6 km with a maximum 6-7% incline towards Marradi. You'll get to the Passo Carnevale which is 700 metres above sea level.
At 35.5 km the descent down to Marradi begins, where there are some more water fountains. After a few hundred metres, the road to San Benedetto in Alpe leads to the longest climb of the day; the Eremo Pass is 921 metres above sea level and 10.7 km long.
After signs for the Hermitage, head downhill for around 2 km, before a short climb of 80 metres to the Peschiena Pass. After the pass at 55.2 km, you'll be 900 metres above sea level. There's a steep, bumpy downhill stretch with no parapets. Here we're in the National Park of the Casentinesi Forest.
After a ride through the woods with a water spring (58.1 km), the road heads into a valley with steep hills. At 63.5 km you'll reach the valley floor at San Benedetto in Alpe. Heading back uphill to the Muraglione pass is the fifth and penultimate climb of the day.
Back in the park, the slopes have an incline of no more than 6-7%. Along a welcome flat stretch of 500 metres you'll find the Osteria Nuova (66.3 km). After the 70th kilometre there are a series of bends in the road which last around 2 kilometres, and at 72.2 km the road is smooth for approximately 800 metres until the Muraglione Pass at 907 metres above sea level. There are beautiful views which you can admire from the rest point at the top of the hill. Following this, there's a nice downhill stretch which takes you to San Godenzo (81.1 km).
After another 10 km downhill you'll arrive in Dicomano (91.6 km) where you'll enter the Sieve Valley, which will take you uphill to Borgo San Lorenzo.
If you started from Marradi rather than Firenzuola you can get back to your starting point from here in around 36 kilometres, making a total distance of around 100 km, by heading uphill to the Colla di Casaglia Pass.
Those on the main route should continue from Borgo San Lorenzo to San Piero a Sieve (113 km) and afterwards head towards Scarperia (117.4 km), watching out for heavy traffic. Here starts the final climb of the day, the Giogo di Scarperia Pass, which lasts 10.2 km and has an average gradient of 5.8%. At 127.6 km you'll find a beautiful spot with views over the Upper Mugello. From here, head downhill for 12 km until you're back in Firenzuola.
- flag Sporty More demanding itineraries for highly trained cyclists and those who love a challenge, with the toughest climbs and hardest roads
- nature Scenic bike itineraries In the loveliest of places, immersed in nature, by the sea and through historical old towns
- location_city Urban itineraries Fascinating bike tours around the artistic treasures of Tuscany's major towns and cities
- wc Bike itineraries for tourists and for families Easy itineraries along the coast, in the hills and towns, suitable for families with children