BEACH CRUISIN’ IN ABRUZZO

Coastal ride from Francavilla to Montesilvano

We arrived in San Martino sulla Marrucina on Friday night and decided to sleep in on Saturday, therefore spending the whole day on the saddle wasn’t on our agenda, but we did feel like doing a short ride and taking in some sun.

But since riding in the province of Chieti usually means you’re going uphill  or downhill with little in between, and I hadn’t ridden as much as I would have liked in the months leading up to our visit in May, I suggested stretching our legs by cycling along the Adriatic coast from Francavilla al Mare heading north to Monte Silvano and stopping for lunch on the beach.

Vineyards in Val di Foro en route to the coast from San Martino sulla Marrucina.

With our bikes in tow, we drove down to the coast, which takes 25-30 minutes from San Martino. We parked our car at the first opportunity we found in Francavilla (parking opps are ample and free) where the SP214 meets the water.

A couple of road cyclists stopped as we were unloading our gravel bikes in order to take a look at them and shoot the breeze. Gravel bikes are growing immensly in popularity in Italy and Alessandro, one of the riders, was thinking about getting one. He asked me if he could take a spin and i was happy to oblige. Even if he never came back, he would be leaving a very limited carbon  Colnago Ferrari edition with all the bells and whistles. The frame was a bit small, even for me, but I’d probably be able to replace my Niner by selling off the components and wheel set alone. In case you’re wondering, Alessandro did come back.

The best part of spending time at the beach in Abruzzo any month other than August is the fact that it’s never overcrowded. This sunny Saturday morning we encountered a fair number of joggers and cyclists but if it was during the week, it would have probably been close to empty.

We were amazed by how wide and manicured the bike paths were, and the fact that we almost never had to deviate to the road. It turns out the region has invested quite a bit in the cycling infrastructure these past years, and they are currently expanding the path south of Francavilla to Fossacesia, so it will soon be possible to ride approx. 50K+ along the coast without any interruptions.

As we travel north towards Pescara, I’m very pleasantly surprised at how fun and interesting the ride is: the scenery is great, they’ve put up cool art pieces and built beautiful fountains, there are endless amounts of restored beach huts, restaurants and small bars all along the coastline.

I hadn’t been here in years as I’m not a big fan of the typical umbrella filled Italian beaches with “Macarena” blaring from the loudspeakers and line dancing is encouraged. I prefer to drive south towards Rocca San Giovanni where, mind you, there’s less infrastructure and the beach is of stone rather than sand, but it’s pure solitude and swimming at the ‘costa dei trabocchi’, well, it’s just more my thing.

Once you reach Pescara you’ll encounter an ultra-modern bike/pedestrian bridge (Ponte del Mare) spanning the Pescara River, which is the only climb on the route. From there you follow Via Aldo Moro all the way to Montesilvano. It’s somewhat recessed from the coastline as there are a lot of camping areas located here, so there’s less of a view.

A short break in Montesilvano before heading back towards Francavilla.

On our way  back, following the same route, we decide to get a bite to eat at one of the many beach restaurants dotted along the coastline. I don’t remember the name of the place where we stopped nor did I take any pics as my wife hates it when I pull out my phone and stand on my chair to get that ‘epic food shot’. Who can blame her.

But the pasta was homemade, the fish was fresh, they had a couple of decent regional wines by the glass to choose from, and the price was fair. I’m sure most establishments offer the same quality and value so just choose one which tickles your fancy.

If you feel like visiting a couple of wineries located on or near the route, I can highly recommend Cantina Pasetti in Francavilla (close to Pescara) or Tenuta I Fauri and Fattoria Licia located a few minutes drive land inward along the SP214 in Val di Foro (the Foro Valley). I will list their contact info below.

All in all we very much enjoyed our cruise along the beach and the 40K definitely did the trick in motivating us for the hillside rides we had planned in the coming days.

I decided not to add the tour track because the tour is quite straightforward. Ride safe and ride ON!

Recommended wineries:

Cantina Pasetti
Via S. Paolo, 21
66023 Francavilla al Mare
+39 085 61875
www.pasettivini.it

Fattoria Licia
Contrada Val di Foro, 64
66010 Villamagna
+39 0871 300252
www.fattorialicia.it

Tenuta I Fauri
Via Foro, 18
66010 Ari
+39 0871 332627
www.tenutaifauri.it