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Greccio -


Thursday 09  March 2023 218km Altitude gain 2100mt

Total time: 5:0:04 Withdrawals: 0

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YATES Adam Richard


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KAMNA Lennard
BAIS Davide
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technical info



technical info

The route is divided into two parts: an approach to the stage finale, and a closing circuit. In the first part, the route follows mainly the Salaria state road, undulating across the Apennines. The roads here are usually wide and well paved, only narrowed at points, with some tunnels along the route. Street furniture will be the main impediment as the stage passes through urban areas. The closing circuit begins at km 167.
Final kilometres
The final kilometres are part of a circuit of 17.1 kms, to be covered 3 times, which consists of a descent and a closing climb to the finish, with a small flat stretch along the coast in between. The final 3 kms have a mild uphill gradient of approx. 7%. The final 100 metres are flat and on tarmac.

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Greccio and its crib: a story that has its origins in the Christmas night of 1223 when St. Francis, returning from Palestine, wanted to reconstruct right here, in a cave, the Nativity Scene of Bethlehem. A unique event that radically changed the destiny of the small village on the slopes of Mount Lacerone. From a simple castrum – originally called “curtis de Greze” – Greccio became over the centuries a staple for thousands of tourists. All because of the intuition of Saint Francis, as known as “Il Poverello di Assisi” (poor fellow of Assisi) who on these mountains “invented” the crib, whose eighth centenary falls this year. For this anniversary, a National Committee has been established by the Ministry of Culture that will present major cultural events, including international ones, throughout 2023, such as its debut last December, at the Peace Center in Bethlehem.

Where is Greccio located? Situated halfway up the wooded Sabine mountain range, 705 meters above sea level, the medieval village overlooks the Valley of Rieti bordered by the Apennine mountain range of Terminillo.


Contrary to what many people think, St. Francis of Assisi was not a vegetarian at all and invited his friars to help themselves to “all the foods that men can eat.” But his favorite dish was shrimp pie, and he also loved some sweets such as almond mostaccioli. The pasticcio, or “coppo of St. Francis” is a dish based on succulent shrimp meat and its tasty juice with the addition of walnuts and spices, which give additional fragrance to the dish, served in a hard dough container, called – precisely – “coppo.” The recipe has been handed down through the centuries and has come down to the present day, presumably with some modifications, so much so that a typical restaurant in Greccio is still used to cook it as a tribute to the saint. Today, as 800 years ago, this and other recipes are part of the town’s gastronomic tradition, enriched over the centuries with various delicacies made with mushrooms, truffles, asparagus, legumes, hare, wild boar and lamb.

Particularly popular are the “Cannelloni alla Francescana”, a first course made with fresh homemade pasta stuffed with veal and natural flavorings, and the wild boar in red wine, a second course that has its strong point in its marination in Sabina oil, salt, pepper, juniper berries, bay leaves and rosemary. Also worth mentioning are the “Fregnacce alla Sabinese” and the baked baby lamb. Around the time of the grape harvest and during the Christmas season, local tradition offers honey sweets and short pastries kneaded with flour, grape must and dried fruit, especially hazelnuts, but also almonds and walnuts.

Points of interest

The ancient village still retains intact its original architectural layout and its urban structure typical of a fortified “castrum,” in which the remains of the castle, dating back to the 11th century, and the Bell Tower, built in the 17th century on the remains of one of the surviving towers, among the six that guarded the ancient city medieval walls.

To complete a path of peace destined to make Greccio a capital of Franciscan thought and Spirit, just two kilometers from the medieval village within a dense centuries-old ilex grove, stands the Franciscan Sanctuary of the Nativity built around the grotto that hosted the representation of the Nativity.

Known throughout the world as the Franciscan Bethlehem, the Sanctuary, which is located at an altitude of 635 meters, is a mighty architectural complex that seems to rise from the bare rock, and numerous are the treasures of art and faith kept within its ancient walls: from the fresco of the Giotto school in the Chapel of the Crib, to the rock on which St. Francis, in the Christmas celebration of 1223, first depicted the Nativity; to the primitive dormitory of the friars, where the Saint’s cell is preserved intact.

The project that emphasizes in a broader way the value of the Franciscan heritage and the centrality of the religious significance of the Nativity, is represented by the creation of the International Nativity Museum, located at the entrance to the medieval village.

Positioned on a hill and overlooking the extraordinary panorama of the Holy Valley, of Rieti it was realized through the restoration of two ancient buildings, the 14th-century Church of Santa Maria and a rural building, joined by a long corridor.

The area has landscape-panoramic, botanical and hydrological elements of interest.

Fascinating is the network of trails in the territory and immersed in unspoiled nature. Paths dedicated to those who wish to have a different experience in the woods of Greccio: a simple adventure, trekking, or a pilgrimage where the Saint himself loved to spend moments of meditation immersed in the mystery of Creation.

Among the Naturalistic-Religious Trails: “From Greccio to the Little Chapel,” the ancient path that unfolds in a unique panoramic setting; the path that led Giovanni Velita, feudal lord of Greccio and friend of  Saint Francis, to the 1,205 m asl of the Little Chapel, the Saint’s first refuge in the area.

The place is undoubtedly enchanting and uncovers a 360 degree panoramic view that allows one to dominate both the entire Holy Valley and all the Franciscan places in it (Poggio Bustone, La Foresta, Fonte Colombo and the Sanctuary of Greccio itself), and the Sabine land to the west until even catching a glimpse, in particularly clear conditions, of the Dome of Basilica of San Pietro in Rome.

“From Greccio to Fonte Lupetto” is the shortest, hiking-type path of only 700 meters located at 875m asl, where tradition has it that St. Francis encountered a hungry wolf that devoured people and animals in the area in those days.



Tortoreto is the main seaside tourist destination in Abruzzo, boasting about 570,000 overnight stays a year. Overlooking the Adriatic Sea, it is divided into five areas: the historic center, the Lido and the three hamlets of Salino, Cavatassi and Terrabianca. The historic center, of medieval origin, can boast churches with nationally important works of art as well as a wonderful view from the coast to the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif. The Lido, equipped with a magnificent bicycle path immersed in greenery and surrounded by equipped areas, can boast beautiful bathing facilities, restaurants and hotels ready to welcome the thousands of tourists every year. This tourist vocation is certified each year by the various banners obtained: Blue Flag, achieved 26 times of which 25 consecutive; Green Flag, awarded by Italian pediatricians to beaches suitable for children; Yellow Flag of FIAB bikeable municipalities; Green Ear for sustainable rural development; Lilac Flag for accessible tourism; certification as “City of Running and Walking” FIDAL.


Tortoreto, thanks to its agricultural and seafaring vocation, due to the location of its territory, with its various restaurants perfectly embodies all the requirements of excellent cuisine. It is a cuisine characterized by typical and unique products that have become famous all over the world and that represent a land of sea, mountains and fertile hills. Around Tortoreto you can go through food and wine itineraries such as the “roads of the seven hills” that allow to appreciate the crops and the products such as fresh and seasoned cheeses, typical cold cuts derived from the ancient tradition of homemade pork processing, and the great wines of Abruzzo that are the result of traditional and native grape varieties: Trebbiano, Cerasuolo and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The presence of many olive groves characterizes the area for the production of excellent oils, by oil mills and independent producers but also by important labels such as Olio Eterno and Olio Monaco, which has been awarded several times at the national and international level. We cannot fully get to know this territory without first tasting the typical recipes that characterize it, from timballo to maccheroni alla chitarra with pallottine (meatballs spaghetti), from lamb to arrosticini, from fish “brodetto” (soup) in its most varied interpretations to scrippelle, the Abruzzese equivalent of savory crepes, without forgetting sweets and liqueurs that are the result of ancient traditions rooted even in the new generations. Among the typical dishes, Chitarrina alla Tortoretana is a traditional first course that, with its homegrown, noble, fresh and quality ingredients, perfectly represents the place “of sea and land” that is Tortoreto. In this exquisite dish, the traditional dough of maccheroni alla chitarra (an ancient recipe from Abruzzo) is enriched and colored with the addition of spinach with the intent to recall the green of the beautiful hills, while, the clam “venus galina,” known for its unmistakable aroma and delicious taste, represents the pride of Tortoreto’s seafaring tradition, as well as the cuttlefish, caught skillfully and by our sailors with the characteristic “creels.”

Wine and beverage

Tortoreto hills are famous for the quality of their wines, and the area can boast wineries that produce Montepulciano d’Abruzzo D.O.C. and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane D.O.C.G., Trebbiano and Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo D.O.C., as well as Abruzzo Passerina D.O.C. and Abruzzo Pecorino D.O.C. The pride Tortoreto’s and Abruzzo’s wine production is the Tenuta Terraviva winery, which, every year, receives national and international awards for its wines.

Points of interest

Belvedere – Natural terrace located at the eastern entrance was originally a military outpost point for sighting invaders from the sea. It offers a spectacular view of a very long stretch of coastline, ranging from Pescara to San Benedetto del Tronto. Enchanting is the night view.

Roman Villa “Le Muracche” – A visit to the Roman Villa “Le Muracche” represents a chance to immerse oneself in a distant past. Tortoreto’s territory can boast, in fact, human settlements since the Paleolithic, but experiences a period of particular development in Roman times. This is confirmed by the domus “Le Muracche,” a splendid example of a Roman villa, dating back to the 2nd century BC and composed of two parts: the “pars fructuaria,” where wine and oil were produced, and the “pars urbana,” inhabited by the owners and servants. It represents a kind of connecting stretch between the historic center and the Tortoreto Lido. In fact, it is located on the road that unites the two souls of the city, surrounded by vineyards and a landscape that shows striking glimpses. Among the remains of the domus it is possible to admire the mosaic flooring and very ancient tools used for agriculture.

Medieval’s Origin Historic Center – At the center of the built-up area of Tortoreto Alto, there is the ancient medieval village, made of stones and bricks and equipped with a characteristic tower to guard the entire center, called the Clock Tower. It was built in the 7th century expanded in the 13th century and later embellished in the 16th century with Renaissance finishing touches. The drawbridge, present in the structure, had the function of connecting the two cores of the town, Terravecchia and Terranova, separated by a small passageway enclosed by 14th-century walls.

St. Nicholas Church – This is the parish church, rebuilt in 1534, but certainly of much earlier date, which preserves beautiful paintings and statue of Our Lady of the Snow venerated on August 5.  On the walls artistic stained-glass windows make it even more atmospheric and suitable for prayer and recollection.

Madonna della Misericordia Church – Now a national monument, it dates back to 1348 and was built in honor of Madonna della Misericordia in thanksgiving for the narrow escape from the terrible plague of 1347. It preserves inside a remarkable series of frescoes depicting moments in the life of Christ, from the Nativity to the Crucifixion, Madonna della Misericordia, Evangelists and Saints, painted in 1526 by Giacomo Bonfini.

St. Augustine’s Monastery – Probably founded around 1500, it was almost entirely rebuilt and enlarged beginning in 1623. Inside is a cloister with Romanesque-style arches and windows with a well in the center. Its historical importance in the social life of the time is attested by the fact that, in terms of the endowment of houses and land, it was the third in Abruzzo, after those of L’Aquila and Lanciano. It also had its own oil mill and had a good library. It ceased its activity in 1809 with the suppression of the Augustinian order by Napoleonic laws, resuming its monastic spirit in 1894 thanks to the Sisters of St. Joseph with the establishment of the Kindergarten.

St. Augustine Church – Rises next to the convent, also rebuilt in the same period. Baroque in style inside, it has several altars, one of which in wood preserves a valuable terracotta statue of the Madonna and as an altarpiece a large canvas depicting the “Baptism of St. Augustine” by Mattia Preti, one of the major painters of the 1600s.

Madonna del Carmine Church – Located just outside the city walls, built in 1529 at the end of the plague that struck Italy and dedicated to St. Roch, who in his lifetime devoted himself precisely to caring for the plague victims. Later dedicated to Madonna del Carmine in 1881 it was restored in brick with a portal with a geometric neoclassical style design, graceful and graceful. In 2002 it was redecorated, respecting the designs and colors of the early 20th century. The church on July 16, 2003 was returned to worship.

PedoCiclovie Tortoreto – To further emphasize Tortoreto’s vocation for wellness, the Municipal Administration, thanks to collaboration with the sports association, has created a route for runners, cyclists and walkers, about 30 km long, which covers the lido, historic center and hills. Easy to use, it is equipped with extensive and clear signage that will be able to accompany even the less experienced in the area in a healthy physical activity to discover the local beauty.

Nature Oasis – Since the second half of the 1800s there have been natural water springs that collected into a drinking water source available to the inhabitants. Immediately after the war as a result of land settlements, a hillside pond was created. Later, a closed area with a ban on hunting was defined in this area and realized a small nature oasis. Thanks to this initiative it is now possible to observe a pond fed by three natural springs, with specimens of fauna and flora in their natural environment.

Fountain of the Vessel – A few hundred meters from the medieval village, there is an ancient fountain with its wash house, once used by the resident population. It is an imposing and history-laden work, which also can boast a complex and characteristic underground passageway of more than seventy meters, for water to flow from the spring to catch basins and to the wash house.

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