We are late. We are in Bevagna, an incredible Middle Age little town between Assisi and Foligno.
This morning we left Anghiari, where in 1440 there was a battle that has changed history. The Duchy of Milan wanted to conquer central Italy, but in that occasion the fighting lords in Tuscany formed a military coalition defeating the enemy.
If Milan had won, central Italy would have become one of the many provinces to be squeezed. But the locals lords won, and to celebrate their glory they started to commission paintings, palaces and frescoes to some workshop boys. Among them, Piero della Francesca, then Leonardo and Michelangelo who was born some kilometers away from Anghiari.
Therefore without this battle we wouldn’t have started the day riding in the cradle of one of the most extraordinary intellectual adventure of all-time: the Renaissance. In San Sepolcro we visited Piero della Francesca museum, to see the most beautiful painting in the world according to Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi: the Resurrection. Then, in Città di Castello, we honored another “great” artist, born 600 years later, Alberto Burri, who realized a permanent exhibition of his paintings in a former tobacco drying kiln.
In those areas, even now, tobacco is cultivated. It’s a plant that needs a lot of water and in the Tiber high valley it’s not missing. If the Arno valley seems a big plain when you ride inside of it, the Tiber valley is a real valley, with the river that flows in the middle of it, giving to this land an incredible fertility. Last night’s storm has cleaned the air and an extraordinary light has lighted up the landscape during the entire stage.
Green countryside, orchards, wheat and tobacco fields, vineyards, cypress rows and shade-giving oaks. It’s a real Eden. And we happily rode inside of it.
Remember this name: Sasseto road (Pian del Cerro and Pian delle Rose): one of the most pleasant road on which I’ve ever pedaled, with the Tiber flowing few hundred meters away.
From the Tiber high valley we went towards Foligno. We crossed Umbertide, where we have tasted the ‘ravioli carbonara’ made by a local cook who had the face of a butcher pissed off and the creativity of a Cubist painter (as the Cubists he has re-invented the classical carbonara and he recreated it according to wonderful prospects).
Then Assisi and, surprisingly, the town from where I’m writing, Bevagna, and where we are about to go to sleep.
Ps: “Gravel moment”, when we got lost and we started to ride on the grass… I was getting tired and I started to swear like only a person from Abruzzo can do. It was a “gravel” cyclist moment, Enrico renamed me “grevel” cyclist and the tour’s annoyingly catchy hit began!
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