San Bartolo, Adriatic balcony between Marche and Romagna

The hills of Monte San Bartolo rise up overlooking the sea, providing a natural balcony and offering breathtaking scenery. The itinerary starts in Pesaro, runs along the hills as far as Gabicce Mare, to then inland through the hills between Marche and Romagna.
The route is an easy one, the only difficulty being the traffic on the final stretch.


How to reach Pesaro:
From the Coast: Autostrada A14, Pesaro Exit • follow road signs for “mare – Baia Flaminia”
From Inland: (from Rome) Superstrada Fano Grosseto, Fano Exit • Autostrada A14, Pesaro Exit (from Urbino) S.P. 423 road signs for Pesaro • at Pesaro follow road signs for “mare – Baia Flaminia”

Start: The starting point in Pesaro is in the Baia Flaminia quarter, near to the monument on the left bank of the river Foglia as it reaches the sea. There are numerous bars in the vicinity and a fountain near the monument.
km. 0      Baia Flaminia monument. Follow the cycle track on the left bank of the river Foglia in the “mare-monte” direction.
km. 0,7   At the roundabout, turn right for the “Strada Panoramica Adriatica” (S.p. 44). After a set of traffic lights, the road starts to climb.
km. 4,8   Continue straight-on [⬆️170] (left for Villa Imperiale).
km. 13,8 The road enters Fiorenzuola di Focara [⬆️180]. The road is undulating along this stretch.
km. 17,1 The road arrives at a junction, left for the S.S. 16, right for Casteldimezzo. Continue straight on.
km. 20,4 Continue straight-on (on the right, optional turn-off for an enchanting pause at Vallugola).
km. 22    The road enters Gabicce Monte [⬆️125].
km. 22,8 At the stop sign, turn left and down the hill. Gabicce Monte is on the right.
km. 24,6 At the stop sign, turn left towards Gradara.
km. 24,7 At the stop sign, turn right towards Gradara. You are now on the S.S.16 [⬆️17].
km. 25,7 Leave the S.S. 16, turning right towards Gradara.
km. 25,9 At the roundabout, follow the signs for Gradara.
km. 27,4 At the mini-roundabout, go straight-on towards Gradara.
km. 29,2 Gradara [⬆️50].
km. 29,4 Turn left and immediately after turn right towards the town centre “centro”. After 50 m, turn left again following the signs for the town centre “centro”. The road climbs up to the hamlet.
km. 30,2 Entrance to Castello di Gradara [⬆️109]. From here, continue down the same road, this time following the signs for Pesaro.
km. 31,1 Turn left towards Pesaro, “Strada del vino” (brown signpost).
km. 31,5 Turn right following the brown road signs “Strada del vino”.
km. 32,4 After the motorway, leave the ”strada del vino”, turning right towards Pesaro alongside the railway line.
km. 33,2 Turn right into via Babbucce (tunnel under the motorway). The road starts to climb!
km. 35  Babbucce [⬆️131]. After 100 m, at the stop sign, turn left into “strada Croce Babbucce”.
km. 35,2 At the junction, turn right towards Case Bruciate, through S.Germano.
km. 37,1 At the junction, turn left towards Pesaro. Warning: steep downhill with uneven road surface!
km. 38 Keep to the left passing over the motorway.
km. 39,4 Turn right onto S.p. 131 and down the hill.
km. 40    Pesaro signpost. At the roundabout, turn left towards the sea “mare”.
km. 41,1 At the roundabout, go straight-on towards the sea “mare”.
km. 42,6 At the traffic lights, keep to the right towards the sea “mare”.
km. 43,1 Villa Caprile is on the left.
km. 44,8 Turn left onto the road to Baia Flaminia just before the bridge over the river Foglia.
km. 45,4 Roundabout at the end of the port canal. Continue straight-on along the cycle track back to the start point of the tour (Km. 46,1).

tourist information

Parco del San Bartolo
The protected slopes of the hills extend over approximately 1,600 hectares and form a natural park of great interest as regards nature and cultural history. The hills rise to 200 metres above sea level and provide a wide panorama of the coast and the sea. The cliffs form an unusual marine landscape when compared to the usually sandy Adriatic coastline. At the foot of the cliffs there is a narrow stony beach formed by the fragments that have fallen from the cliffs themselves. These stones, called “cogoli” (cobbles) by the locals, were once used to pave the historic centres and the nearby coastal towns. The panoramic road that passes through the park is a must for cyclists. 
Information: Ente Parco S.Bartolo (S.Bartolo Park Authority), tel. 0721 371075.

Villa Caprile
The building, originally constructed (in 1640) for the noble Giovanni Mosca as a summer residence where he could relax and receive guests, was transformed from an aristocratic private villa into public building during the French Revolution when Pesaro was part of the Cisalpine republic. In 1876 it became the home of the Agricultural Training School, and in 1924 was transformed into a Secondary Agricultural School. Today, instead, it houses the Agricultural Institute. The botanical gardens and their eighteenth century fountains can be visited during the summer. 
Information: Villa Caprile, tel. 0721 21440.

Villa Imperiale
The villa was built from 1530 onwards in order to satisfy the most typical needs of the Renaissance courts for a villa life. The building is basically two historic monuments, one built on top of the other at different times and with different architectures: the fifteenth century body of the building was built for Alessandro Sforza and is based on fortification type architecture, while the upper part was commissioned in 1530 to Girolamo Genga by the Della Rovere family. The villa is surrounded by a typical Italian Renaissance garden. Visits to the villa must be booked in advance. 
Information: I.A.T. – Pesaro Tourist Office, tel. 0721 69341.

Gradara ⬆️142 ⬆️15
The fortified town of Gradara stands on a ridge that separates the regions of Romagna and Marche. The Rocca di Gradara, or Gradara Castle, is a magnificent example of twelfth to fourteenth century military architecture, with its commanding position dominating the surrounding territory. The castle was built on the orders of the De Grifo family and was further enlarged and decorated over the centuries by the different nobles who inherited it: the Malatesta, Sforza and Della Rovere families. Today, in addition to its monumental “Rocca”, Gradara also offers visitors its two rings of defensive walls and towers with their restored battlements and parapet walks. The areas between the walls still preserve their ancient houses and the church of S.Giovanni Battista. According to a centuries old legend, it was in the castle where Giovanni Malatesta, also known as ‘Giovanni the Lame’, murdered the lovers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Polenta, immortalised in the well-known verses of Dante Alighieri. 
Information: Tourist Office, tel. 0541 964115.