ConTOUR FVG it's an amazing trail: a 9 days scheduled travel on the perimeter of Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Additionally are there some kilometers in Slovenia state and Veneto region, over running along Italy-Austria borderline at South side of Coglians Mount Group.
The crossed territories variety is really wide: the nature page reports a short but overall description. In 9 days by bike you pass through a lot of environments, such as sandy coast, Carso - high and rocky coast, plain and Collio, full of vineyard hills. After you arrive to Pedemontana, the begin of the mountains, increasing elevation biking on Giulie Alps and Carniche Alps: different space for structure but similar for their common beauty and contained wood and lawn habitat. Unforgivable view of the peaks which ConTOUR FVG passes along during these 9 days.
The return begins in the Cadore area, territory famous for Dolomites, reaching after Cansiglio Forest and descending to Meduna and Cellina Magredi. In a few kilometers you arrive to risorgive, proceeding so to Marano Lagoon and reaching, finally, the starting point, close to the sea.
Moreover, the itinerary travels a lot of historical regional cities, covering the last two millenniums gap of time. This story is too long to report it here, so there is a dedicated page: ConTOUR FVG History. Everything began with sailors story, that you can see all across the first day, visiting Grado, Duino and Opicina. So you go on Carso, land of First World War battles, arriving after to the hills area, a book of ancient stories, that you can visit in Rosazzo and Cividale del Friuli, Unesco city. You reach then the mountains, where the history is restricted to the last century due to an harder life compared to what visited the days before. Going out of Dolomites you pass across the city of Longarone, location of Vajont tragedy, passing after beside the lake. You return therefore to the plain passing across the historical town of Polcenigo, Valvasone - screen of medieval history, and Villa Manin - wonderful building of Venice empire, ending the travel with a mandatory break at Aquileia, where you can visit ruins, museum and a well kept dome of roman empire.
The tour's starting point is close to Grado city harbor, in Gorizia province. You travel before on the shore, moving after inlands, with beach on the right and lagoon on the left. You arrive so to Isola della Cona Natural Reserve, outlet of Isonzo River in the Adriatic Sea. Going on, you quickly reach the uphills toward Carso hills, an high and rocky coast some hundreds of meters up to the sea below, in the province of Trieste.
Biking always at high elevation you pass around the city reaching the famous and gorgeous Rosandra Valley through the Cottur bike path. You pass for a while the Slovenian borderline, coming back again to Italin Carso soon, traveling in North direction in the inland zone and not on the coast, as done before.
The second day travels inside Carso zone, aiming to North. The path is parallel to the borderline with Slovenia, in a hill/mount environment, coming back after to the middle of the region. At Carso hills you return to Gorizia province, passing across lands of the First World War. You reach so the plain and after Cormons town, surrounded by vineyard. You are again in a hills area; one of the best places to visit is Rosazzo Abbey. In countryside you will go on in North direction, heading to mountains, getting into the Udine province and arriving to Cividale del Friuli, an Unesco historical town with Celtic and Lombards roots.
At the third day you proceed into Natisone Valleys, up to Pulfero town. So the uphill begins in Joanaz Mount direction. That mountain is not so high compared to surrounding mounts, but it gives anyway a very nice view on Friuli plain for more than one time during the day. The track doesn't reach the top of the mount but it rides on the East and after North side, crossing Prealpi Giulie with uphills and descents, reaching finally the Alta Val del Torre Valley. Some kilometers more on a road along the Torre Stream created canyon arriving to Pian dei Ciclamini, end of the third stage.
The fourth day involves, on tarmac, the uphill to Tanamea Pass, a descent to Uccea village and the following uphill to Carnizza Saddle. Therefore, you get into Resia Valley and the main descent starts: amazing for slope, straight parts and curves, in addition to the granted panorama. Arrived to the end of the valley you pass in the Resiutta town and turn right taking the Alpe Adria bike path, a railway some years ago. This has a low slope, beautiful views to rivers, waterfalls and bridges, more than a parking area.
After seeing from the top the nice Fella River, you get into Dogna town, where you leave the bike path to begin the uphill on tarmac road toward Sompdogna Saddle. About 18km flaked by faces, woods, gravelly and the North side of Jôf di Montasio Mount on the right. The peak, 2753m high, stands above Italian Giulie Alps. Arrived to Sompdogna Saddle, some few minutes on dirt road to reach Grego Refuge, destination of the fourth stage.
At the Grego Refuge starts the descent of the fifth day, initially on a trail and after on a dirt road in Saisera Valley, where the valley floor is surrounded by the huge peaks of Jôf's Group, that can be seen from the Tarvisiano Forest. Arrived to the Valbruna village you return to the Alpe Adria bike path, going down to Pontebba town. There starts a new uphill on tarmac road to Cason di Lanza Saddle. The road is really low traveled. The high slope is repaid by the gorgeous landscapes to the mountains around: Zermula Mount with the side tower Zuc della Guardia and Creta di Aip Mount.
The sixth day is the more demanding stage: the first part goes from Cason di Lanza Saddle to Paularo town along a descent on tarmac road, after there is an uphill to Ligosullo village and a cross on dirt road up to Paluzza town, in Carniche Alps environment. You go ahead on secondary roads passing around the town and moving to the tarmac way to Monte Croce Carnico Pass, on a mix of main and secondary roads.
Beyond the Timau town starts the dirt road uphill toward Marinelli Refuge. At the begin is inside the wood, passing after to huts lawn. The road has high slope along the South side of Coglians Mount Group, borderline between Italy and Austria.
Once done a small transverse there is the last uphill, two big 180 degree turn on a wide trail: latest 100m of elevation gain for reaching Morarêt Fork - Marinelli Refuge, 2122m, the maximum altitude in ConTOUR FVG tour.
The following day, the seventh stage, starts with the descent from the Marinelli Refuge to Tolazzi Refuge along a dirt road; after on tarmac down to Forni Avoltri town. There starts a mix of dirt and tarmac road and trail that brings to Cima Sappada town where, again, you return on dirt road inside Dolomites' lawn and wood at the North side of Siera Mount and Clap Grant Mount in Veneto region.
Beyond the Sappada town there is the amazing Orrido dell'Acquatona, that you cross on a wood bridge: need to stop! After you will do ten kilometers in descent.
Sequentially you will ride beside the Piave River and Tudaio Lake in Cadore on an old secondary tarmac road. Some few kilometers on a main road to reach the bike path alongside Centro Cadore Lake, with the surrounding wonderful peaks of Dolomites. You will arrive so to Longarone town; there restarts the uphill on tarmac in Vajont Lake direction. The slope is middle and constant, a wide road that let you arrive soon at Vajont Valley. Staying on tarmac road you pass the Erto village arriving to Sant'Osvaldo Saddle, starting the fast descent to Cimolais town.
In the eighth day you go down on a tarmac road to Barcis Lake, riding beside Cellina Stream and the surrounding mountains. Arrived to the lake you will turn right proceeding on a foot and bike bridge on the lake to reach the begin of the tarmac uphill with straight parts and 180 degree turns toward the Piancavallo town along Caltea Valley. Arrived to Piancavallo touristic town you will go on along the panoramic way of Cansiglio Forest, with nice landscape on the plain and the sea. So there is the descent down to the valley floor, always keeping a nice view to the whole land that will be run the following stage. Arrived to Polcenico historical town you will proceed arriving to Roveredo in Piano on dirt roads, now in plain.
The ninth stage, planned as the end of the tour - arrival of the ConTOUR FVG, crosses the provinces of Pordenone, Udine and finally Gorizia, arriving to the starting tour point in Grado city. A long series of parts on tarmac road and bike paths brings to the crossing of Meduna and Cellina Streams gravel in the magredi environment. You pass after through the Valvasone historical town and the vineyards around the road toward the bridge on Tagliamento River. Soon after you will visit the venetian Villa Manin; reaching the risorgive area. This will be traveled on dirt roads, unforgivable for environment and fauna. The track passes after to lagoon area and historical tows, connected by the international bike path Alpe Adria. This trail drives to Aquileia town, where you can leave it to visit the city historical center, Unesco heritage. Really impressive, it's impossible to avoid for its beauty, majesty, quality and especially the history that illustrate. The track leaves Aquileia center and returns to the bike path alongside Marano Lagoon, arriving quickly to Grado city.
ConTOUR FVG is a 9 day path that let you ride all the outline border of Friuli Venezia Giulia region along a mix of tarmac, dirt roads, trails and bike path. The track passes through a lot of historical towns, amazing natural environments and, above all, unforgivable panorama landscapes.
June and September are the best compromise between climate - that is temperature, rain or snow - and accessibility - that is the traffic on the roads and the mountain crowd - to realize 700 km long tour with 12'000 m of elevation gain.