These are the places I run in Italy, some are local to home some are not, but they all give me something to observe.
All Roads Lead To Rome Road
This is a major trunk road, which has my favourite coffee shop on it, necessitating that I run on it. It is very frightening with thunderous lorries and loads of cars. It does in fact really lead to Rome.
Argo is our friend’s dog and the loop is in fact 3 roads that go around their land. Its mightily steep in places and has had severe landslips from time to time. A road I am always slightly nervous of using.
Bendy, Scary Road
One of the new additions to my regular running route, it’s a wider sweeping road, recently resurfaced so attracts local traffic. Some very nasty blind bends, no pavements, another house with frightening dogs (5 of them). Favoured by cyclists. Babbo Natale spotted here. It reminds me of a long winding staircase.
Runs parallel to the ‘all roads lead to Rome road’. So called because it has a plentiful supply of industrial sized bins down its length. These provide welcome, if somewhat smelly shade when I need it.
Bitch Of A Pitch
This is the most direct road from our house towards the coast. It is frighteningly steep with I think an average gradient of 10% it’s about 3km from top to bottom. One day I will run it without stopping. For the time being, I am happy to run, catch my breath and run again. I consider that still counts as running the bitch!
Named after Mark Cavendish, the British cyclist, who has won many Giro D’Italia Stages. Villa Bali has been a stage many times and this hill has the dates and names of its winners painted on it, including Mr Cavendish, but sadly his painted name has now faded. Towards the bottom I can still see the year 1979, towards the top 2009. It is about .80 of a km and rises 80 metres a 10% gradient. This makes the Hill that Kills, look like a nursery slope.
Hill that Kills
The first uphill section after turning off the Slope of Hope, it includes some olive wood statues and yet another house with barking dogs. I use it as a benchmark of my overall running fitness. The place where I first saw Mr 118 and Heinz 57.
A windy sweeping road of about 5 km in length, I arrive usually in the middle section which is flat then takes you up a sweeping set of bends, finally a downhill section towards the old laundry stones and then towards the village.
One of the approach roads to Villa Bali, a local astronomy museum and hotel. Named Lovers’ Lane because that pretty much sums up what happens there after dark. Very bumpy, full of potholes. Includes a house with yet more barking beagles which make me leap in the air. Usually where I see Anouska and Albino.
A small link road, now one way traffic thank goodness. It has an olive press in it. It is very rough and ready more a track than a road, a mini roller coaster route, with a couple of blind bends.
The combined walking, running and cycling track in Fano. 2.2 km in length has a loop that looks like a wine glass in shape. Although mainly flat, it is utterly unforgiving with no shade. So early or late running is essential. Men in bikinis often seen there in summer.
A short cut between the high hills and the lower valley road it is about a 150m descent with some horrendous gradients, potholes oh and man on a tractor who winked at me once.
Slope of Hope
Usually the first bit of road near my home, so-called because it’s a downhill stretch and one day I hope to run up it one go. Features a nasty bend with nettles, a house with dogs that bark which make me jump.
Slope of No – Hope
Exactly the same as the Slope of Hope, except that this is the uphill version, which I have yet to run. The most important stats are it is 600m in length, with a 30m rise. At its worst point – the bottom – it is a 15% gradient.
War Of The Worlds Lane
A road aimed at pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers and runners. Beautifully quiet, although I suspect it would be a suitable location for an alien abduction. Suspicious road markings appear from time to time, which convinces me they are instructions for the Martians.