The Magna Via Francigena is the most famous path in Sicily. It was not born as a cycle path and even less as a gravel path. The advice is to do it on a mountain bike but if you are a gravel enthusiast and you are not afraid of climbs and very bumpy roads, great! You can start on gravel and enjoy one of the most beautiful itineraries in Sicily. About 200 km with about 9000 meters in altitude for a journey that can also become a moment of encounter with oneself and with one’s limits.
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The Magna Via Francigena is an itinerary that retraces the old communication route which, until recently, was used by the Romans to move from Palermo to Agrigento passing through the interior of Sicily. In particular, the Franks (hence Via Francigena) used it for both commercial and military purposes.
For some years now, the Amici dei Cammini Francigeni di Sicilia Association has been involved in tracing the itinerary and promoting it. Indeed, as was foreseeable, this path has become an important tool for territorial promotion and a famous destination among trekkers and cyclists.
The Sicilian Cyclable Association deals with the mapping and promotion of the “cycle path” part of this itinerary. Every year there are many cyclists who decide to travel the Magna Via Francigena by gravel, mountain bike or e-bike (pedal assisted bicycle).
The Magna Via Francigena was not born as a cycling itinerary but as a path to be done on foot. Ciclabili Siciliane, however, has adapted the itinerary for cycling use for mountain bikes. The gravel bike version is new and still quite demanding.
We recommend this itinerary to those who love slightly advanced gravel and above all those who love cycling on dirt roads, in the middle of nature, away from traffic and among ancient villages of thousands of years.
There is no specific bicycle signage but just follow the pedestrian arrows until they veer off the GPX track which is very accurate.
The Magna Via Francigena by gravel bike is a very demanding itinerary and as such requires considerable preparation. Better to train some time before setting off and keep the bike and luggage as light as possible.
WHICH ACCESSORIES ARE NEEDED?
Given that the accommodations are very cheap and there is a fairly wide choice, the advice is not to bring a tent but to sleep in the affiliated accommodations which are in the centers of the villages where you can stop and relax in the evening to get to know the inhabitants of the place.
WHEN TO LEAVE?
The best months are March, April, May, June, September, October. In the other months the temperatures are never very cold but you risk finding mud.
DO YOU MEET OTHER BICIGRINI?
This itinerary is not yet famous enough to attract large numbers but it is possible to meet other bicigrini along the itinerary. In any case, contact and dialogue with the locals is something not to be missed, perhaps the most beautiful component of the entire Magna Via Francigena by bike.
Palermo is a large city as well as a regional capital therefore it has all the connections that serve by sea, by land and by air. You can decide to send the bike with an express courier, embark it as checked baggage on the plane or bring it as a vehicle on the train or on the ship.
All these means of transport, however, pose a risk to the bicycle which could be damaged or lost. To avoid this risk, we suggest renting a gravel bike or a mountain bike directly in Sicily. By clicking the button below, you can see which bikes are available for hire in Sicily.
In any case, you can easily return to Palermo with the train which leaves several times a day from Agrigento and which includes the transport of bicycles on board
The Wanderer’s Credential is a document that is issued by the Associazione dei Cammini Francigeni di Sicilia and with which it is possible to collect the stamps on the route and to collect the certificate of distance upon arrival in Agrigento. Along the route of the Magna Via Francigena by bicycle, there are various shops, bars, town halls, churches and lodgings that have specific stamps for the wayfarer’s credential.
In the list below, we have collected the links of the accommodation facilities that are equipped with a bicycle shelter. They are not real bike hotels but at least they have reserved a space for bicycles and, sometimes, even some tools for minor repairs.
When you go on a bicycle trip in Sicily, you have to worry about everything except the food. In Sicily, in fact, the culinary tradition is ancient and deeply felt, especially in small villages such as those encountered along the Magna Via Francigena by bicycle. Exploring the culinary side of Sicily by bicycle is one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of cycling in Sicily. You will always find a bar, bakery, restaurant, trattoria or simple tavern where you can eat a hot dish and a Sicilian speciality.
The Magna Via Francigena is not a cycle touring itinerary, therefore it is not a separate cycle path but a route that winds along secondary roads, provincial roads, state roads with little traffic and paths that are never particularly technical. The advice we give, since it is an itinerary designed to be covered on foot, is to use a good quality bicycle that can withstand the vibrations and stresses of a dirt road. If you want to rent a gravel bike in Sicily (or a mountain bike) you can check the rental site of our Bike Rental Sicily partners.
The most widespread and famous symbols of the Magna Via Francigena are:
These signs are present all along the way, scattered everywhere and will always accompany you, giving you courage and determination.
The Magna Via Francigena by bike is a demanding, albeit short, itinerary. Everyone can decide to walk it in as many days as they prefer but we recommend doing it in at least 4 days so as to enjoy the area and the beautiful things it has to offer.
This is one of the toughest stages of the Magna Via Francigena by bicycle since the exit from Palermo takes us over the mountains around the city in a succession of very scenic but also very demanding climbs and descents.
The exit from Corleone, through the terrible Malopasso climb, makes this stage particularly demanding right from the first kilometres. After Malopasso, however, there will be neither climbs nor descents.
Immersed in nature and culture, we enjoy a stage with almost 1500 meters of total elevation gain and some of the most iconic points of the entire Magna Via Francigena by bike.
Compared to the others, this is a restful stage since for the most part it is a downhill stage towards the city of Agrigento, the final destination of the itinerary and the point where we put the last stamp and collect the testimonial which will remain as proof indelible mark of this immense and epic adventure.