- Cycle Tourism
- Active & Green
Val Seriana, from Ranica to Clusone
For more than a century, the Val Seriana has been a place of work with little time for leisure.
From 1884, a railway line just over 34 kilometres long, with gradual gradients and wide bends, travelled up the valley and formed the main means of transport for manufactured goods and minerals, above all zinc, lead and silver-bearing galena. The train also carried passengers travelling to Clusone, the gateway to the Presolana Mountains.
In the 1960s, after the old railway line was closed, little by little the route was made into a cycle path, like many disused railway lines all over Europe. The path runs along the banks of the River Serio, connected by tensile structure crossings for bicycles, with short branches leading to the centre of the towns and villages along the route.
The path starts from Ranica, 7 kilometres north-east of Bergamo, easy to reach in around 15 minutes from the train station in Bergamo if you load your bike onto the electric tramway. The cycle path initially travels along the left bank of the River Serio. At Ranica, there is a historical cotton mill with adjacent housing for the workers, characterised by balconies running continuously along each floor. At Alzano, however, it is not possible to ignore the first major heritage of the valley’s industrial past. Soaring out of all proportion, in fact, are the six gigantic smoke stacks of the former cement factory built in 1833 and shut down in 1966.
At Albino, a medieval stone bridge crosses the river: here the smoke stacks that can be seen belong to another historical textile factory. The path continues along the right-hand side of the River Serio as far as Cene, where a fine public park overlooks the bend in the river. If you wish to take a detour you can cycle up to the Palaeontological Park in the upper part of the town where, amongst other exhibits, you can see a perfectly preserved skeleton of the oldest pterosaur in the world.
At Colzate, the cycle path returns to the right bank of the river and stays there. The valley narrows, towns and villages become rarer, the vegetation becomes denser and you begin to smell mountain air. After the narrow stretch, the massive profile of the Presolana appears. You leave behind the dirt path and from here onwards you pedal on paved surfaces.
At Ponte Nossa, where the Nossana torrent flows into the River Serio, a bridge once again crosses the river. The cycle path continues along the opposite side and begins to gradually climb. In front of the former railway station at Ponte della Selva a rest area has been set up for cyclists, with benches, tables and a welcome drinking fountain. After going through a short tunnel, there are only 4.5 kilometres to cycle until the point of arrival. The cycle path continues through spacious meadows. An incline, while not too challenging, makes you stand on your pedals, off your saddle.
Another kind of dance awaits you at Clusone, on the wall of the Oratorio dei Disciplini, next to the Chiesa Madre. It is the famous Dance of Death, frescoed by an unknown artist in AD 1485. However, it is not really so very scary: at the end of a bike ride, you will certainly be more fit than the skeletal courtly dancers.
One day route
Difficulty: for all cyclists
Length: 31 km
Elevation profile: 340 m
Roads: dirt road as far as Ponte Nossa, then paved
Type of bike: touring with gear change, road and mountain bikes
When: from April to October