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Pine forest bicycle path

Pine forest bicycle path
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Castelfusano from the train to the forest

The pine forest of Castelfusano is one of the largest urban parks of Rome: with its 1160 hectars of public green area, is just perfect for the lovers of open air activities all year round. For this reason the almost entirely pedestrians area is the ideal choice for the entusiasts of ciclyng.

One of the main advantages is the possibility to reach the forest by train: the Roma-Lido light railway stops at “Castelfusano” and at its terminus “Cristoforo Colombo”.
Reaching the forest from the first stop (Castelfusano) is perfectly safe, while from the second (Cristoforo Colombo), is ride along a short chunk (about 150 m) of via Cristoforo Colombo, before entering the green area.

On the Roma-Lido light railway is possible to carry a bicycle. Some rules have to be observed, though: the first car has to be used and only during a specific schedule; on all holidays and all Saturdays at Summer time (i.e.: May 1st to Sept. 30th), while on working days, the bicycles can be carried along between the start of the train service (i.e.: about 05:30 am) and 12:30 pm, then from 08:00 pm to the end of the service (i.e.: about 00:00 am) traveling to “Cristoforo Colombo”.
Going to Rome city centre instead, is possible to carry a bicycle between the start of the train service (i.e.: about 05:30 am) and 07:00 am, then from 10:30 am to 01:00 pm then again from 04:00 pm till the end of the service (i.e.: about 00:00 am).

Castelfusano Station – once left the station, the access to the pedestrians area and the bicyle path is to your right. You can ride along via Giuseppe Renato Bellot, but bear in mind that at the end of the road you’ll have to get past a short stairway. Alternatively you can stay on your ride by just riding along a short chunk of via della Stazione di Castelfusano  then turning right along via dei Sandolini then turn right again on viale Mediterraneo: this is definitely the best access to the forest: a straight road about 1 Km long, restricted to traffic (exception made for the emergency and public safety vehicles). After about 200 meters the bicycle path allows to proceed straight on or turn along via del Gran Pavese, anyways on a tarmac paved road.
For whom love a bit more spiced ride, several trails spread both from viale Mediterraneo and from via del Gran Pavese: the terrain is mixed dirt and sand and go deep into the woods. Leaving the beach on your back, if you choose to enter from the Western side of the area, after a few hundreds meters you are on the left shore of the Canale dello Stagno (Canale dei Pescatori, the Fishermen’s canal), while on the Eastern shore the trails eventually reach via Cristoforo Colombo (the Eastern perimeter of the area).

After about 1 Km, viale Mediterraneo crosses viale della Villa di Plinio. Pay close attention here: the road is open to car traffic in this area; but as you get past the cross road and proceed along viale Mediterraneo, you are again deep into an amazing reserved to runners and bicycles green area. In front of you there’s Villa Sacchetti – Chigi a beautiful fortified mansion ordered by Cardinal Giulio Sacchetti (owner of the estate and initiator of the pine forest that characterizes this area) in XVII century (17th century) on a project by Pietro da Cortona. The mansion is still private: acquired by the Government of Rome in 1933 was meant to be destined entirely as a public green area, if Prince Francesco Chigi didn’t want to keep the possession of the building as well as 33 hectars of the forest. This definitely makes for an interesting Cultural itinerary.

Continuing with the bicycle itinerary, slightly on your right there’s viale del Circuito. It is now mostly a dirt road, with an interesting story to tell: its name comes from 1954 when this path (properly paved, though) was the stage of the first Motor Grand Prix of Rome, destined to several categories of motor vehicles, including the most prestigious Formula One. After about 2 Km the path joins via Cristoforo Colombo: from this point, turning left, a bicycle path heads safely to the traffic light on via Canale della Lingua, from where the residential district of Casal Palocco is easily reachable.

If instead, at the crossroad between viale Mediterraneo and viale della Villa di Plinio, you turn right, after a few hundreds meters you’ll exit from the forest and encounter the Canale dello Stagno (Canale dei Pescatori, Fishermen’s canal). After having crossed the the bridge, at the traffic light, the ciclying path continues along the left side of via di Castelfusano that joins via del Mare right next to Ostia Antica. On the right side of the road there’s the residential area of “Maison du Parc”, lively with open air activities such as, a canine agility school, an adventure park, a didactic farm with animals.
This section of bicycle path is quite long and definitely safe to ride along. On the opposite side of the road there’s the Roma Capitol Camping Village (swimming pools and entertainment are also available to visitors) and continuing along the road the sports complex owned by Francesco Totti’s family (who still represents an icon in international soccer and a living symbol of calcio for the city of Rome).

In the last part of the bicycle path there are several points where to cross road that allow access to the commercial areas (supermarkets, restaurants and shops) located on the right side of the road. Pay close attention here to people crossing, specially to kids. You are now right next to the burial grounds of Ostia Antica, near the area known as Pianabella and the church of St. Ercolano and on the opposite side of via del Mare from the Archeological Park of Ostia Antica. If you wish to proceed, please cross at the traffic light, paying close attention to car traffic there.

VisitOstia - pineta di Castelfusano
  • Length: the whole itinerary to Casal Palocco: 5340 meters.
    From the station to Plinius’ Villa 1780 meters, from Plinius’ Villa to via del Circuito 2150 meters, from via del Circuito to via del Canale della Lingua 890 meters, from via del Canale della Lingua to Casal Palocco 520 meters.
  • Addresses: via della Stazione di Castelfusano, via dei Sandolini, viale Mediterraneo, via Villa di Plinio, via del Circuito, via Cristoforo Colombo.
  • Level of alert: Average, crossing the road to via della Villa di Plinio can be risky due to high car traffic.
  • Terrain type: tarmac and dirt
  • Difficulty: Easy, light slope while crossing the overpass over the railway. Mostly flat ground.
  • Safety: safe for most of the path.
  • Where to park a car:
    Free parking area infront of via della Stazione di Castelfusano and viale Mediterraneo..

Cristoforo Colombo station – as you leave the station, the entrance to Castelfusano park is to your right. Ride your bicycle along via Guido Boggiani then via Valladolid to reach piazzale Cristoforo Colombo (better known as la Rotonda). From there turn left to ride along the side road of via Cristoforo Colombo going towards Rome: after about 100 meters, right after the bridge over the railway, to the right there’s an entrance to the pine forest.
This is via di Castelporziano where your tour starts. Riding along, after a few hundreds meters you’ll encounter a crossroad:

proceeding straight ahead on the dirt road, after about 1 Km to the right and left is clearly visible the stone-paved via Severiana that used to be the coast road at the roman-imperial age, which connected Ostia to other towns of the Southern coast of Latium.

Turning right at the crossroad instead, you’ll be riding along via della Villa di Plinio, a long straight road (partially paved with tarmac) that eventually reaches an interesting archeological area. Getting past the watchtower and the garrison belonging to the Guardia Forestale (green areas control authority) you’ll find a fenced sector where the remainings of Plinius’ Villa are clearly visible: that is an ancient villa of roman age, that was mistakenly identified as the one of Plinius the young basing on a letter sent to his friend Gallo, in which he described the beautiful building and surroundings. Actually, this ruins are more likely to belong to Villa della Palombara, possibly owned by Quinto Ortensio Ortalo (114 b.C. to 50 b.C.), a very famous roman speaker, friend to Cicerone. In this location via della Villa di Plinio forks proceeding along via del Lido di Castelporziano (to the left) or via Litoranea (to the right, the road connecting Ostia to Anzio) .

VisitOstia - pineta di Castelfusano
  • Length: 5600 meters
  • Average time needed: 31’40”
  • Calories: 291 kcal
  • Addresses: via Guido Boggiani, via Valladolid, piazzale Cristoforo Colombo, via Cristoforo Colombo, via di Castelporziano, via villa di Plinio.
  • Level of alert: High, riding along a chunk about 150 meters long of via Cristoforo Colombo (open to car traffic) is necessary to reach the entrance to the forest.
  • Terrain type: tarmac and dirt
  • Difficulty: Easy, light slope while crossing the overpass over the railway. Mostly flat ground.
  • Safety: safe for most of the path
  • Where to park a car:
    free parking area on piazzale Amerigo Vespucci and along lungomare Amerigo Vespucci.

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