Guided cycling tour
Emilia Romagna, known to be the Italian region with the best food, offers many of Italy’s finest Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) products: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Parma ham, DOCG classified wines, hand-made stuffed pasta such as ravioli, tortellini and lasagna. An easy cycling journey through this area will let you enjoy these specialties onsite directly from the producers, while the dinners of the tour will include extraordinary local dishes prepared according to the tradition. At the same time, during the tour you can experience the art and history of the area and explore its castles and heritage villages dating back to the Ducal period when this region flourished in extraordinary art. The fil rouge of this trip is the Via Emilia, the road built by the Romans in 187 B.C. and crossing the region from east to west, which gave rise to important cities such as Bologna, Modena and Parma at a time when the greatest Italian artists and architects worked in this area. You will firstly discover Parma, with the Cathedral and Abbess Room displaying Correggio’s frescoes. Then Modena with its preserved medieval center and Romanesque Cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage Site. And finally Bologna, the capital of the region, rich in palaces and medieval towers. This city will charm you with its unique atmosphere and its 40 km of Medieval and Renaissance porticoes. On this tour you will encounter a hard-working region where everything reflects the Italian savoir vivre: the preservation of historical and artistic heritage, the taste for good food and the love for refined music, from Verdi’s Opera to Pavarotti.
Total distance 296 km Day 1: Parma Individual arrive in Parma. Take the time to visit the city center, where you will find masterpieces of art, open green spaces, and treasures from across the ages. Welcome meeting at 6pm: initial briefing for the group and bike delivery. Typical dinner in a trattoria and overnight in Parma. Day 2: Parma – Parmigiano tasting – Fontanellato – Parma (57 km) After breakfast we'll cycle through the countryside along partially paved lanes and past the Charterhouse of Paradigna, a Cistercian Abbey which was celebrated by Stendhal through his novel The Charterhouse of Parma. In San Secondo Parmense, we'll have the chance to visit a caseificio (cheese factory), where authentic Parmesan cheese is produced. Parmigiano Reggiano, one of the most ancient cheeses, is still produced with the same traditional process of eight centuries ago. Don’t miss the tasting! After having learned how "the King of cheeses" is produced, we'll continue towards Fontanellato and the mighty fortified house of Rocca San Vitale. In the afternoon, we'll cycle back to Parma and have dinner in a typical trattoria. Overnight at the hotel in Parma. Day 3: Parma – Torrechiara – Parma ham tasting – Reggio Emilia (62 km) Are you ready to learn how Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham) is produced? Parma’s delicate flavor, slightly salty with a fragrant aroma, is the result of the specific climate conditions in which this ham is dried and aged. The afternoon will be dedicated to castle hopping: a cycling journey across the countryside will take us first to the superb and very well-preserved Castle of Torrechiara, then to Montechiarugolo Castle, which was part of the Estense Family’s feud until the beginning of the 18th century. The fitting end to such a day will be a ride in the heart of Reggio Emilia, enjoying the beautiful buildings and churches of the old town. Dinner in a typical trattoria, overnight at the hotel in Reggio Emilia. Day 4: Reggio Emilia – Carpi – Modena (57 km) The first stop of the day will be in Correggio, a small Renaissance court bearing the name of the famous painter born here. During the rest of the morning, we’ll ride through the vineyards of Lambrusco di Santa Croce DOP on our way to Carpi, pearl of the Renaissance and ancient home to the Pio family. Final destination of this stage: Modena. This city offers extraordinary beauty concentrated in the graceful historic center. UNESCO has acknowledged the universal value of the city's monumental treasures by designating the Cathedral (Duomo), Piazza Grande, and the Ghirlandina Tower a World Heritage Site. You are free for dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Modena. Day 5: Modena – Balsamic Vinegar tasting – Vignola – Castelvetro – wine tasting – Modena – gnocco e tigelle dinner (65 km) After breakfast, we’ll cycle from Modena to Spilamberto following a cycle path built on the old railway line. We’ll stop along the way to visit an ancient Acetaia where authentic Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is produced. This vinegar, protected under the European PDO system, can only be produced in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where local grapes and semi-continental climate create the right and unique conditions necessary to the creation of such a noble product. After the visit, we’ll continue to Vignola, the city of cherries and Torta Barozzi (a local chocolate cake made out of a secret recipe); we’ll savor a slice of it at the Caffè-Pasticceria Gollini and take a stroll to the mighty castle offering an amazing view of the surrounding landscape from the towers. We’ll then continue cycling on secondary country roads up to the town of Castelvetro renowned for PDO Lambrusco Grasparossa wine. We’ll enjoy a tasting at a local winery. After passing the small town of Formigine, we’ll get back to Modena. The last stop of this rich day will be at Luciano Pavarotti’s House Museum. Dinner will be at a local trattoria to experience the typical dish gnocco e tigelle. Overnight at the hotel in Modena. Day 6: Modena – Nonantola – Bologna – cooking lesson (55 km) After breakfast, we’ll start riding on the cycle path leading us out of the city of Modena and to the river Secchia; we’ll continue our journey along the quiet river banks, through countryside and vineyards. The first stop will be in Nonantola to visit the Territorial Abbey of Nonantola dating back to the 12th century. This Romanesque masterpiece lies along the Via Romea Nonantolana, a pilgrims route to Rome since the year 1000. Before heading to Bologna, we will stop for a tasting at local wine cellar and private museum, with a motor section including some F1 cars. During our farewell evening we will all partecipate to a cooking lesson, during which you’ll learn how to prepare some Bolognese typical dishes. At the end of the lesson, we’ll eat together what we’ll have prepared! Overnight at the hotel in Bologna. Day 7: Bologna After breakfast, end of services. Individual departure from Bologna. If you have time, we suggest you to take a walk in the beautiful city center, famous for the network of nearly 40 km of arcades, the longest in the world. Nicknamed The Learned one, because of the old University tradition and The Fat one for its rich food legacy, the city of Bologna is also a UNESCO Creative City of Music. It has one of the largest and most well-preserved medieval historical centers filled with restaurants, taverns, theaters and shops. If you are in for a treat, indulge yourself with a slice of mortadella and a glass of Pignoletto wine, the best way to end your trip.
Grading : easy to moderate Terrain: flat to hilly terrain with some gentle climbs and descents. Average length of stage: 57 to 74 km per day. Roads: 90% roads (tarmac, cycle ways, paved roads), 10% unsurfaced roads (dirt roads, unpaved roads). Difference levels:
Number of participants: minimum 6
Luggage transport: yes
Suitable for children: yes, over 13 years old
Rental bikes NEW for 2019: 24 speeds aluminum unisex bikes (for up to 175 cm) or diamond frame bikes (for 175 cm and above), disc brakes, front suspension, anti-puncture tires, gel saddle, ergonomic handlebar grips, lateral pannier bag, handlebar bag. Helmets available for hire € 15.00 (to be booked in advance and paid locally). Rental contact to be signed on the spot. The Briefing will be on Day 1 at 6 p.m. We will meet you at the hotel to deliver the bikes (if rented) and provide general information.
Beginning of the tour: Parma. No cycling tour is planned for this day.
Parking: private garage 300 meters from the Hotel, the cost is about € 12/day per car.
End of the tour: Bologna, after breakfast
Return transfer: at the end of the circuit you can go back to Parma by train (approximately 1h15, price is appr. 8€ per person); if you bring your own bikes, note that many regional trains will allow your bike onboard with payment of a small supplement.
Dietary requirements: if you have food intolerance / allergies or other food problems, please let us know.
Animals: not accepted.
|Difference in height, in ascent||x||-||450||-||350||-||x|
|Difference in height, in descent||x||-||450||-||350||-||x|
Duration: 7 days/6 nights (5 cycling days)
Departures: 2019: 22/09/2019, 06/10/2019
|Price per person||€|
|Price per person – min 6 participants||1200|
|Suppl. minimum 4 participants||90|
|Suppl. single room||180|
|Suppl. bike rental||90|
|Suppl. E-bike rental||200|
By plane: Bologna airport; you can check international connections and flight schedule at http://www.bologna-airport.it. Nearby airports are Milan and Parma: both offer shuttle service to the railway station. By car: itineraries available at http://www.google.com/maps. By train: many train connections possible between Parma, Bologna and Milan. Timetables and reservation at http://www.trenitalia.com .