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Stage 12 - Cesenatico - Cesenatico

Stage 12

The race is a loop which starts and finishes in Cesenatico, one of the pearls of the Romagna Riviera.

Tappa 12 - Cesenatico-Cesenatico

The town's main attraction is the Porto Canale. Created as a shelter for boats from the nearby city of Cesena, it runs from the historic centre up to the sea. It has the atmosphere of an old fishing village, with pastel-coloured houses overlooking the canal, where you'll find the Maritime Museum – the only floating museum in Italy. The historic sailing boats stand out with their colourful hand-painted sails. The museum also has a section on land which displays objects, documents and tools used by the navy and remnants from the Roman period.

Cycling enthusiasts are drawn to the town's museum Spazio Pantani, dedicated to the life and exploits of the great champion Marco Pantani.


Maritime Museum - Cesenatico

Leaving Cesenatico, we make a stop in Forlimpopoli, town of taste and culture, known for being the birthplace of the famous writer and gastronome Pellegrino Artusi. On the theme of "science in the kitchen and the art of eating well", the first centre of gastronomic culture dedicated to Italian home cooking was founded here: Casa Artusi.

Passatelli Soup, recipe no. 20 by Pellegrino Artusi - Casa Artusi

A short distance away is Cesena, a city of art and culture that experienced an era of extraordinary magnificence while governed by the Malatesta family between 1378 and 1465. During their rule the splendid Piazza del Popolo was built, but above all the fortress called Rocca Malatestiana was rebuilt, dominating the whole city and today one of the best preserved fortifications in all of Romagna. But the city's golden age was under the regency of Malatesta Novello: he was responsible for the design of the Malatestiana Library, the greatest gift left to Cesena. Still completely intact, from the wooden hall to the doors of the entranceway, it is the oldest humanistic-conventual library in Italy, included by UNESCO in the Memory of the World Register.


We add a second detour to visit Forlì, a city of rationalist style to discover by bike along the Maderno itinerary. Forlì retains traces of both the Romanesque and Renaissance periods, which saw Caterina Sforza as the undisputed lady of the city.


Let's return to the race route, where the riders are preparing to face an intense journey that presents a tight succession of climbs and descents on the Romagna Apennines.

After Forlimpopoli, we make a short stop in Bertinoro, a medieval village known as the "balcony of Romagna". Bertinoro is famous for its wines and gastronomy. There are many wineries to visit belonging to the Road of Wines and Flavours of Forlì-Cesena, where you can taste the typical wines, Albana and Sangiovese. The cuisine is full of first courses created by the hands of the "sfogline", who still work the dough with a rolling pin. Prepared on the spot, in the town's various kiosks, you'll find the typical Romagna piadina. It's also worth stopping at Fratta Terme, one of the hamlets of Bertinoro, a place known for the curative properties of its seven thermal springs, which can also be reached from Bertinoro via cycle and pedestrian paths.


Continuing via climbs and descents, we come to Sogliano al Rubicone, famous for producing a cheese ripened in ancient grain pits of Malatestan origin, called Formaggio di Fossa ("cheese of the pit"). Thanks to this particular ripening process, the formaggio di fossa takes on the aromas of wood, truffles and musk. A visit to the Fossa Pellegrini Museum of Formaggio di Fossa lets you experience the descent into a newly opened pit and immerse yourself in the pungent scent of cheese at the end of ripening.

Fossa cheese, Sogliano al Rubicone

After this tasting break, we return to follow the Giro along the Apennines, and once we've crossed the Madonna di Pugliano pass we stop in San Leo. This splendid medieval village, capital of art, mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy, is the fulcrum of the historical region of Montefeltro. Listed as one of the Borghi più Belli d'Italia (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy), it has a beautiful old town with Renaissance and Romanesque buildings.

San Leo

Continuing on the Apennine ridge, you arrive at San Giovanni in Galilea, a hamlet of the Municipality of Borghi, home to the "F. Renzi Archaeological and Naturalistic Museum", one of the oldest museum foundations in Emilia Romagna.

San Giovanni in Galilea

From San Giovanni in Galilea, a very short detour takes you to Verucchio: perched on a rocky hill, it's a fascinating village known as the "cradle of the Malatestas" as the noble family's power began here, thanks to Giovanni della Penna dei Billi (1150-90), known as Il Malatesta. Verucchio was also the hub of the so-called Villanovan civilisation between the 9th and 6th centuries BC. It's interesting to visit the necropolis and the Museum in the Verucchio Archaeological Park. Just outside the town is the Franciscan Convent, which tradition has it was founded by St Francis in 1213. In the convent's cloister stands a colossal cypress 25 m tall, which would have originated from the staff planted and made green by the Saint himself.


We return to the stage route and after reaching Savignano sul Rubicone, the road becomes flat for the last few kilometres.

The race ends in Cesenatico, where it started.

After a long day, the typical dishes of Romagna cuisine can help you regain your energy. Alongside piadina, the specialities are blue Adriatic fish, fresh homemade pasta such as cappelletti and tagliatelle, and bustrengo, a homemade cake with 32 ingredients.

Not to be missed

Since 1300, Faenza has been an important political and cultural meeting point thanks to the ties the local Manfredis were able to establish with the Florence of the Medici. The city's most beautiful monuments overlook the imposing Piazza del Popolo, bordered by two arcaded wings overlooked by the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo Municipale, and Piazza della Libertà, with the late 15th-century Cathedral and the Fontana Maggiore. Other points of interest in the historic centre include the 18th-century Palazzo Milzetti, featuring interiors decorated with refined neoclassical tempera, the elegant Teatro Masini and the Pinacoteca.
Faenza is home to the International Museum of Ceramics, which houses pieces from all geographical origins and every historical period, with a rich section dedicated to Faenza's Renaissance ceramics. In 2011, UNESCO awarded the museum the title of "Monument testifying a culture of peace". This recognition is assigned to artistic or natural places which, thanks to the richness of the values they bear witness to, can contribute to building a culture of peace.

Museum of Ceramics - Faenza


By bike

Emilia Romagna by bicycle

For those who want to travel in contact with nature, Emilia Romagna is a region rich in ad hoc itineraries and cycle paths along the Po Delta Park, down to Ferrara, Ravenna and Cesena, up to the natural oasis of the Saline di Cervia salt pans.

Virtual 2020 Giro d'Italia: the stages of Cesenatico

We suggest a couple of cycling routes in the area covered by stage 12 of the Giro.
The Mini Nove Colli 

The Mini Nove Colli

Don't be fooled by the name: covering 135 km and a 2,600 m height difference, the Mini Nove Colli is a route for experienced cyclists. The itinerary, however, holds some wonderful surprises. Starting from Bellaria, on the coast, you continue inland, taking in Savignano sul Rubicone, Sogliano al Rubicone and Mercato Saraceno, from where the hard 5 km climb "del Barbotto" begins. From here you go down to Novafeltria and then up again towards San Leo, one of the Borghi Più Belli d'Italia, known in particular for the fortress that dominates the Montefeltro area from atop a dizzying cliff. The itinerary continues to San Marino and passes through Santarcangelo di Romagna (mentioned in the description of stage 11). The last 20 km are a welcome rest for the legs after the previous climbs. At this link you can download the map and the GPX itinerary.

Mappa della Mini Nove Colli

Pantani and the Romagna piadina

The 61 km route "To the altars of Romagna", with almost no difference in height, starts and ends in Rimini, passing through Santarcangelo and Cesenatico. Here, don't miss a stop to visit Spazio Pantani, a multimedia museum that traces the career of the cycling champion Marco Pantani, nicknamed the Pirate, and to taste the real Romagna piadina. It's no coincidence that this itinerary is also known as "Pantani and the Romagna piadina".
At this link you can download the map and the GPX itinerary.

Mappa del percorso

All the information, itineraries, maps and GPX files for a cycling holiday in Emilia Romagna are available at this link.