Emilia Romagna boasts a great variety of cycle routes immersed in nature: along the sea, rivers, natural oases and the countryside in the hinterland. Here are five ideal itineraries for a slow and very green holiday. They are suitable for everyone and also a chance to enjoy the excellent food and wine of the area. Stages of the Giro d'Italia will also pass through these places.
An itinerary along the last 100 km of the River Po down to the sea, between fortresses, mills, castles and river ports. We set off from the Neolithic settlement of Stellata di Bondeno, with Rocca Possente and Casa Ariosto, today home to the Archaeological Museum. After passing the spectacular Mulino sul Po, the symbol of traditional water mills from the last century, we reach the fork where the Po Delta begins. Cycling between reeds and marshes as far as the evocative village of Mesola and the Estense Castle, the gateway to the Gran Bosco della Mesola nature reserve and the protected Dune Deer. The fishing port of Goro is the final destination where you can discover the natural environment of the Delta, not without having savoured a typical dish of spaghetti with local clams.
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A 42-km cycle path in the rural landscape of the plains around Bologna once dense with marshes, linking the city and the Po Delta Regional Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - passing through villages, museums and historic villas. Along the way, it is well worth visiting the Museum of Villanovan Civilization in Castenaso with finds of its Etruscan origins, the Museum of the Ocarina Flute in Budrio, where this wind instrument originated, and the Villas of Bagnarola in the surrounding countryside. The point of arrival are the Biotopes and Environmental Restoration Sites of Medicina and Molinella, taking us into the Po Delta Nature Reserve, near the characteristic XV century village of Selva Malvezzi. The itinerary is suitable for everyone, since it is mostly level over paved and short unpaved roads.
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A ride from the nature oases and archaeological areas of the Comacchio Valleys to Valmarecchia, in the hinterland of the Romagna Region dominated by the ancient Roman remains in Rimini, such as the Arch of Augustus and the Bridge of Tiberius. The itinerary unwinds through countryside, Mediaeval villages, bell towers and vineyards before arriving in Novafeltria, home to the Perticara Mine Museum testifying to the work of miners. A stop in Ravenna - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is a must, crossing the River Reno by ferry to see its precious Byzantine mosaics and then on to the Mediaeval village of Bertinoro, known as the Balcony of Romagna given its spectacular panoramic view.
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Three separate cycling itineraries that can also be combined thanks to adjacent locations along the Romagna Riviera - with a detour into the nearby hinterland. The first two start from Rimini and pass through famous seaside resorts: to the north as far as Cesenatico - where the Spazio Pantani multimedia museum dedicated to the racing cyclist is worth a visit -, Gatteo, Bellaria, Torre Pedrera and Viserba, or to the south to Cattolica, Gabicce Mare, Pesaro and Fano, in the Marches Region. The third route leaves Riccione into the hinterland along the Sangiovese Circuit, between the vineyards of the famous DOC wine and the wine cellars where you can enjoy tastings accompanied by traditional piadina Romagnola. The routes are fine for everyone: easy-going, straight and superbly scenic.
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The scenery through the Casentinesi forests extending from Romagna to the Marches and Tuscany is unspoiled and spectacular. From the village of Bagno di Romagna - renowned for its healthy spa waters which are well worth trying - the bike tour crosses ridges and river valleys, remote villages and beech woods, bridges and mills, castles and sanctuaries. The trip culminates in a full immersion in the majestic National Park of the Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna Forests and their sublime and spectacular nature. The route is rather challenging at times because of its climbs, descents and mule tracks but the village of Premilcuore and the scenic Alfero Waterfall and its trout are worth a visit.
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