Sunday on the Mincio cycle path
The Mincio cycle path is perfect for the whole family
The Ciclabile del Mincio (Mincio cycle path), a section of the wider EV7 Ciclopista del Sole (Sunshine Cycle Path) connecting the North Cape with Malta, is among the most beautiful in northern Italy.
Its moderate gradients and accurate signposting make it suitable for all age groups, the ideal destination for families and those who enjoy spending a day outdoors taking healthy exercise.
The track is bi-directional, completely surfaced and isolated from car traffic, and can be covered in about 4 hours, passing through the morainic hills, a landscape of great natural beauty, and charming mediaeval villages.
From Peschiera del Garda to Borghetto sul Mincio
The ride along the Mincio cycle route, known as the longest 'green motorway' in Italy, begins in Peschiera del Garda.
Following what was once the route of the old Mantova-Peschiera railway, in operation from 1934 to 1967 and of which you can still see the building at Salionze, you ride the first 15 km through the Alto Mincio area.
From the fortress town of Peschiera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can take the cycle route at two points: at Via Valeggio, partially skirting the SR249, or at Via Campo Sportivo, near Porta Brescia and the old town centre. But before hopping into the saddle, you must visit Peschiera, a village on Lake Garda surrounded by Venetian walls with a five-tower defence system.
Once you reach the bank of the Mincio River by bike, just follow the cycle path that will take you first to Ponti sul Mincio, famous for its Forte Ardietti, then to Monzambano, whose church of San Michele dominates the valley from above.
Next, you come to Valeggio sul Mincio, a town of art that has been awarded the prestigious Orange Flag by the Touring Club due to its narrow streets, historic villas and Scaligero Castle. Finally, you arrive at Borghetto sul Mincio, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Here, it is worth making a stop: the charm of history and ancient mills blends with that of nature, where you can also enjoy birdwatching on the water.
From Borghetto to Massimbona
Leave Borghetto and continue for about 12 km along the b towards Pozzolo, a small village on the left bank of the river, where you will see other ancient water-powered mills.
Continue on to Volta Mantovana, a characteristic mediaeval village at the foot of Palazzo Gonzaga.
At this point, take the turning and visit the village of Massimbona: here you will admire one of the oldest mills, dating back as far as the 13th-14th centuries and located next to a beautiful little church, the Romanesque Oratory of San Pietro.
From Massimbona to Mantua
You have almost reached the finish line, the last 18 km or so remain to be covered.
From Massimbona, cycle towards Mantua. Before you reach your destination, you will make some very interesting stops.
The first is at the Parco delle Bertone, a forest-garden typical of the Romantic period, with a thousand trees and white storks. This is an enchanted place where the arrangement of plants creates delightful panoramic views, with plays of light and colour that vary from season to season.
The second stop will be at Grazie di Curtatone, on a small promontory amidst reeds and marshes, in the village known for its Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary, the ancient armoury and the Fiera delle Grazie (Fair of Graces) on Ferragosto day with the Madonnari (Madonneteers), but also for the spectacular lotus blossom, which will envelop you in a fairy-tale world.
Finally, here you are in Mantua, the last stop on your cyclo-tour. Set like a peninsula in the artificial loops of the Mincio River, the city of the Gonzaga has much to offer you, even by bike, including art, culture and nature.
The Mincio cycle path proves to be a perfect itinerary to enjoy all-Italian views, landscapes and villages, some little known but of enchanting beauty.