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Cycling around cities of art and historic villages in Lombardy

Lombardy reveals its cities of art and historic villages to cyclists: five specific itineraries ensuring many irresistible opportunities to enjoy local flavours.

Cities of art and historic villages alternate between vineyards, rice paddies, ancient noble residences and traditional farmhouses. Lombardy is full of surprises for people who explore it by bicycle, with a generous offering of local wine and foods: here are five specific itineraries. The final stages of the Giro d'Italia will also take place hereabouts.

 

1. Valtellina Path & Valchiavenna Cycle Path

 

Sentiero Valtellina cycle path - Lombardy

Sentiero Valtellina cycle path

Two cycling routes for a combined total of 150 km across the province of Sondrio, revealing the landscapes, art, wine and food of the Valtellina area. The most characteristic places, where you will be easily tempted by pizzoccheri, bresaola and local cheese and wine, include Bormio, Colico, Chiavenna and Morbegno. It is also worth taking a break to visit the XVI-century Palazzo Vertemate Franchi di Piuro. The Valtellina Path overlaps the Via dei Terrazzamenti in certain stretches: passing between vineyards and mountains it leads to Tirano, on the Swiss border, where the scenic Bernina Red Train (UNESCO World Heritage site) starts.

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2. From Ticino to Oglio

 

Bergamo - Lombardy

Bergamo

An itinerary of 280 km in north-eastern Lombardy, cycling slowly along its most famous rivers and through agricultural and nature parks to discover the areas around Monza, Bergamo and Brescia. Not to be missed stop-offs include the Royal Villa in Monza with its immense park, the Venetian walls of Bergamo (UNESCO World Heritage site) separating the upper and lower towns, the Roman and Lombard monuments of Brescia (also a UNESCO World Heritage site), the XIX century Villoresi Canal, an imposing work of hydraulic engineering, and the protected Groane Park area. An itinerary ideal for everyone along which it is well worth stopping to taste polenta and PDO gorgonzola, two excellent local specialities.

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3. Pavia: between Oltrepò and Lomellina

 

Piazza Ducale, Vigevano - Lombardy

Piazza Ducale, Vigevano. Photo by: leventina/Shutterstock

Pavia, the ancient capital of the Lombard Kingdom, is the starting point for this series of itineraries to be discovered after visiting the beautiful town and its famous Renaissance Visconti Charterhouse. The vineyards of the Oltrepò area and the rice paddies of Lomellina produce local wine and food excellence to be enjoyed alongside Varzi salami and Mortara goose salami, where the traditional Living Goose Game takes place every September. Vigevano is absolutely worth a visit for its splendid Renaissance Piazza Ducale and Bramante tower, the Belgioioso Castle and the Becca iron bridge at the confluence of the Po and the Ticino rivers, before leading on to Lodi, among the cities of art in the Po plains.

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4. From Cremona to Mantua along the River Po

 

Mantua - Lombardy

Mantua

A ride of one hundred km from Cremona to Mantua passing through Casalmaggiore along the River Po in peaceful rural countryside still characterized by ancient farmhouses, mills and traditional agricultural work. Visits to the two cities of art of on departure and arrival are a must, given their architectural treasures and cultural testimonies. Mantua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while nearby Sabbioneta was an important Renaissance centre at the time of the Gonzagas and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as being one of the finest villages in Italy.

 

5. The Villas of Delight in Brianza

 

Villa Reale di Monza - Lombardy

Villa Reale di Monza

The Brianza area is home to numerous Ville di Delizia, splendid country mansions built by ancient aristocratic families dedicated to idleness and peace. They can be seen along a specific cycling route that sets off from Villasanta, just outside Monza and home to the sumptuous Villa Reale, and ends in Cesano Maderno, among the woods and moors of the Groane Park, passing through the lush Lambro Park and towns such as Agrate, Vimercate, Arcore and Desio. The 40 km itinerary, which alternates paved and unpaved roads, is flat and suitable for everyone.