Fancy getting on your bike and setting off to new destinations? The bicycle is the perfect means to discover new places at your own pace. If the mere thought of it already excites you, we have some interesting ideas for you!
In this article you will find 6 cycling itineraries in Emilia-Romagna that you may not know about, but which will definitely win you over.
6 cycle routes of different lengths that cross our region far and wide, from the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea. But also 6 experiences suitable for cyclists of all levels, which will surprise you stage after stage for their variety of landscapes and villages.
Food Valley Bike
Who said that sport and food cannot go hand in hand? The Food Valley Bike Route is designed precisely for cyclists who appreciate a gourmet break with local specialities between one destination and another.
This route is a real tribute to the Parma territory and its typical, worldwide known products. On a technical note, the Food Valley Bike is 70 kilometres long and divided into 3 flat stages – perfect even for two-wheel novices – that mostly follow the course of the Po river.
Departure and arrival are set respectively in the cities of Parma and Busseto, which owes its fame to the composer Giuseppe Verdi. Yet, along the route you will find further significant stops for local history and gastronomy.
After cycling through the area where Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and anolini are produced, the route stops in Brescello and Colorno, where you can visit the wonderful Reggia and a stop for tortel dols before ending the ride at Polesine Zibello, where a taste of culatello is a must.
Ciclovia del Sole
Divided into 10 stages and 63 kilometres long, the Ciclovia del Sole is in fact largely based on the railway route that once joined Verona to Bologna, in a completely flat area dominated by the countryside and fresh pasta.
Also suitable for young cyclists, among the villages covered by the route are San Felice sul Panaro and its Rocca Estense, Sant’Agata Bolognese, home of Lamborghini and a not-to-be-missed spot in the Motor Valley, as well as San Giovanni in Persiceto with its colourful Piazzetta Betlemme.
Rotta del Sale Bike Trail
If you are dreaming of a bike trip with views of the sea, here is the right opportunity for you! The Rotta del Sale Bike Trail is a 278-kilometre off-road cycle route that stretches from Cervia to the city of Venice through the spectacular landscapes of the Po Delta Park.
We could define this bike route as the overland recreation of an ancient sea route, used since the Middle Ages for the salt trade. And salt is indeed the main theme of Rotta del Sale, starting with the ‘sweet’ salt of Cervia, still produced in its salt pans.
Between dirt roads, cycle paths and short stretches on asphalt, all on flat land, the Salt Route is a continuous discovery.
The four stages in Emilia-Romagna combine nature, art and history, reaching such marvels as the pinewoods of Cervia and Ravenna, the lagoons of Marina Romea and the Comacchio valleys. The last destination in the region is the port town of Goro, separated from Veneto by the Po river.
Ciclovia del Santerno
After so many flat paths, here is a cycling route that will make hilly landscape lovers happy. The Ciclovia del Santerno (literally Santerno Cycle Route) offers the possibility of cycling backwards along the course of the river of the same name, from the Imola plains to the Apennines in Castel del Rio, included in the Parco Regionale della Vena del Gesso Romagnola Regional Park.
A surprising itinerary in the nature, but that’s not all: the Santerno Cycle Route is also a journey to six towns – Mordano, Imola, Casalfiumanese, Borgo Tossignano, Fontanelice and Castel del Rio – to discover their history and art treasures. A few examples? The Sforzesca Fortress in Imola and the 15th-century Alidosi Bridge in Castel del Rio.
To embark on this 44-kilometre-long adventure on asphalt and dirt roads, you will need a mountain bike or gravel bike, plus some training. While the first three stages are almost completely flat and therefore rideable by all cyclists, the gradient increases as you approach the final destinations (Borgo Tossignano-Fontanelice and Fontanelice-Castel del Rio stages).
Ciclovia della Romagna Toscana
If the leitmotif of the Santerno Cycle Route is river water, the route of the Ciclovia della Romagna Toscana (literally Romagna Toscana Cycle Route) is inspired by the abundant thermal waters of the area through which it passes.
126 kilometres among the green hills of the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, in the province of Forlì-Cesena, starting from Castrocaro Terme/Terra del Sole and ending in Bagno di Romagna. This is how we could summarise this cycling itinerary in Emilia-Romagna, designed especially for experienced cyclists.
Its three stages are a complete immersion in the lush nature of the Casentinesi forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park, as well as the discovery of unusual places such as the Ridracoli Dam. However, this cycle route is also a feast of small villages hidden in the hills, including Dovadola, Predappio and Santa Sofia.
Ciclovia di Dante
Have you ever travelled a cycle route inspired by the life of a famous historical figure? The Ciclovia di Dante (literally Dante’s Cycle Route) follows the Supreme Poet’s Dante Alighieri exile backwards from Ravenna – the city where he lived his last years – to Florence, the city that gave him birth, on dirt and secondary roads that gently cross the Apennines.
More specifically, this last bike itinerary in Emilia-Romagna takes us from Ravenna to Marradi, the first Tuscan town we encounter on the route, in three to four days of travel by e-bike, gravel or mountain bike. For the first two stages the level of difficulty is quite challenging, but then it drops to an intermediate level in the final stretch.
An eternal dreamer, but I try to stay grounded. I was raised in the countryside but I love big cities. I’m always ready for a trip, as long as it’s sustainable.
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