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Cycling Emilia-Romagna’s Culinary Wonders (7-days)
Long known as Italy’s premier pasta region, and maybe even its culinary capital, Emilia-Romagna delights in every way – including our palates! On this cycling tour from Parma to Bologna, you will not only taste extraordinary traditional dishes – you will visit Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar makers learning their time-tested methods; sample plenty of artisanal gelato; wonder at ancient castles and world-heritage UNESCO sites; and even have the chance to see the Ferrari museum and factory, from the famous car maker’s hometown of Modena. Two-night stays in impressive Parma and quaint Castelvetro di Modena will allow you to slow down and savor this region, as the locals do. History, art, culture and tradition all come together to make this an unforgettable holiday - and what better way to experience it than from the seat of your bike!
Level 1 cycling.
Arrival in Parma
Highlights: Bike fit and welcome dinner
Considered among the culinary capitals of Italy, Parma is also known as one of Italy’s art cities: Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are among its lustrous citizens. We suggest an afternoon stroll through the city center, where Parma’s rich history is still evident (the historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or do as the locals do, finding a piazza table where you can delight your palate with Parma’s famous cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, enjoyed with an aperitivo. After our bike fitting, our local guides will host a welcome dinner where you will meet your cycling companions.
Daily distance today: optional test ride. Meals: Dinner
Loop ride into the hills to Torrechiara Castle
Highlights: Torrechiara Castle
On your first cycling day, you will ride over delightful rolling hills amidst ancient castles and local tradition. Our goal is the Torrechiara Castle, a breath-taking structure dominating the Val Parma – it was constructed between 1448 and 1460, as an instrument of defense as well as a distinguished home for the count and his lover. The area is today famous for its cured prosciutto ham and salame, and we recommend stopping for a taste at lunchtime. After a downhill return to Parma, our tour leaders will suggest a restaurant for dinner, and activities for your last evening in this lovely city.
Daily distance: 49 km (30 miles) with + 242 m (794 ft) elevation gain.
Ride to Reggio-Emilia countryside
Highlights: Agriturismo country estate
Heading out of Parma today, we’ll cycle over back roads and bike paths, through farm land and small villages, towards Reggio-Emilia, in the heart of Parmesan country. Today’s destination - an agriturismo working farm and inn - will be another trip highlight. You will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy your visit here. The agriturismo also houses a parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar factory, among other wonderful surprises.
You have two options for your ride today:
Loop to Canossa: 57 km (35 miles), with + 801 m (2627 ft) elevation gain. Loop to Reggio Emilia with visit to Vacche Rosse Diary: 25 km (15 miles), with + 110 m (331 ft) elevation gain.
Bike to Maranello - the home of Ferrari – and Castelvetro di Modena
Highlights: Visit parmesan cheese maker, Ferrari Museum
We’ll get an early start this morning to visit the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker. The proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese on our guided tour of the small factory (ending with a tasting, of course). With our senses alight, we’ll continue cycling en route to Maranello, home of the factory and testing track of the fabled Ferrari sports cars, as well as the Ferrari Museum (visit is optional). Today’s ride ends in the delightful medieval hilltop town of Castelvetro di Modena, our base for the next two nights. We suggest a stroll among the locals over lovely cobbled lanes and alleys this evening, and dinner near the piazza where you’ll enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside below you and the Apennine mountain chain in the distance. You might also consider an optional visit to the balsamic vinegar acetaia – or mill - where another traditional culinary mystery will be unveiled. You will learn how leftovers from grapes are transformed into the sweet, rich vinegar that can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars.
Daily distance: 46 km (28 mi) with + 470 m (1540 ft) elevation gain.
Loop ride to Modena
We’ll glide down on our bikes as we begin an optional loop ride to Modena, another wonderful historic art city – and UNESCO World Heritage Site - where we will have time to explore its historical town center, the magnificent Duomo and the Ghirlandina medieval tower. We suggest a visit of the famous covered outdoor market, and time for a gelato stop as well! Modena is also the birthplace of Dino and Enzo Ferrari, founders of the namesake brand, as well as Luciano Pavarotti, the legendary tenor. After our exploration of Modena, we’ll ride back to Castelvetro in the afternoon for another night in town.
Daily distance: 49 km (30 mi), with + 300 ms (480 ft) elevation gain Meals: Breakfast
Ride to Bologna
Highlights: Cooking class dinner
Our last ride today is lovely, cycling by small farms and Lambrusco vineyards, always near the foothills of the Apennines. Bologna awaits – the capital of Emilia-Romagna is an important Italian city with a rich history and a fascinating medieval center. Our tour ends with a bang in the red city (as Italians call it) - we’ll meet with a Bologna local who will share their secrets and passion for cooking, while we prepare a traditional meal we’ll eat together on our celebratory good-bye dinner.
Daily distance: 52 km (33 mi), with 220 ms (721 ft) elevation gain Meals: Cooking class dinner
Tour ends in Bologna
Bologna is a great place to spend another night or two, or to use as a base for further exploration. For those returning home today, we will assist you in arranging your transportation to the nearby Bologna airport.
If you would like to drive yourself before or after your tour, ask us for a quote on any brand new Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicle for driving in Europe.
Pick up your vehicle from most capital cities in Europe and return it to your drop off destination. Top insurance cover. Email [email protected] for a competitive quote