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Gastronomic Cycling from Parma to Bologna

Cyclomundo offers guided and self-guided cycling trips in Emilia-Romagna Self-guided trip: Starts any Sunday from March 3rd through June 30th and from September 1st through November 11th, 2019
7 nights/8 days
Daily mileage: From 56 km (35 miles) to 74 km (46 miles, long option)
Starts from Parma and ends in Bologna
Parma is easily accessible by train from major Italian hubs. Bologna is well-serviced by train and air.
Accommodation in 3-star properties (Option A) or 4-star properties (Option A+)
Level: 2/3 (Easy/Moderate)
From 880 euros per person sharing a double room

Gastronomic Cycling from Parma to Bologna — 7 nights/8 days

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Cycle past the vineyards that produce Lambrusco wine
You'll overnight in historiccal Italian towns and cities
  Italy is a food-lover’s paradise, and nowhere is this perhaps clearer than in the Emilia-Romagna region in the country’s north. Parmesan, Modena balsamic vinegar, Parma ham, Bolognese’ll really have to cycle up an appetite!

On this tour, you’ll get the opportunity to taste these specialties direct from the producers. The route follows the Via Emilia, an ancient Roman road dating back to 187 BCE, along which sprung up important cities including Parma, Modena, and Bologna, all of which you’ll be able to explore. Historical and artistic relics abound—Bologna itself is home to over 40 kilometers of medieval and Renaissance arcades.

Pedaling through the gently rolling Italian landscape, you’ll enjoy a feast for the senses: incredible views, the wind in your hair, mouthwatering aromas, and perhaps even the occasional strain of Verdi opera. There’s no doubt about it—cycling in Emilia-Romagna is an all-around treat.
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival in Parma

Arrive in Parma at your leisure—the cycling doesn’t start until tomorrow so you have the whole day to explore this small, but refined city. Take a stroll through the city centre and admire the countless artistic and architectural masterpieces, or enjoy a tranquil afternoon in one of the city’s sprawling parks
Day 2 (Sunday): Loop from Parma (Short Option: 56 km/35 miles, 265 meters/869 ft of climbing; Long Option via Soragna: 70 km/43 miles, 313 meters/1,027 ft of climbing)

After breakfast and your briefing with our local representative, it’s time to pedal off from Parma. For most of today’s ride, you’ll be cycling through serene Italian countryside. Take a pause in San Secondo, where you must visit a “caseificio”, a cheese factory where Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan) is meticulously produced. Enjoy a tasting— Parmigiano is one of the oldest cheeses, and very particular in its makeup (1 kg requires 16 liters of milk!)

If you decide to ride the long option, the town of Soragna marks the halfway point of today’s loop, and is also a nice place to stop for lunch or just to rest your legs. The Parmigiano Reggiano Museum and the English garden of Meli Lupi Rocca are worth a visit if you choose to spend some time here. Otherwise, continue towards Fontanellato and its medieval San Vitale fortress—a castle dating back to the fourteenth century—before wheeling back to Parma for dinner in a typical trattoria.
Day 3 (Monday): Parma — Reggio Emilia (Short Option: 59 km/37 miles, 349 meters/1,145 ft of climbing; Long Option via Langhirano: 74 km/46 miles, 549 meters/1,801 ft of climbing)

Today, you will say goodbye to the city of Parma, but thankfully not to its gastronomic delights! On your way to Reggio Emilia, you’ll be cycling through the precise area where Parmigiano cheese and Parma ham are made, the latter whose delicate flavor is truly a product of the region. If you opt for the longer route option, the Prosciutto Museum in Langhirano is the perfect place to get familiar with this ham’s history—and its fragrant taste.

A moderate climb will take you up to Torrechiara castle and extraordinary views. One of the best-preserved fortifications in the region, its ornate interior as well as its perch overlooking the Parma Valley require more than a brief stop. When you’ve had your fill, get back on the bike and roll down quiet countryside roads into Reggio Emilia. The city’s hexagonal Old Town is filled with 16th and 17th century buildings and churches, including the “miraculous” Basilica della Ghiara. Take time to explore, but remember to rest up for tomorrow’s ride!
Day 4 (Tuesday): Reggio-Emilia — Modena (58 km/36 miles, 223 meters/732 ft of climbing)

You’ll cycle through the countryside of the Po Valley today, where you can find the Lambrusco di Santa Croce vineyards and sip its wine (a light, fruity red). It’s just the thing to keep you going until your next must-stop: Carpi, a Renaissance jewel with a rich artistic heritage and the third-largest city square in Italy.

From Carpi, it’s just 18 kilometers (11 miles) more pedaling until you wheel into Modena. The historic centre is the real star of the city, containing not one, but three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Romanesque Cathedral, its Ghirlandina Tower, and the Piazza Grande where they stand. You’ll want to park your bikes so you can gaze appropriately in awe!

Tonight, you’ll dine in a local trattoria. Be sure to try the traditional “Gnocco e Tigella”—dumplings and round bread typically served (or stuffed) with ham—best paired, of course, with a heady red.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Modena Loop (68 km/42 miles, 417 meters/1,368 ft of climbing)

You might spend more time eating and drinking than cycling on today’s loop ride! Set off along a bike path that follows a historic railway route to Spilamberto, where you can see authentic Balsamic Vinegar being produced at an “acetaia” factory. Unlike other vinegars which have an alcoholic base, the true Balsamic is derived directly from the juice of the grape…and it’s been this way since the Middle Ages!

Because we firmly believe in dessert, we recommend stopping in Vignola, home of the famous Barozzi cake. Enjoy a slice (or two) at the renowned Gollini patisserie before making your way to “La Rocca”, the mighty fortress from which you can admire incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Now that you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth, it’s time to wash it all down with a glass of wine. Quiet, secondary roads will take you and your bike to the town of Castelvetro, famous for its Lambrusco wine. Drink up, but remember you still have to cycle back to Modena!
Day 6 (Thursday): Modena — Bologna (69 km/43 miles, 342 meters/1,122 ft of climbing) 

Hit the bike path again as you ride out of Modena this morning and along the river Secchia through fields and vineyards. The landscape in this area is dotted with manors and Romanesque churches (as well as numerous places to taste more Balsamic vinegar.)

The first site of note is the Abbey at Nonantola, a 12th century Romanesque masterpiece. Soak in the history, as you’ll be pedaling in the footsteps of the pilgrims who travelled to Rome in the year 1000 along the Romea Nonantolana route.

You won’t be cycling all the way to Rome, but to Bologna, nicknamed “The Fat” for its gastronomic tradition—a good sign for meals to come! Feast on tagliatelle “al ragu” (Bolognese) and the original Bologna sausage while you’re in town.
Day 7 (Friday): Explore Bologna

After breakfast, take the day to explore Bologna on foot! The city has one of the largest and best-preserved historic centres, filled to the brim with restaurants, taverns, theatres and shops. Past and present intertwine, especially at Piazza Maggiore, where medieval palaces loom over modern daily life. Be sure to look out for Bologna’s glorious Two Towers (no relation to The Lord of the Rings!): Asinelli (98 m) and Garisenda (48 m), the latter immortalized in Dante’s Inferno.

When your legs need a rest, sit and people-watch over a slice of mortadella (a large Bolognese sausage) and a glass of Sangiovese wine as you savour the end of your trip and the memory of all the good food you’ve eaten.
Day 8 (Saturday): Departure

Leave Bologna at your leisure (perhaps after another helping of sausage, pasta, and wine…or all three!)
Booking & Pricing
From 880 euros per person sharing a double room

Two options are available for this trip:

Option A: 7 nights in 3-star properties

  • 880 euros per person in March, April, and October. Single supplement is 275 euros.
  • 905 euros per person in May, June, and September. Single supplement is 280 euros.
  • 935 euros per person in July and August. Single supplement is 285 euros.

Option A+: 7 nights in 4-star properties

  • 1,205 euros per person in March, April, and October. Single supplement is 600 euros.
  • 1,235 euros per person in May, June, and September. Single supplement is 605 euros.
  • 1,255 euros per person in July and August. Single supplement is 610 euros.

These prices include:

  • 7 nights' accommodation as described above
  • Daily breakfast
  • 3 dinners (drinks not included)
  • Meeting with our representative
  • Luggage transfers
  • Marked maps and/or cue sheets and route notes
  • Smartphone app (Android and iPhone) with downloadable directions/roadbook (no data is necessary) - A cell phone holder is provided
  • Tourist information
  • Assistance if necessary (you will be provided with our local rep’s mobile number)
  • Service charges and most taxes

These prices do not include:

  • Nominal city taxes, to be paid in cash directly at each hotel
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Bicycle rentals. Hybrid bikes are available at the rate of 115 euros per bike. E-bikes are available at the rate of 245 euros per bike. These prices include the drop-off fee for the bike’s return to Parma.
For further information or reservations:
Please book online or contact us at your earliest convenience as this trip is subject to hotel availability.
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