It is quite common to hear about cycling tourism and cycling tourists, especially when linked to the desire of trying (or repeating) a more environmentally responsible holiday.
What does this mean? Substantially, it means spending your holidays, however long they may be, much more on the seat of your bike than on any other means of transportation.
Emilia-Romagna accepts this challenge and offers an itinerary dedicated to those who love riding their bikes along the seaside, through villages set in ancient times, with their bell towers that overlook vineyards, and hills spotted by woods.
First day: Tour of Valli di Comacchio. The tour starts in Porto Garibaldi and ends at Cippo di Anita (Cippus in memory of Anita). The names alone set the mood for this bike ride which commemorates the actions and passionate love that the hero from the two worlds had for his wife Anita.
The first stop is in Comacchio, where you must admire Ponte dei Trepponti and take in the spellbound atmosphere of this town of canals.
From Comacchio, your next stop is Ostellato, where you can visit the natural Oasi delle Vallette before following the directions for Anita, a few kilometres away, and for the Percorso storico naturalistico delle Valli [Historical and Nature Path of the Valleys].
Here you will ride along the very famous archaeological site of the Greek-Etruscan town of Spina, where excavations are still being carried out and therefore cannot be visited, unfortunately.
Once you leave Spina, you will ride along the Agosta Levee, to then take the road Fiume which will lead you to a very interesting archaeological site: the ruins of Pieve di Santa Maria in Padovetere. After this detour, you will go back onto the road along the Agosta Levee to head towards the Valle Zavelea oasis where avocets and white herons can be seen in the fresh waters.
Just a little further ahead, the road becomes a very straight and narrow line, perfectly balanced between the lagoon and the district canal. In just a few minutes you will reach the levee of the Rhine river, which flows all around Valli di Comacchio, offering a memorable landscape view.
But the tour doesn’t stop here. This bike ride also foresees a quick “water” expedition.
In fact, you will have to cross the Rhine river with a ferry to get to Sant’Alberto, in the province of Ravenna.
Heading east, in the proximity of the intersection with state road Romea, you will reach the farm Guiccioli, where Anita Garibaldi passed away on 4 August 1849. Finally, just a little bit further down the road, you will reach the final destination of your first day, the cippus in memory of Anita Garibaldi.
Second day: from Ravenna to Bertinoro.
The scenery begins to change. The bike tour today starts off immersed in the byzantine mosaics of Ravenna and leads to Bertinoro, a medieval village with such an impressive panorama that it was given the name “The Balcony of Romagna”.
But before enjoying this incomparable view of the planes of Romagna from the top, you have to reach the sea in Cervia, and from there, start warming your muscles up by biking towards Pisignano and the next town, Cannuzzo.
Just a few pedal strokes away and the atmosphere swells with the tranquillity that only the countryside can offer. Once you hit Savio road, you will crossover from the province of Ravenna to the province of Forlì-Cesena and only in the proximity of Santa Maria Nuova will you start your way up to the Balcony of Romagna.
The road will become more and more difficult, with some hills steep enough to deserve the delicatessens awaiting you in Bertinoro, land of the piadina [simple local flat bread] and homemade puff pastry.
And that’s not all. This borough is also known for its hospitality and you’ll definitely know why.
Close to Bertinoro, you can visit Fratta Terme, an outskirt also reachable on bike paths and perfect for “recharging your batteries” thanks to the therapeutic properties of its seven thermal baths.
Third day: from Rimini to Novafeltria.
The bike path of Val Marecchia is one of the most loved paths of the Riviera Romagnola and, riding along the banks of the river Marecchia, you can reach the hinterland without having to bike up any steep hills.
So, you start in Rimini and more precisely, Borgo San Giuliano, with its typical murals dedicated to the famous film director Federico Fellini. Here is where you start pedalling towards the banks of the river Marecchia along the path bearing the same name. Once you leave the town behind, you will take the Tiberio bridge, where you can make a quick stop to take a photo.
The itinerary will lead you to the open countryside from which you will be rewarded with landscapes and panoramas of medieval boroughs both on the left and on the right-hand sides. Almost half way to your destination, we suggest you make a stop in Verucchio to have a glimpse at Rocca Malatestiana.
Once back on your bikes, you will have to change banks and go up to the Santuario della Madonna di Saiano [a monastery]. You will be able to see its majestic tower on the horizon. Instead, if you stay on the bike path, just a little bit before the village Pietracuta, you have to cross the river once again to complete the final part of the tour.
At Ponte Santa Maria Maddalena, you have to cross the river Marecchia for the last time, and head straight towards Novafeltria, end of the line and home to the Miniera di Perticara [the mine], which is now a museum that testifies the hard work performed by the miners.
The itinerary should be properly concluded with an adrenalin adventure at the Skypark, the adventure park where you can make your way around nature.
What are you waiting for?
The streets of Romagna can’t wait to get a trace of your pedals.