The Italian stretch of the route is called Ciclovia del Sole, and it connects the Brenner Pass to Bologna, passing through Verona.
In Emilia-Romagna specifically, the route crosses the entire plain between Mirandola and Bologna for over 60 km.
For the most part, the route follows the former Bologna-Verona railway, through small abandoned stations, massive metal bridges, villages, castles and hamlets that you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else.
The route is suitable for everyone, including younger cyclists, and it runs through an endless countryside, full of naturalistic, historical and cultural attractions.
In the future, there will also be rest areas equipped with drinking water stations as well as Wi-Fi and charging stations for smartphones and electric bikes.
The Ciclovia del Sole in Emilia-Romagna:
from Mirandola to Bologna
Length: 63 km
Height difference in ascent: not relevant
Height difference in descent: not relevant
Suitable for: everyone up to Osteria Nuova. From Osteria Nuova to Bologna the route uses secondary roads with low traffic, which makes it suitable for more experienced cyclists.
The route starts in the Renaissance town of Mirandola, the city of Pico della Mirandola. Today, it is internationally recognized as a centre for biomedical research and production. The Valli Mirandolesi (wetlands), in the territory of the city, are a Special Protection Area. The route is equipped with thematic itineraries, information boards and rest areas for birdwatching.
The next stop is San Felice sul Panaro. For many years, it was a feudal territory of Countess Matilda of Canossa, where the imposing Rocca Estense still stands.
From here we move on to Camposanto, where it is possible to admire the Saliceta Woodlands, some fine historic buildings, such as the parish church, but also the street art works of the Quadricromie project.
Many are the ancient aristocratic mansions along the cycle path, such as the Palata Pepoli Castle, or the peculiar Vasche dell’Ex-Zuccherificio, an ecological rebalancing area that became the habitat of many species of birds.
A little further on there is the town of Sant'Agata Bolognese, home of the prestigious Automobili Lamborghini and the heart of Italy's so-called Motor Valley, with the MUDETEC - Museo Lamborghini delle Tecnologie - full of historical models of the famous "Casa del Toro".
The next stop is San Giovanni in Persiceto, one of the oldest towns along the Ciclovia del Sole. The city centre is very peculiar, with its concentric layout, which has earned it the name “Borgo Rotondo” (“Round Village”). Piazzetta Betlemme, nicknamed "La piazzetta degli inganni" ("The Little Square of Deceptions") is a distinctive feature of this small town due to the colourful trompe-l'œil paintings by film set designer Gino Pellegrini.
The last stage of the route passes through the territory of Sala Bolognese, in the countryside just outside Bologna, the result of extensive land reclamation between the waters of the Reno and Samoggia rivers. The history of these wetlands lives on in the ecological rebalancing areas of the Cassa di Espansione del Dosolo and in the nearby water-pumping station of Bagnetto, near Padulle, where there is also the Ecomuseo dell’Acqua.
Before reaching the capital of Emilia, the route also passes through the territory of Anzola dell'Emilia, which preserves the remains of one of the oldest parish churches in the province, the church of Saint Pietro and Paolo and the Torre di Re Enzo, dating back to the 13th century.
The route ends, finally, passing through Borgo Panigale, Casteldebole, and then arriving, across the Reno, in Bologna.
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