There is a way to cycle to Italy and Emilia-Romagna from anywhere in Europe. It is called the Eurovelo, a network of 15 long-distance cycle routes spanning the entire area of central Europe, regardless of geopolitical division.
Established from a project by the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), these routes incorporate national sections of existing bike paths, favouring and enhancing cycling as an excellent means of transportation as compared to motorised traffic.
Each route is numbered from 1 and 17. The roads along the way never have inclines of greater than 8% and are subject to traffic of less than 1,000 cars per day. Unfortunately, at the moment, not all the routes are complete or well signposted.
Three of these Eurovelo routes pass through Emilia-Romagna: numbers 5, 7 and 8.
Eurovelo 5, also known as the Via Romea (Francigena), joins London with Brindisi along a 2,900-km-long route. It is an important north-south route that largely follows the ancient Via Romea Francigena, used for centuries by European pilgrims to reach Rome. It crosses six European countries: the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy. In Emilia-Romagna, the route runs through the provinces of Piacenza and Parma.
Eurovelo 7, also known as the "Sun Route", is one of the longest routes in the entire cycling network. From North Cape in Norway, it cuts all the way through Europe for 7,400 km, passing through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy, until finally reaching the island of Malta.
Considered one of the most beautiful routes for natural scenery in the entire Eurovelo network, in Emilia-Romagna, it passes through the provinces of Modena and Bologna.
Eurovelo 8, also known as the “Mediterranean route”, cuts southern Europe in two from west to east, starting from the Strait of Gibraltar and stretching all the way to the island of Cyprus.
The route involves passing through several mountain passes, which is why it is perhaps one of the most difficult sections of the entire Eurovelo network, not least because in many cases the cycle paths along the way are still poorly developed. In Emilia-Romagna it touches on the provinces of Piacenza and Ferrara.