As suggested by its name, the Rotta del Sale Bike Trail (Salt Route Bike Trail) follows a route of great commercial importance to the Upper Adriatic area.
The cities of Cervia and Venice shared a flourishing trade in salt starting in the Middle Ages, as it was once essential for food preservation, which took place precisely by sea.
Today the route can be traveled over land on a 278-kilometer bike trail connecting Cervia to Venice through the breathtaking landscapes of the Po Delta Park of Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.
Being completely flat, this off-road trail is suitable for everyone and includes bike paths, dirt roads and stretches on asphalt. Mountain bikes, as well as trekking or gravel bikes are best for this terrain.
The natural landmarks on the Salt Route Bike Trail are many, and all of them are outstanding. Protected areas, ancient pine forests, valleys and oases scattered throughout a fascinating area where water and land are in constant dialogue, but which also holds many surprises for art and architecture enthusiasts.
Length: 23 km (14 miles)
The first stop is a real journey into history. It starts in Cervia, an elegant town on the Ravenna Riviera that is famous for its salt, where you can visit the famous salt pans where Cervia's so-called sweet salt is produced, and the MUSA - Salt Museum.
Before reaching Ravenna and paying homage to its spectacular Unesco monuments, the Route enters the cool pine forests of Cervia and Ravenna and laps the mouth of the Bevano River, between the Ortazzo and Ortazzino Reserves. These are the evidence of the rich natural heritage that embraces the two cities of Romagna.
Length: 27 km (17 miles)
After taking in the mosaics in the early Christian basilicas of Ravenna, the route of the Rotta del Sale continues along the coast and its landscapes, dominated by pine forests, dunes and sand.
Pedalling northwards you come across two fascinating lagoons, the Pialassa Piomboni and the Pialassa Baiona. The latter in particular is home to numerous bird species, and it is not uncommon to spot flamingos intent on scouring its waters in search of food.
Length: 48 km (30 miles)
The third stage of the route enters the woods and follows the banks of the Reno and Lamone rivers, which flow north of Marina Romea, before reaching the Comacchio Valleys, a vast wetland of brackish water that is home to many animal species.
Riding on the edge of the marshes (or taking the alternative route that passes through Lido degli Estensi) you will soon get to Comacchio, which is certainly worth a stop. Along its canals - it is no coincidence that it is nicknamed Little Venice - you can still feel the ancient maritime tradition of the town, which is closely linked to eel farming.
Length: 73 km (45 miles)
During the last stage in Emilia-Romagna you will cross the Po river near Goro, which marks the border with the Veneto region. Once departing from Comacchio, the bike route leads to the Cannevié Oasis and the Bosco della Mesola Nature Reserve, a lowland forest inhabited by colonies of deer and fallow deer.
Renowned for clam fishing, Goro is the last destination of the Rotta del Sale Bike Trail, which then passes through Porto Tolle, Chioggia and the islands of Pellestrina and Lido (which can be reached by boat only), finally ending in Venice.