Whole Journeys Culinary Delights
Selected as one of the Seven Best Food and Wine Adventure trips by away.com.
On this popular tour, you'll bicycle through Italy's premier pasta region. Every meal will include extraordinary local dishes made according to tradition. Every day of pedaling will not only take you behind-the-scenes visits of Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and wine makers, but also to ancient castles and world heritage UNESCO sites. Here, history, art, culture, and tradition conspire to make this tour unforgettable!
Starting in the city of Cremona, famous for its nougat and age-old violin-making tradition, our bicycle tour weaves along the Po River, Italy's largest, to the castle and noble summer residences of Sabbioneta and Colorno before spending two nights in Parma. Our route then takes us to the countryside of Reggio Emilia to a local agriturismo, and then to Modena, another famous art city, balsamic maker, and plenty of views. Keep pedaling to Bologna, the capital of the area and home of Mortadella and all manners of more homemade pasta: tortellini, lasagna, and tagliatelle.
***If this sounds great, but you'd like a longer tour check out our Whole Journeys Culinary Delights Plus! the Farm tour, which adds 3 days to this itinerary.***View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Cremona
Highlights: Cremona, home to creamy Italian nougat, handcrafted Stradivari violins, and an impressive plaza
Arrive in Cremona, home of the noble tradition of violin making. Visit a workshop to learn how Antonio Stradivarius raised violin-making to an art form and taste some torrone (the creamy nougat made from honey, nuts, and egg white) in one of the several pasticcerie in town! We meet in the afternoon for our bike fitting at the hotel. After enjoying an aperitivo together, we celebrate the beginning of our culinary experience with a welcome dinner.
Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D
Lodging: Dellearti Design Hotel.
Day 2: Royal Court of Sabbioneta
Highlights: Bicycling on bike paths along the Po River, Gonzaga summer residence of Sabbioneta, guided tour of town.
Today we cycle along quaint bike paths along the Po River to the town of Sabbioneta, a UNESCO world heritage site. Sabbioneta was named the "Little Athens of the Gonzaga" after the local ruling family for its importance as an artistic center in the Renaissance. Inside the well-preserved walls, we will have a guided tour to see the architectural jewels of the town such as the Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo del Giardino, and Teatro Olimpico as a group. If you get the chance to try a slice of sbrisolona cake, an almond crumble cake of ancient origins, try some!
Distance: 57 km (35 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Albergo Giulia Gonzaga
Day 3: Bike to Parma
Highlights: Regal residence of Colorno, quiet country roads, Parma cured ham and Parmesan cheese, World Heritage Site of Parma
We head south to Parma today, one of the undisputed culinary capitals of Italy, through pleasant country roads where you can catch a glimpse of our local farm life. Our journey takes us to the ducal palace of Colorno. While it passed through the hands of many rulers, today, it houses the headquarters of ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine. We continue on to Parma, a city where your taste buds will not be disappointed. It is a city where the arts have flourished Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of the most famous citizens. Take a stroll around the historical center before dinner together.
Distance: 58 km (36 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Button
Day 4: Loop ride into hills to the castle of Torrechiara
Highlights: Rest day in Parma: loop ride into the Parma hills to the castle of Torrechiara and a lunch with a view
Get ready for another day of bicycling amidst ancient castles and local traditions! Today's ride will loop to the breath-taking castle of Torrechiara. Dominating the Val Parma, the castle was constructed between 1448 and 1460, devised as an instrument of defense as well as a distinguished home for the count and his lover. This area is famous for its cured prosciutto and local salame--we will have lunch in this historic setting to taste them! We return to Parma, where, if you are still hungry, our tour leaders will suggest places to try for dinner.
Distance: 48 km (30 miles). Meals: B, L
Lodging: Hotel Button
Day 5: Ride to Reggio nell'Emilia countryside
Highlights: Prosciutto di Parma making, stay in an agriturismo
Another day full of events today, we'll stop at a salumificio to see how they make Prosciutto di Parma before heading to Reggio Emilia at about lunch time. We'll continue on our way along back roads and bike paths to reach our agriturismo , a country house hotel with a working farm, where we'll stay tonight. Dinner is together at the agriturismo.
Distance: 66 km (41 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Agriturismo la Razza
Day 6: Ride to Modena
Highlights: Parmesan cheese making, a balsamic vinegar visit in a historical vinegar cellar, World Heritage Site of historic Modena
We have an early start this morning to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker on our way out of the Agriturismo. A guided tour by the proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese. Another culinary mystery is unveiled today as we stop at an acetaia, a traditional balsamic vinegar factory to learn how leftover grapes are transformed into the sweet rich vinegar that can sometimes be worth hundreds of dollars. Tradition is beautifully preserved here as the historic methods of production are still in use. A picnic lunch will follow the visit to the acetaia before continuing on to Modena. Don't miss a visit to the historic center of town.
Distance: 50 km (31 miles). Meals: B, L
Lodging: Hotel Canalgrande
Day 7: Ride to Bologna
Highlights: Gelato University, Guided visit of Bologna
We leave Modena with its Duomo and the Ghirlandaia tower along a rails to trails bikepath will lead us to the fortress town of Bazzano, a great spot for a morning snack before enjoying great views along the hills on our way to Bologna, our destination for tonight. We'll stop at the University of Gelato at the Gelato Lab to learn how to make gelato, and to enjoy the fruit of our efforts. We'll complete the day with a guided visit of this great city before dinner together.
Distance: 67 km (42 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel dei Commercianti
Day 8: Bologna - Tour End
Highlights: Cooking school and lunch
We invite you to stick around this morning as we have a special cooking demonstration and lunch planned. After that we'll send you on your way to begin your own culinary explorations.
***If this sounds great, but you'd like a longer tour check out our Cycling Italy's Culinary Delights: Emilia Romagna Plus! the Farm tour, which adds 3 days to this itinerary.***
HighlightsCremona - home to torrone or Italian nougat, Towns of Parma, Modena, and Bologna, Parma famous cured ham, Parmesan cheese, Castle of Montechiarugolo and Torrechiara, Gelato University , Bologna
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; all breakfasts, 4 dinners,1 lunch, 1 picnic lunch; cooking demonstration in Bologna followed by lunch, guided visit of Sabbioneta and Bologna, special culinary highlights and tastings listed in itinerary plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Begin/EndCremona / Bologna
Arrive/DepartIn and out of Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)
Total Distance345 km (213 miles)
Daily Distance57 km (35 miles)
Rating101 Perfect for cyclists who prefer non-hilly terrain. Bicycle paths allows us to share the region with other non-car tourists.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes May 23-30, 2016 TBA TBA Book it Jun 20-27, 2016 TBA TBA Book it Sep 5-12, 2016 TBA TBA Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Cremona, Italy - Stradivari's Hidden Gem
A quick guide to a fascinating city.
Italy Trip Planner
Read up on country customs, transportation information, culinary specialites, and more!
Meals on Your Bicycle Tour
Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours
Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?
Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.
Ragu Pasta Sauce
A hallmark of Italian pasta sauces, Ragu, is sure to transform your pasta
Risotto with Pear, Gorgonzola, & Walnuts
A recipe from tour leader Enrico Dal Monte
Straccetti with Arugula and Balsamic Vinegar
This recipe comes from the Scuola di Cucina Bologna which we visit on our Culinary Delights tours.
The Artist, the Philosopher & the Warrior
ExperiencePlus! traveler Bill Giovinazzo reviews the latest book from Paul Strathren.
The Gelato Lab
Travelers on the Culinary Delights tour enjoy becoming certified gelato experts.
Two examples of what you'll experience on the Whole Journey's Culinary Delights tour.
We Are ExperiencePlus! Meet your Tour Leaders
We'd like to introduce you to your tour leaders. We believe we have the best bicycle tour leaders out there, click through to see a slideshow about them.
Authentic Italian Food
Lonely Planet writes about expectations on meals in Italy: it may be different than you make at home, but you will be impressed nevertheless!
Choosing Artisan Gelato
The Travel Belles have an article to help find the tastiest gelato in Italy
Did you know that there is a gelato museum in Bologna? Make sure you stop by its tasting room!
Italian Recipes from Paola
University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights three of Paola's recipes
Italy's Emilia-Romagna becomes a (wine) contender
Nice article on our home region in Italy where our headquarters are nestled among vineyards
Pasta for Dinner
A simple and tasty pasta for an Italian-themed meal as you plan your trip to ride bikes in Italy.
Traditional Italian Food Fallacies
An article from The Travel Belles blog covering interesting aspects of Italian culture and food traditions
- Cremona, Italy - Stradivari's Hidden Gem
How would you describe this tour to a friend? Great if you enjoy the outdoors, great food and wine, seeing the countryside while biking.Carol S., Salt Lake City, UT
Fantastic. The biking was as described, very easy, The food was absolutely delicious. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and fun. The group size was not too big. Beautiful and lots of fun.Elaine L., Ayer, MA
It was a great experience. Everyone I''ve described it to wants to go, too.Steve L., Scottsdale, AZ
It was a hoot!!!!!Anne R., Glenbrook, NV
The new hybrid bikes are fantastic! Happy to do another great trip with EexperiencePus! This one was about as perfect as it gets.Tom R., Lake Tahoe, CA