Whole Journeys Culinary Delights Plus! the Farm
Selected as one of the Seven Best Food and Wine Adventure trips by away.com.
On this popular bicycle tour, you'll ride 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 on 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. This city abounds in Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, and homemade pasta! 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, lasagne, & tagliatelle. Visit a vinery before heading to Faenza, where you can purchase some beautiful ceramics to display the culinary delights you'll come to crave and dream about on this tour!
***If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour check out our, Whole Journeys Culinary Delights tour, which shortens this itinerary by 3 days.***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: 57 km (35 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: Bicycle to Bologna
Highlights: Gelato University, guided tour 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: Rest day in Bologna
Highlights: The world Heritage Porticoes of Bologna, cooking demonstration.
Rest day in Bologna, Emilia Romagna's administrative capital, and, arguably, its culinary capital too. Home to the oldest continually operating university in the world, Bologna has a long tradition of studies, arts, and gastronomy. Speaking of gastronomy, Bologna gave birth to the mortadella, vulgarly distorted abroad as "bologna," although the fresh, artisanal mortadella has nothing to do with processed meat! Make sure you put this culinary delight on your 'must try' list! Join us for a cooking demonstration to learn a few secrets from local artisans. A stroll through the historic center and its porticoes completes a perfect afternoon.
Distance: No ride today. Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel dei Commercianti
Day 9: Bologna to Castel S.Pietro and shuttle to Faenza
Highlights: Lunch and visit at a winery, ceramic capital Faenza
We'll leave bustling Bologna this morning and work our way to the foothills of the Appenines near Castel San Pietro Terme, where we visit a winery. We'll learn about Sangiovese, Pignoletto, Albana and all the wines that represent the core production of Romagna hills. A delicious lunch together at the winery will stimulate all of our senses. We provide a shuttle to Faenza after lunch, our home for the next two nights. Enjoy a stroll in town, have an organic gelato, or visit the International Ceramic Museum in town.
Distance: 51 km (31.5 miles). Meals: B, L
Lodging: Hotel Vittoria
Day 10: Loop ride to Brisighella
Highlights: Bicycle to the medieval village of Brisighella, visit ExperiencePlus! headquarters at "The Farm"
Our ride today takes us through the medieval village of Brisighella also famous for the production of extra virgin olive oil. We finish our ride with a stop at ExperiencePlus! headquarters in the middle of a plum and peach orchard and vineyards for a late lunch. Once back in Faenza, you'll have time to visit the sites you missed yesterday including one of our favorite ceramic studios.
Distance: 50 km (31 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Hotel Vittoria
Day 11: Tour ends in Faenza
Our cycling tour ends in Faenza. Now with a refined palate, head out and explore more of Italy's culinary delights, and take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen!
HighlightsCremona - home to torrone or Italian nougat, Balsamic vinegar cellar, Parma famous cured ham, Parmesan cheese, Bologna and mortadella, Castle of Montechiarugolo and Torrechiara, Modena, Faenza and its ceramics, Olive oil tasting, Gelato University
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights' accommodation; all breakfasts, 5 dinners, 2 picnics, 2 lunches; cooking demonstration in Bologna followed with light lunch, special culinary highlights and tastings listed in itinerary plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Begin/EndCremona / Faenza
Arrive/DepartIn and out of Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)
Total Distance446 km (275 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage per riding day: 56 km (34 miles)
Rating101 Perfect for cyclists who prefer non-hilly terrain. Bicycle paths allow us to enter and exit towns easily.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Jun 22-Jul 2, 2015 $4750 $650 2 More to Guarantee the Departure Book it Sep 7-17, 2015 $4750 $650 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!
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.
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.
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
Outstanding chance to enjoy the culinary delights of Italy! Our third trip with ExperiencePlus! tour we loved it and will be back!Dennis D., Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The tour was such an incredible experience for us. We enjoyed meeting the other tour members and our guides. We had alot of laughs together, as well as serious discussions. I can''t wait to do another tour! Cycling in this manner is definitely the way to see a country.Lynda P., Pisgah Forest, NC
Great trip. Leaders were fantastic. Enjoyed first trip to the ExperiencePlus! "farm".Dave A., Black Forest, CO
Pasta making was a great. The picnic at the balsamic vinegar maker was wonderful. Biking with Italians on the road was priceless.Susan A., Colorado Springs, CO
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
The pre planning materials were really excellent (especially the what to pack and what to leave home). The meals and hotels were terrific, the whole trip was wonderful. Amazing trip, thanks SO much!Traci P., Denver, CO
Great, fun, easy, satisfying, full of interesting experiences, a great way to see the region and taste the cheeses, vinegars, wines, and olive oils, in context with great meals.Sharon S., Eugene, OR