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Whole Journeys Culinary Delights
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Bicycle Tours in Italy: 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.***

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. Cycling Distance: Test Ride.

Lodging: Locanda Torriani. In June we'll be at the 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! Dinner is on your own tonight. Daily Mileage: 57 km (35 miles)

Lodging: Albergo Giulia Gonzaga

Day 3: Bike to Parma

Tasty meal

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. Daily Mileage: 57 km (35 miles)

Lodging: Hotel Button

Day 4: Loop ride into hills to the castle of Torrechiara

Prosciutto

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. Daily Mileage: 48 km (30 miles).

Lodging: Hotel Button

Day 5: Ride to Reggio nell'Emilia countryside

The art of cheesemaking

Highlights: Parmesan cheese making visit, stay in an agriturismo

We have an early start this morning to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker on our way out of Parma. A guided tour by the proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese. 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 stay tonight. Dinner is together at the agriturismo. Daily Mileage: 62 km (38.5 miles).

Lodging: Agriturismo la Razza

Day 6: Ride to Modena

Balsamic vinegar cellar

Highlights: Balsamic vinegar visit in historical vinegar cellar, World Heritage Site of historic Modena

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 on your way to dinner on your own. Daily Mileage: 50 km (31 miles).

Lodging: Hotel Canalgrande

Day 7: Ride to Bologna

Highlights: Modena's covered street market, Italy's culinary capital, guided visit of Bologna, Gelato University and Museum

Before heading out of Modena with your bicycle, we suggest a visit to the local covered market that's been selling local products: fruit and vegetables, but also gourmet selections of Lambrusco wine, Amaretti cookies, truffle, cheese and Prosciutto, and of course traditional balsamic vinegar since the middle ages. A rail to trail 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 the next two nights. We'll complete the day with a guided visit of this great city before dinner together. Daily Mileage: 62 km (38.5 mi)

Lodging: Hotel Touring

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.***

  • Highlights
    Cremona - 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 and Museum, Bologna
  • Includes
    "The Usual" plus... Use 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
  • Countries
    Italy
  • Begin/End
    Cremona / Bologna
  • Arrive/Depart
    In and out of Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)
  • Total Distance
    Approximately 245 km (152 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    48 km (30 miles)
  • What to Expect
    Fabulous food experiences and culinary experiences and great bicycle rides through the heart of Italy's culinary capital.
  • Rating
    101
    Perfect for cyclists who prefer shorter distances and non-hilly terrain. Bicycle paths allows us to share the region with other non-car tourists.
  • Notes
    If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour check out our Plus! Bologna tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Supplement*
Notes Next
Step
May 26 - Jun 02, 2014 $3950 $550 Confirmed. Book It
Jun 23 - 30, 2014 $3950 $550 Confirmed. Book It
Sep 15 - 22, 2014 $3950 $550 Sold Out. 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.
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Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
Red pinEnd
Other city dotCity (not part of route, provided for reference)
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