A gourmet's delight! Our popular cycling tour through Italy's premier pasta region, Emilia-Romagna, includes extraordinary meals and behind-the-scenes visits to a Parmesan cheese maker, and a balsamic vinegar maker. We also include a pasta making demonstration so you can learn the art of rolling out pasta the way Paola's family has for generations. Visit the ceramics town of Faenza and explore Renaissance Ferrara, a cyclists' delight. There is plenty of time for bicycling and eating on this trip as you roll through lush farmland and wine villages unspoiled by time. You'll be talking about this tour for a long time!
Day 1: Arrive at our hotel in Faenza, Italy
Highlights: Faenza, world-famous ceramics; fit bicyclesWe gather today in Faenza, in the heart of the Romagna part of Italy's famous Emilia-Romagna. This region is the heart of Italy's finest culinary traditions: home-made pasta, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, prosciutto di Parma, and more. Our home for the next two nights is Faenza, one of Italy's most famous ceramics towns. Come a day or two early to visit some of the forty or so ceramists and to explore the International Ceramics Museum. We fit bicycles today before introductions and dinner together.
Day 2: Loop ride in the Apennine foothills
Highlights: Medieval Brisighella and a picnic at the Malpezzi Price Farm (ExperiencePlus! Headquarters in Italy)We'll have our safety and protocol talk this morning, then bicycle to our farm/headquarters for a pasta making demonstration and then lunch together (you can try your hand at using a 40 inch rolling pin, then we'll eat the results! Don't worry, we'll also have some genuine grandma-made pasta aside so you can taste the real thing.) Our ride back to Faenza takes us through vineyards and orchards to Medieval Brisighella. Stroll through the medieval square and walk along the famous Via degli Asini (the "Street of the Donkeys"), one of the best-preserved Medieval streets in all of Italy. Have a gelato in Brisighella before we head back to Faenza. Dinner is on your own tonight. Distance: 45 km (28 miles).
Day 3: Bicycle to Dozza, a wine village
Highlights: Dozza, visit to Emilia-Romagna wine museum, wine tastingWe bicycle through Medieval and Renaissance Imola to Dozza today, a charming hilltop village in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. Dozza's 14th-century castle houses the official Emilia-Romagna wine museum. You'll have a chance to sample the local production this evening when we enjoy a wine tasting before dinner together. Dinner together. Distance: 40 km (25 miles).
Day 4: Bicycle to Pieve di Cento in the Po River Valley
Highlights: Pieve di Cento, Po River ValleyWe begin with a downhill ride today and then bicycle around Bologna to Pieve di Cento, in the Po River valley. "Cento" ("one hundred" in Italian) derives its name from the Latin "centum" which derives from the land measurement system used by the Romans to distribute land in this area to veterans of the war with Hannibal about 200 B.C. We'll take time to explore the delightful village with its Renaissance porticoes before dinner together. Distance: 87 km (55 miles).
Day 5: Loop ride to Ferrara, Italy's Number One "Bike Town"
Highlights: Renaissance Ferrara, heart of Italy's "bike culture"Ferrara, home to the Este family during the Renaissance, preserves a magnificent 15th and 16th century town wall (similar to Lucca's wall), a fine cathedral, and the Estense Castle. Plan on lunch and sightseeing here before we head back to Pieve di Cento. Dinner on your own. Distance: 80 km (50 miles).
Day 6: Bicycle across the Po Valley to Rubiera
Highlights: A culinary experience in Italy's only "Gastronomic Clinic" - La Clinica GastronomicaOur ride today across the Po Valley takes us to "The Clinica Gastronomica". The name of this hotel-restaurant emerged in the 1950s when young people from Rubiera who were going to study medicine at the nearby university in Bologna spoke of heading off to the (medical) clinic. One of the friends, instead of going to university opened a restaurant. So he took to announcing that he was heading off to his own clinic - indeed, the gastronomic clinic. We visit a balsamic vinegar maker this afternoon to end our ride. Dinner together at the "clinic." Distance: 67 km (42 miles)
Day 7: Parmesan Cheese & Farewell
Highlights: Visit to Parmesan cheese maker; end of tourAfter breakfast this morning we head off to visit a local Parmesan cheese factory to watch the entire process - from fresh milk to huge wheels of finished cheese. While the milk cooks, you'll tour the warehouse and hear about the aging process for quality parmigiano. Our tour ends at 10 a.m. with a shuttle to the Modena train station. NOTE: you should not plan any plane flights out of Bologna before 2 p.m. today.
HighlightsGourmet food, Fine Italian wines, Learn how balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are made
Includes7 days, 6 nights accommodation, 4 dinners with wine, 1 picnic lunch, 1 wine tasting, 6 breakfasts & a variety of culinary 'events'
Begin/EndFaenza / Modena
Arrive/DepartBologna, Florence, or Milan
Total Distance338km (210 miles)
Daily Distance44 - 82 km ( 27.5 - 51 miles)
What to ExpectIt's not just about the food - there's also plenty of riding through wonderful scenery.
Gentle terrain with some hills & more challenging rides for those who wish. A great trip for all cyclists.
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.La Clinica Gastronomica"/>
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
I loved being a part of life's experiences in that part of Italy; i.e. visiting the family farm (ExperiencePlus! Headquarters) and sampling its products; the balsamic vinegar / parmesan cheese processes; being on the roads less-traveled
Marjorie D., Falls Church, VA
My favorite thing was lunch at the farm (ExperiencePlus's! European Headquarters)....every detail of it from picking and eating ripe cherries off the tree, the incredible food, the tour of the business aspect of ExperiencePlus!, and the pasta making demonstration. The family was so nice. We sat outside in the sunshine and just basked in the italian countryside. What a relaxing vacation...I'll be back!
Elise W., Fort Collins, CO
This was my very first tour. Nice job. Our tour guides were friendly, patient, helpful and enthusiastic about their job. The bikes were great. The food was consistently delicious.
We liked the opportunity to have the freedom to bike alone down the quaint country roads of Italy and through the great cobblestone streets of small towns. Your tour afforded a nice balance of time with the group and time to be on our own. Giving is a map in the morning to highlight and then providing us with chalk arrows was a great way for us to foster our independance and ensure our safety and peace of mind!
Dan R. & Teresa S.
We have done a number of organized bike trips and this is the first time we've been on a trip where we didn't have to keep referring to a map! I think the fact that you mark the route with chalk arrows is just great and certainly makes the cycling more pleasurable, particularly if the route is complicated
Cynthia & Jim N.
Mill Valley, CA
Mill Valley, CA
I really enjoyed the accommodating guides, the carefully marked routes, the hotels, the food and the way we were introduced to so many original facets of Italian culinary culture by first-hand tours and experiences. The towns we visited provided us with a wonderful sense of the true Italy.
We were warned to go easy because it was an 8 course meal. An hour later, when they brought out the big platters of lobster, someone asked "What course is this?" It was still the first course! No one believed me until three hours later. Man, I love to eat.