Self-guided: Taste of Italy, cycling Emilia-Romagna

Self Guided Tour for the taste of italy
  • Length 8 days
  • From USD$1895
  • Style/Level Self-Guided 1.0
  • Countries Italy
  • Begin/End Bologna / Parma

Hop on your bike and get ready for the time of your life as you pedal through Italy’s premier pasta–and foodie–region. Every day you’ll encounter unique experiences and behind-the-scenes visits, like a family-run parmesan cheese producer or a historic balsamic vinegar mill and cellar. Cycle through picturesque medieval towns, elegant cities and world heritage UNESCO sites, all with scenic landscapes that remind of nearby Tuscany (but without the crowds!). You’ll be charmed by Emilia-Romagna’s rich history, art, culture and traditions, all conspiring to make this an unforgettable tour!

For an extended tour throughout all of Emilia-Romagna, combine this tour with Bicycle Romagna – Heartland of Italy’s Homemade Pasta, beginning in Ravenna.


  • Balsamic vinegar cellar

  • Parma’s famous cured ham

  • Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Bologna’s cold cuts and colorful arches

  • Castle of Torrechiara

  • Modena

    Extra meals & activities (additional fees apply)

  • Cooking classes available in various tour locations! Organized by Le Cesarine where you will be hosted by a local at their home and will help the Cesarina (the host) prepare three courses. In the fourth and final hour, you will enjoy the meal (lunch or dinner) which you prepared during the class. Water and one bottle of house wine for every 3 people are included.


  • 7 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels

  • All breakfasts

  • Luggage transfers

  • Guided visit of artisanal parmesan factory

  • Guided visit and tasting at family-run balsamic vinegar mill

  • All Self-Guided tour inclusions

Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

  • Your bicycle must be returned by 5 p.m. on Day 6 in Bologna.
  • The final itinerary, including hotels and/or activities described here, are subject to change according to availability.
  • City hotel taxes are not included.

From USD $1,895

  • PRICING: Based on double occupancy. Departures for solo travelers will incur supplemental fees.
  • HIGH SEASON SURCHARGE: USD $120, per person, for bookings in May, June, September and early October.
  • START DAYS: This tour departs any Sunday between March 1 and October 31. Other start days of the week may be available on request, for USD $120. Please note that changing the start day could make some cultural visits and activities impossible.
  • REQUEST YOUR DATE: Click the blue “Request a date” button to submit a tour inquiry.
If dates appear below, they reflect already requested departures. Multiple parties may join listed dates.

Date Price Private room fee Note
Sep 29-Oct 6, 2024 USD$1895 USD$400
DateSep 29-Oct 6, 2024
Private room feeUSD$400

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  • Total distance 338 km (210 miles)
  • Average daily distance 56 km (35 miles)
  • Tour style Self-Guided
  • Tour level 1.0

Highlights: The Red City and its marvelous porticoes and alleways

Check in to the centrally located hotel in Bologna, enjoy the views of the old town from the charming rooftop terrace, and get yourself situated. Bologna today is Emilia-Romagna’s administrative capital and, arguably, its culinary capital too. Home to the oldest continually operating university in the world, the city boasts its rich history and long tradition in the arts and gastronomy. Bologna gave birth to the mortadella, vulgarly distorted abroad as “bologna”, although the fresh, artisanal mortadella has nothing to do with processed ham! Make sure you put this culinary delight on your ‘must try’ list!

After meeting our staff at the starting hotel for a tour briefing and bike fitting (normally in the early afternoon), you are ready to go! We recommend getting out to explore this afternoon and check out our suggested dinner locations!

Accommodation: Hotel Touring, or similar.

Highlights: Rails-to-trails bike paths, Bazzano, World Heritage Site of historic Modena

Leave Bologna on its city bike paths and next to the one-of-a-kind porticoes, to get to the first hills where great views reward you after a short climb. A rails-to-trails bike path leads you out to the fortress town of Bazzano, before heading to Modena. Don’t forget to visit the historic town center of this city with the marble covered cathedral and its Ghirlandina bell tower.

Daily distance: 63 km (39 miles) Elevation gain: +212 m (695 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel Canalgrande, or similar.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Explore Modena; optional loop ride on the hills

Take time to explore Modena today by climbing up the bell tower or visiting the Palace of the Duchy. Alternatively, enjoy a ride to the foothills of the Apennines along quiet roads and bicycle lanes. Visit the picturesque town of Castelvetro with its fortified historical center and balsamic vinegar production. If you are a car fan, Modena is the home of Ferrari and other historical brands so there are museums and exhibitions you can indulge in!

Daily distance: 60 km (38 miles) Elevation gain: +374 m (1227 ft)

Accomodation: Hotel Canalgrande

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Modena’s covered street market, Balsamic vinegar, stay in an agriturismo

Before heading out of Modena on your bike, we suggest a visit of the local covered market that has been selling local products since the Middle Ages: fruits and vegetables, but also gourmet selections of Lambrusco wine, Amaretti cookies, truffles, cheese and Prosciutto, and of course traditional balsamic vinegar. With your senses alight by the sounds, sights and smells, you will visit the lovely Acetaia Cavalli estate, where the family has been producing the highest quality balsamic for over a hundred years. An easy ride today will lead you along back roads to tonight’s very special stay – an “agriturismo” country house estate with a working farm, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar production, vineyards and winery, and more, within a wonderful natural setting.

Daily distance: 47 km (29 miles) Elevation gain: +219 m (720 ft)

Accommodation: Agriturismo La Razza, or similar.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Canossa Castle ruins or city of Reggio Emilia

Head for the hills today on a ride to Canossa Castle ruins, where the Holy Roman Empire Emperor Henry 4th had to show penance to the Pope, waiting in the snow barefoot at the gate of Matilda’s castle for three days before Matilda, countess of Canossa, convinced the Pope to open. Alternatively, for a shorter loop ride follow the bike path to Reggio Emilia for a visit of this bustling, pretty town.

Short option: 19 km (12 miles) with +102 m (335 ft) elevation gain. Long option: 57km (35 miles) with +801 m (2650 ft) elevation gain.

Accommodation: Agriturismo La Razza, or similar.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Parma cured ham and parmesan cheese

You’ll start the morning with a guided visit of a parmesan cheese factory on the road to Parma. This wonderful experience, in which you’ll learn why Parmiggiano-Reggiano is known as “the king of cheeses”, is one of the tour highlights. With your senses awakened, you are ready for today’s destination – yet another place where your taste buds will not be disappointed, Parma! Famous for its culinary traditions, the arts also flourished outside of the kitchen in this lovely, stately city: Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of its most famous citizens, and their influence are present to this day. The city is still an important cultural and artistic center. Explore and enjoy the historic center, and delight your palate with Parma’s signature cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, eaten as an aperitivo or sprinkled on homemade pasta dishes. No place better to do this than from a table in a piazza!

Daily distance: 63 km (39 miles) Elevation gain: +291 m (954 ft)

Accomodation: Hotel Button

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Lovely ride in the hills near Parma and the castle of Torrechiara and lunch with a view; explore Parma

Get ready for your last day of bicycling amidst ancient castles and local traditions! Today’s ride will loop to the breathtaking Torrechiara Castle. 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—taste them in this historic setting!

Daily distance: 48 km (30 miles) Elevation gain: +240 m (787 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: World Heritage Site of Parma

Your cycling tour ends in Parma. Enjoy this lovely city in the morning – with your newly refined palate, hit the shop or market and take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen!

PLEASE NOTE: The final itinerary, including hotels and/or activities described here, are subject to change according to availability. City hotel taxes are not included.

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.

Pre-trip planning checklist

Italy travel planning page

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