Cycling Italy's Culinary Delights

Cycling Italy's 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!

***If this sounds great, but you'd like a longer tour check out our Cycling Italy's Culinary Delights Plus! the Farm tour, which adds 3 days to this itinerary.***

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Classic Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 345 km (213 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 57 km (35 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.5 Classic
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Cremona / Bologna
  • Price / From USD$3995
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Cremona - home to torrone or Italian nougat, Towns of Parma, Modena, and Bologna, Parma famous cured ham, Parmesan cheese, Castle Torrechiara, Violin workshop, Bologna

    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.

    • We highly recommend you spend an additional day in Cremona before the beginning of the tour. It's a true little gem to discover. For things to do, we recommend visiting the amazing Museo del Violino (note it is closed on Mondays). Read our article about Cremona here.
    • OSTERIA FRANCESCANA IN MODENA: This restaurant has been voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants! If you’d like to enjoy an evening here on your free night (Day 6), you will need to make reservations online in advance: www.osteriafrancescana.it
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; all breakfasts, 4 dinners, 3 lunches; cooking demonstration in Bologna; guided visit of Sabbioneta and Bologna; special culinary highlights and tastings listed in itinerary

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.5 difficulty level 1.5

    Perfect for cyclists who prefer non-hilly terrain. Bicycle paths allows us to share the region with other non-car tourists.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    57km / 221m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    3
    58km / 232m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    4
    45km / 247m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    5
    60km / 340m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    6
    50km / 189m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    7
    69km / 340m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    8
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
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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 the Museo del Violino 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 whites) 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.

DAY 2: Royal Court of Sabbioneta

Highlights: Guided visit to the violin lab, Po River valley, Gonzaga summer residence of Sabbioneta, guided tour of Sabbioneta

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: 57km (36mi)
  • Gain: 221m (725ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • 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: 58km (36mi)
  • Gain: 232m (761ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Loop ride to the castle of Torrechiara

Highlights: Parma hills, castle of Torrechiara, 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 restaurants for dinner.

  • Distance: 45km (28mi)
  • Gain: 247m (810ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: Ride to Reggio nell'Emilia countryside

Highlights: Stay in an agriturismo

We'll cycle to Montecchio today before heading to Reggio Emilia where you can grab lunch and explore this lovely village. Reggio Emilia was also known as the Tricolor town because it was here that the future Italian flag was first adopted in 1797. We'll continue along back roads and bike paths to reach our agriturismo, a country house/hotel with a working farm, where we'll stay tonight.

  • Distance: 60km (38mi)
  • Gain: 340m (1115ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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. The proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese on our guided tour. 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: 50km (31mi)
  • Gain: 189m (620ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Bicycle to Bologna

Highlights: Gelato Museum, Guided tour of Bologna

We leave Modena's Duomo and the Ghirlandaia tower along a rails to trails bike path that leads to the fortress town of Bazzano, a perfect spot for a morning snack before enjoying stunning views of the hills along our route to Bologna. However, there is a very important stop to make before our arrival in Bologna, the Gelato Museum! We'll have a guided tour of the museum and enjoy a tasting before continuing to Bologna. Later this afternoon we'll have a guided visit of this great city.

  • Distance: 69km (43mi)
  • Gain: 340m (1115ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Cremona

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on your itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

The airports closest to the tour start are

  • Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) and
  • Milano Malpensa (MXP) both of which are 2 to 3 hours from Cremona.
Note: If you are flying into Milan, note that flights from the U.S. arrive at the Malpensa Airport (MXP). Most European flights arrive at the Linate (LIN) airport.

Flying into BLQ

  1. Taxi from Bologna airport to the Bologna Centrale main train station (20 min/EUR 20-25) or Airport Shuttle Bus (Aerobus-BLQ), no pre-purchase necessary (20 min/EUR 6)
  2. Train from Bologna Centrale to Cremona (2.5 hours/fares vary)
Flying into MXP

  • If you stop over in Milan: Train rom Malpensa Aeroporto to Milano Centrale (www.malpensaexpress.it) (50 min/EUR 13)
  • If you continue directly to the tour start: Train from Malpensa Aeroporto to Cremona (you will still need to change trains at Milano Centrale) (2-3 hours/fares vary)

From the Cremona train station to the Day 1 Hotel

  • Taxi (5 min/EUR 8-10)
  • Look up Italian train schedules at Trenitalia.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

    Day 8: Departure Information

    Bologna - Tour End

    Your bicycle tour ends after the cooking lesson and lunch in Bologna, around 1:30 p.m.

    The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

    We recommend flying out of the Bologna Airport (BLQ).

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Bolgona Airport (20 min/EUR 20-25)
  • 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.

    • We highly recommend you spend an additional day in Cremona before the beginning of the tour. It's a true little gem to discover. For things to do, we recommend visiting the amazing Museo del Violino (note it is closed on Mondays). Read our article about Cremona here.
    • OSTERIA FRANCESCANA IN MODENA: This restaurant has been voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants! If you’d like to enjoy an evening here on your free night (Day 6), you will need to make reservations online in advance: www.osteriafrancescana.it

    Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

    To Do Today!

    3–6 Months Prior to Departure

    • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
    • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
    • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
    • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

    6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

    Day of Your Flight

    Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

    What to Expect on Tour

    Classic Tour Style

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

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    Map

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