This tour starts on Mondays to allow you to have the full benefit of all possible attractions and excursions. Starting on other days may be possible; please inquire.
Day 1: Arrive in Bologna
Arrive in Bologna and meet us for bike fitting and briefing. Bologna today is 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 ham! Make sure you put this culinary delight on your 'must try' list! Dinner may be booked for a surcharge.
Overnight in Bologna
Day 2: Bologna Loop (16-28 miles/25-45 km)
Learn a few secrets from local artisans this morning at a special cooking demonstration (must be booked in advance; cost not included in tour package price). You'll have time in the afternoon for a short loop ride that takes you on the hills south of Bologna, where Partisans were fighting during the Second World War.
Overnight in Bologna
Day 3: Bologna – Modena (39 miles/62 km)
Taste the history of gelato before enjoying great views along the hills. A rails-to-trails bike path will lead you out to the fortress town of Bazzano, before heading to Modena. Don't miss a visit to the historic center of this city.
Overnight in Modena
Day 4: Modena – Reggio Emilia countryside (32 miles/51 km)
Before heading out of Modena with your bicycle, we suggest a visit to 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.
Another culinary mystery is unveiled today as you 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 (must be booked in advance; cost not included in tour package price). Tradition is beautifully preserved here as the historic methods of production are still in use. You'll continue on along back roads to reach your agriturismo, a country house hotel with a working farm, where you'll stay tonight. Dinner may be booked for a surcharge.
Overnight in Reggio Emilia
Day 5: Reggio Emilia – Parma (39 miles/62 km)
Get up early to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker on your way out this morning (must be booked in advance; cost not included in tour package price). You'll ride along bike paths following an old railroad. Your destination is a city where your taste buds will not be disappointed. It is, however, a city where the arts flourished also outside of the kitchen: Parmigianino, Corregio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of the most famous citizens. Enjoy time in the historic center and delight your palate with Parma's signature cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, eaten as an aperitivo or perhaps sprinkled on homemade pasta dishes. Dinner may be booked for a surcharge.
Overnight in Parma
Day 6: Loop ride to Torrechiara Castle (30 miles/48 km)
Get ready for your last 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--taste them in this historic setting!
Overnight in Parma
Day 7: Departure
Your cycling tour ends in Parma. Now with a refined palate, shop well and take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen!