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 for a surcharge. If you start this tour on a day other than Monday, some of the optional services may not be available due to businesses being closed.
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 at a local trattoria may be booked in advance as part of the optional dinner package.
Overnight in Bologna
Day 2: Bologna Loop (16-28 miles/25-45 km)
This morning you may book an optional cooking class to learn a few secrets from local artisans (not included in tour package price; may be booked in advance). 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)
As you get rolling today, you have an opportunity to taste the history of gelato at the Carpigiani Gelato Museum (not included in tour package price; may be booked in advance as part of the "artisan food producer visit" service. Gelato Museum is closed on Sundays/Mondays). 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 (not included in tour package price; may be booked in advance as part of the "artisan food producer visit" service). 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 at the agriturismo may be booked in advance as part of the optional dinner package (dinner is not available on Sundays/Mondays).
Overnight in Reggio Emilia
Day 5: Reggio Emilia – Parma (39 miles/62 km)
Get an early start this morning to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheesemaker on your way out this morning (not included in tour package price; may be booked in advance as part of the "artisan food producer visit" service. Cheesemaker is closed Saturdays/Sundays). 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.
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 salami--taste them in this historic setting! Enjoy time in the historic center and delight your palate with Parma's signature cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, eaten as an aperitif or perhaps sprinkled on homemade pasta dishes. Aperitif and dinner in Parma may be booked in advance as part of the optional dinner package.
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!