Emilia Romagna, a region with a strong identity based on the warm and welcoming character of its people, boasts among its "pearls", unique art cities lined up along the Via Emilia (historical Roman road). Cycling in Emilia Romagna means breathing the history of unique UNESCO World Heritage sites, discovering ancient routes between fortresses, castles and abbeys leading through valleys, open plains and century-old forests, criss-crossing the hills or following the magnificent coastline.
In total, there are 8,000 kilometres (~5,000 miles) of cycling routes on roads, paths and off-road tracks for bike and mountain bike enthusiasts. They are low traffic routes covering the nine provinces of the region: many are signposted, others can be identified with the help of a GPS navigation system, guides or detailed maps. They vary in distance, elevation gain and gradient and are suitable for three different types of cyclists: dedicated cyclists who practice cycling as a sport, leisure cyclists who like to go on excursions by bike and the mountain bike lovers.
Emilia Romagna Cycling is famous for its cycling champions, ranging from the unforgettable Marco Pantani, known as 'Il Pirata' because of his shaved head and the bandana and earrings he always wore, to the new coach of the Italian national cycling team, Davide Cassani. As an authentic "Romagnolo" (man from Romagna) his adventure in the world of cycling started exactly on the cycling trails of this region: kilometre after kilometre he pedalled to success until finally becoming the head coach of the Italian national team!
Emilia Romagna Cycling again welcomes the Giro d’Italia with 4 stages in May 2021 – After the "big start" of 2019 in Bologna and the 3 stages last October 2020, the 2021 edition of the Giro d'Italia will cross Emilia Romagna again with four fascinating stages: the fourth Piacenza-Sestola (186 km - ~116 mi - with many hills on May 11), the fifth Modena-Cattolica (175 km - ~109 mi - with a finish very much suitable for the sprinters on May 12), the twelfth will from Siena to Bagno di Romagna in amazing route (209 km - ~130 mi on May 20) between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, and the last one on May 21, the “Dante Alighieri Stage” (198 km - ~123 mi) from Ravenna to Verona and dedicated to the 700th anniversary of the poet buried in Ravenna.
In addition to the Giro d’Italia and after the great successful World UCI Championship 2020 in Imola last September 2020, the beautiful region of Emilia Romagna prepares to host thousands of cycling enthusiasts for an exciting calendar of events throughout 2021:
- May 16 will welcome the Granfondo degli Squali in Cattolica
- June will be packed with races: the Granfondo Ride Riccione (June 6), The Granfondo del Po in Ferrara (June 13), the Granfondo Cassani in Faenza on (June 19) and the Italian Championship in Imola (on the UCI World Championship route, June 20).
- September 26 will welcome the 50th edition of the Nove Colli di Cesenatico, with over 12,000 participants from more than 50 countries to take part in one of the two routes - a 204 km (~127 mi) longer ride or a shorter 130 km (~81 mi) ride to accommodate several levels of cyclists - departing from the Porto Canale in Cesenatico and finishing at the beautiful Carducci Promenade.
- On October 10, the Granfondo Via del Sale will take place in Cervia (4,500 riders and two difficult and hilly routes) and on October 17, Bologna will host the 36th edition of the famous Granfondo Dieci Colli.
The 3th edition of the Italian Bike Festival will be held in Rimini from September 10 - 12; the biggest outdoor cycling expo will feature more than 300 of the most important international brands.
Via Romagna – A new cycling route projected to be completed in 2021, this protected and mapped route of 512 km (318 mi) will combine the most fascinating areas rich in history and tradition: from the Valleys on the Delta del Po (starting from Comacchio), to the Apennines on the border with Tuscany, the route will cross splendid medieval villages, the "Sangiovese valley", the Natural Park of the Casentinesi Forests, the Republic of San Marino, to the south with the Riviera on the border with the "San Bartolo Natural Park". A "Sea & Hills" itinerary will in the short term be marketed by the Consortium of specialized Terrabici bike hotels. www.terrabici.com
The Ciclovia del Sole – Starting from mid-April, this route - beginning in Verona and crossing Emilia Romagna on the old railways connecting Bologna to Verona before finishing in Firenze (Florence) - will feature, 46 km (~29 mi) of a brand new cycling path connecting 8 towns in the region: Anzola dell’Emilia, Camposanto, Crevalcore, Mirandola, Sala Bolognese, San Felice sul Panaro, San Giovanni in Persiceto e Sant’Agata Bolognese. Ciclovia del Sole will represent a great opportunity to increase bike tourism in the areas surrounding Bologna and Modena.
Vie di Dante Bike Route– In celebration of the Dante Aligheri 700th anniversary, May 2021 will see the opening of a new cycling path connecting Ravenna to Firenze. The almost 200 km (~124 mi) route will offer an ideal cycling journey dedicated to the famous “Divine Comedy” poet buried in Ravenna and who lived in Firenze (Florence). The route will cross the Apennines, passing from Brisighella, Castrocaro, Dovadola, Marradi, before finally landing in Tuscany.
The Apennines by Mountain Bike - The Emilia Romagna part of the Apennine Mountains offers mountain bikers and cycle excursionists a great range of choice when it comes to active itineraries and destinations. Many tour operators belonging to the product promotion association "Appennino e Verde" (Apennines & Nature) present sport events and special accommodation packages for MTB enthusiasts.
In summer, many of them enjoy rushing down the trails of the "Cimone Bike Park", in the province of Modena, using the ski lifts equipped with a bicycle rack to take them back to the top. The Bike Park is open from May till September and even on weekends in October or even later, weather conditions permitting. The Bike Park area on Mount Cimone boasts various downhill trails built with wooden boardwalks, bridges and ramps for jumps. The park also includes playgrounds for kids and areas for mountain bike courses in total safety.
In another part of the Apennines near Rimini, a great new MTB park has been created at Maiolo: the "Valmarecchia Bike Park''. It is the first completely "smart" bike park in Italy. It covers an area of approx. 15,000 m2 (~161,459 ft² ) and offers MTB fans a breathtaking “downhill” trail (1,500 metres/4,921 feet), an Enduro track and, thanks to the "powerline" technology, even an intelligent illumination by night.
Slow Bike and interregional itineraries - To provide optimal promotion for the urban itineraries traversing the historical towns of the Emilia Romagna region by bicycle, the product promotion association "Città d’Arte, Cultura e Affari" in collaboration with APT Servizi Emilia Romagna (the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board) has produced a 32-page brochure titled "Vacanza bike tra i colori dell’arte" (Cycling holidays among the colours of art) which can be downloaded (in Italian) as a PDF file from the website: http:// www.cittadarte.emilia-romagna.it
The most popular Slow Bike itineraries are through the vast area of the Po River Valley with its fascinating delta. Excellent alternatives are the interregional itineraries: the Coast-to-Coast route divided into various stages linking the Adriatic Sea to the Tyrrhenian Sea and passing through great part of Emilia Romagna and Tuscany; the Garda Lake-Coast route with starting point at Ferrara and ending at the beautiful Garda Lake; the Adria Bike route from Ravenna to wonderful Venice; and the art and history route in the footsteps of the famous early Renaissance Italian painter Piero della Francesca, from Rimini to Urbino in the Marche region.
Bike Hotels, hospitality and warm welcome combined with efficiency - In Emilia Romagna a great number of special Bike Hotels and some other 200 hotels offer tailor-made services to cycling tourists. The special "bike" services include bicycle rental and storage, technical assistance, and everything for the wellbeing of the cyclist, from massage to customized meals. Furthermore, the hotels organize daily bike outings with "guides" or can provide cyclists with itineraries on GPS systems and maps.
Terrabici, the regional consortium dedicated to the world of cycling - The tour operators in Emilia Romagna specializing in cycle tourism have recently founded "Terrabici", a regional consortium (currently 43 hotels) and product club dedicated to offering all kinds of bike tourism services.
“Terrabici” is tasked with promoting the bike destinations of Emilia Romagna on an international level by presenting unique offers for a continuously growing cycle tourism demand (www.terrabici.com). The positive trend is confirmed by statistical data: in 2013 Emilia Romagna was the second most important region of Italy after Trentino Alto Adige in terms of the quantity of cycle tourists. (300,000 arrivals of bike tourists have been registered resulting in a total of approximately 1.4 million tourist stays.) 85% of these tourists come from abroad (mainly from Germany, Benelux, Austria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, USA, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia) and find accommodation in the 300 specialized regional hotels.
The consortium is a breakthrough novelty for Italy as it is the first product club uniting operators of all sectors interested in this tourism market segment.
For further information on Emilia Romagna, visit www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en