There aren’t any official statistics on how many bicycles are used in Emilia-Romagna simply because everyone cycles there, young and old.
So, it’s no coincidence that Ferrara is called the “Italian bicycle city”, with one of Europe’s highest rates of bicycle use per citizen.
You don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy cycling. You’ll love it if you’re simply after an active holiday or are a fan of outdoor living. Travelling slowly through this territory on two wheels is the best way to discover its secrets and fall in love with the landscape.
A region to explore by bike
For either a short excursion or a full holiday, cyclists will relish the entire region from Piacenza to Rimini, with its fields, rolling hills and steep inclines.
There are loads of routes to choose from. Whether you’re a family with small children, a habitual cyclist or someone in search of a challenge and want to see amazing places, there’s a route just right for you.
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of time on your hands, you can come to this region directly by bike, following the long Eurovelo cycle paths that traverse the entire European continent down to the shores of the Mediterranean.
The Eurovelo 5 (i.e. the Via Francigena), the Eurovelo 8, the Eurovelo 7 and the Ciclovia Adriatica along the Romagna coastline all pass through Emilia-Romagna.
On the other hand, if you don’t have much time, you can always arrive by car or train and begin your trip from here. In the last few years, many tour operators have begun welcoming cyclists by outfitting their hotels with bike racks, repair facilities, bike washing and other services designed specifically for visitors travelling on two wheels.
Itineraries through mountains and plains
In Romagna, the land of the great cyclist Marco Pantani, the range of routes is impressive, spanning from the Po Delta Park down to the Conca Valley’s charming villages. They pass by: cities famous for their art, such as Ferrara, Ravenna, Rimini and Cesena; unique oases like the Saline di Cervia [Cervia's salt pans]; the lovely hills around Forlì; Marecchia’s cycle paths; and to say nothing of the Adriatic Sea's golden beaches. You’ll see all of this while enjoying the delicious local food and wine.
Emilia is just as wonderful. Here too, you’ll find numerous routes amidst beautiful scenery. Travel through the lower Po Valley surrounded by poplars, fortresses and palaces on the banks of the Po River, up the steep mountainsides in the Frignano Regional Park, and onto the hills, ravines, vineyards and castles surrounding Bologna.
There are ten Ciclovie dei Parchi [Parks’ Cycle Paths] routes that traverse the area and its regional nature reserves. Enjoy the delicious scenery of the hill country and the plains, then take a few breaks to discover the natural beauty, history and architecture along the way.
If you prefer dirt roads to asphalt, there are various types of well-marked trails inside of Emilia-Romagna’s parks. In summer, Cimone Bike Park, in the province of Modena, offers an impressive variety of routes made for mountain biking.
In Maiolo, on the Rimini side of the Apennines, you’ll find Valmarecchia Bike Park with over 15,000 metres of breathtaking “downhill” and enduro routes, also open for night riding.
Every year Emilia-Romagna hosts several sporting events.
There’s the classic Giro d’Italia, which always passes through Emilia-Romagna, the famous Nove Colli di Cesenatico, the Granfondo via del Sale di Cervia, the “Cassani” di Faenza, the “Città di Riccione”, the Granfondo del Po di Ferrara, the Granfondo degli Squali in Cattolica, the Dieci Colli di Bologna, the Granfondo del Capitano, the Granfondo Pantani and finally, the Mountain Bike “Appenninica”.
Last but not least, there’s a proper festival on the beach in Rimini entirely dedicated to cyclists: it's the Italian Bike Festival, where you can celebrate every aspect of the world of cycling and its heroes.