Lower Parma Cycle Route, which links Parma to Busseto for 80 km, following cycle paths and tracks parallel to the Great River.
Download the free app at www.foodvalleybike.com and you will find useful information on all the sites of gastronomic, environmental and cultural interest along the route, as well as craft and commercial activities, services and accommodation facilities.
It starts from Parma, heart of the Food Valley, UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy and Italian Capital of Culture 2020+2021, the production territory of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, pasta and Prosciutto di Parma, to follow the Reggio Emilia side of the Enza river and reach Coenzo, where the Casa delle Contadinerie ethnographic museum is located.
The route continues towards Mezzani to explore the Parma Morta Natural Oasis, a precious testimony to the ancient river dynamics of the Po Valley.
The Food Valley Bike then continues towards Colorno, where you can visit the splendid Reggia di Colorno, the Versailles of the Dukes of Parma, and then in the direction of Sissa Trecasali, a place where you can taste the rare Spalla Cruda di Palasone, a typical cured meat that dates back to the early Middle Ages, after visiting the Rocca dei Terzi, with its 27-metre high tower from which to admire the countryside.
You cannot miss a stop in Zibello, after visiting Roccabianca with its castle, to taste the delicious Culatello di Zibello DOP, perhaps accompanied by a glass of Fortana wine, and to discover the ancient ageing cellars and the Museum of Culatello and Masalen of the Antica Corte Pallavicina di Polesine Parmense.
From this 14th-century castle (where it is also possible to rent bicycles) starts a 15 km alternative route that crosses the 'Po forest', the farm's floodplain where black pigs live wild.
The arrival is in Busseto, in whose hamlet Roncole the maestro Giuseppe Verdi was born. His history and music are alive in the town, rich in the places symbolic of his art.
Here, not to be missed, among other delicacies, is Spongata, a typical sweet.
Verdi's places are also traversed by one of Pedalart's 19 cycling routes, covering 1,200 km in the provinces of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia.
Slow thematic itineraries, different and captivating, to cycle among the arts, history, castles, parish churches, spas, museums and flavours of Emilia.
And to get directions, rent bikes, find bike-friendly accommodation and restaurants, and expert cycling guides, you can contact Parma By Bike, a Product Club that offers cycling tourism in its various forms, from road bikes to e-bikes, from mountain bikes to gravel bikes, and racing bikes.
The Museums of Food bike circuit routes, which complement the Pedalart itineraries and were created in collaboration with FIAB, run on low-traffic roads in the foothills of Parma and the Po River.
The first, departing from the Fidenza train station, leads to the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum in Soragna and the Culatello Museum in Polesine Parmense, passing Busseto.
Two museums on the banks of the Great River, revealing a magical and unexpected world, and a great bike path.
To visit the Pasta Museum and the Tomato Museum, leave from the Parma train station to pedal along the Taro Valley and reach the ancient Corte Grancia della Benedettina di San Paolo di Collecchio.
Attraversando il Parco regionale dei Boschi di Carrega, storica tenuta di caccia dei Duchi Farnese si giunge poi al Museo del Vino, nelle suggestive cantine della Rocca Sanvitale di Sala Baganza, emozionante per gli affreschi e gli ambienti del piano nobile.
Sui primi colli, i vigneti di Malvasia e il ricordo tangibile della visita di Garibaldi.
È il Castello di Felino ad accogliere il Museo del Salame di Felino, meta di un altro bellissimo percorso in bici che parte dalla stazione di Parma e passa per il Castello di Torrechiara, fino al Museo del Prosciutto di Langhirano, in cui vivere la storia del re dei salumi.
Per visitare il Museo del Fungo Porcino bisogna invece seguire l’anello dell’Alta Val Taro, con partenza dalla stazione di Borgotaro per pedalare nel centro storico, ricco di palazzi signorili, di memorie legate ad Elisabetta Farnese e di chiese pregevoli.
D’obbligo poi una tappa a Compiano con l’antico borgo e il Castello e a Bedonia con l’antico Seminario di San Marco.
In the hills where Prosciutto di Parma is born, the path Sentiero d'Arte is beautiful to follow on an e-bike. The route winds its way through vineyards and fine artistic wonders.
Mounted in the saddle, we start from the Abbey of Santa Maria della Neve in Langhirano, an architectural gem commissioned by Pier Maria Rossi, which has traversed the centuries unscathed with its Baroque frescoes, refectory, belvedere and cloister.
But along the itinerary, there are several works by contemporary artists to admire, set against a natural backdrop in which several native varieties have been planted, which design the landscape that follows the San Michele Canal to the village and the beautiful Torrechiara Castle, the scene of the love story between Pier Maria Rossi and Bianca Pellegrini.
Continuing through vineyards and fields, the grand finale is the town of Langhirano, home of the Parma Ham Museum.
An app allows visitors to explore various aspects of the places they pass through, thanks to technological and augmented reality tools scattered along the itinerary.
There is an e-bike rental service in Torrechiara, which is also a starting point for visiting salumifici, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factories, wineries, prosciuttifici and participating in tasty sports and food and wine tours.
To explore the Parma Apennines along trails used since ancient times, there is the Grande Giro MTB (Gran tour), an itinerary composed of main stretches and loops connecting different municipalities in the area, with the freedom to choose starting points and stages.
Routes that cross beautiful landscapes and touch on Calestano, Corniglio, Langhirano, Lesignano de’ Bagni, Monchio delle Corti, Neviano degli Arduini, Palanzano and Tizzano Val Parma.
Along the Great River, a beautiful route is the Via Po, a 110-kilometre-long cycle tourism itinerary that follows the right bank of the river, skirting the city of Piacenza and offering a different view of the Emilian territory.
Along the river, it is worth stopping at Serafini Island, the only inhabited island on the Po, where the basin allows boats to continue their navigation to the delta.
In addition to cycling, it is also possible to immerse oneself in the river landscape by hiking or boating and thanks to activities organised in collaboration with the Adda Sud Park.
Another stop not to be missed is the Giarola Island Park, where the lake, dotted with water lilies and water chestnuts, meets the typical flora of the area in which elms and poplars grow.
Bicycle routes, which can be hired on site, lead to the discovery of the park and the shores of the lake, and it is nice to stop to catch a glimpse of some of the animals of the area's rich fauna: ducks, herons, swans and even wild rabbits, which keep company with the trout, catfish, sturgeon and pike that populate the waters.
Cycling in nature stimulates the appetite. And in this part of Emilia you will be spoilt for choice: don't miss the cacio del Po and the PDO cheeses from Piacenza, from the famous Grana Padano to Provolone Val Padana.
Delicacies to be savoured in combination with Colli Piacentini PDO wines.
The route is ideal for cultural stops at gems such as the Castle of San Pietro in Cerro, which houses ancient and modern treasures in the Sala delle Armi and the MIM, Museum in Motion, a constantly evolving collection of over 1,500 works by contemporary masters.
More than 560 km of trails that can be travelled on foot, by mountain bike and on horseback wind through the splendid landscapes of the Nure Valley.
These are the itineraries of the Comprensorio Outdoor Alta Val Nure Trail Valley, a network of paths, designed for everyone, that connects the 4 municipalities of Ponte dell'Olio, Bettola, Farini and Ferriere and covers over 400 square kilometres in terms of territorial extension.
Pedalling along you will come across refuges, restaurants and trattorias for tasty stops based on local De.co products such as tortelli con la coda from Vigolzone, bortellina bettolese, potato cake from Farini, fig cake from Albarola, but also polenta and many delicacies, such as the ever-present and renowned Salumi Piacentini.
Typical recipes to be accompanied by the excellent Colli Piacentini DOP wines.
And don't forget to stop at the villages, castles and museums guarded by this valley, such as the magnificent Rivalta Castle, the tower house of Christopher Columbus in Pradello, the 'F. Pizzamiglio' Vine and Wine Museum at the La Tosa Winery.
But also the Castle of Grazzano Visconti, the fulcrum of the beautiful medieval village, in which to take a journey back in time, to discover, while walking among authentic medieval architecture and suggestions, that it was born from the dream of Duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Following the Great River, other fascinating places are revealed by cycling, such as those that lead from Brescello to Lido di Boretto, and then on to Gualtieri, Guastalla and Luzzara, in the Reggio Emilia area.
A route of about 25 km, which is part of the famous Eurovelo 8 and Ciclovia Po itineraries, which can be easily cycled by downloading the free "Terre di Po in Bici" app.
From the centre of Brescello, the town of 'Don Camillo and Peppone', a place of cinematic charm, but also of historic vinegar cellars to visit to learn more about the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia, we proceed to the Lido di Boretto to explore the Regional River Tourist Port, located in the central stretch of the Po River, which crosses the entire region.
The Po guides cycling enthusiasts towards Gualtieri and its majestic Piazza Bentivoglio, with a stop at the Museum dedicated to the painter Antonio Ligabue.
The itinerary then turns towards Guastalla, immersing itself in landscapes dominated by woods, poplar groves and floodplains to finally reach Luzzara, the birthplace of Zavattini, home of naïve painters.
Biker trails can be found throughout the Reggio Emilia Apennines, in the municipalities of Carpineti, Casina, Castelnovo ne' Monti, Ventasso, Vetto, Villa Minozzo and Toano.
They are downloadable, signposted and organised by difficulty and distance categories at www.Appenninoreggianobike.it: 785 kilometres, 37 routes of various levels, 15 high mountain routes.
The site includes a section with a list of bike-friendly accommodation facilities, guides and electric recharging stations for e-bikes, all immersed in the Matilda castles and historic villages of the Apennines, where you can sit in a good restaurant or sleep in a cosy structure surrounded by greenery, all the way to the ridge trails.
One of the routes mapped on the site is the Alta Via delle Sorgenti, which offers more than 50 km of cycling in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park, joining eight passes above 1,200 meters. A beautiful loop composed of forest roads and trails, with clearly legible signage and several variants that allow even families with children to follow various routes.
You can start from different points in the Ventasso Municipality to pedal in the upper valley of the Secchia River and its tributaries, perhaps from the tourist resort of Cerreto Laghi, among the most important in the Apennines for winter skiing, a crossroads between Emilia, Liguria and Tuscany, where there is a well-equipped e-bike rental and a guided hiking service.
It rises within a system of small lakes formed by the melting of ancient glaciers.
In addition to Lake Cerretano, there are Lakes Scuro, Le Gore and Pranda.
The latter is a nice stop on the tour, which can then continue by exploring the wild Riarbero Valley, and continue by reaching the Pradarena Pass, the highest point of the route at an elevation of 1,600 meters.
This is a land that offers wonderful landscapes and ancient villages to the eyes and immortal flavors to the palate, such as Parmigiano Reggiano DOP mountain cheese, Pecorino dell'Appennino Reggiano, Trota Fario and Pancetta Canusiana (Traditional Agri-food Products).
Taste stops are ideal for trying dishes based on chestnuts and castagnaccio, or Ventasso saffron and woodland delicacies such as porcini mushrooms, not to mention the typical mountain erbazzone with rice.
To get around better, there is, in addition to the map, the Sentieri Appennino (Apennine Trails) app available to download to your smartphone, to plan a hike in stages, depending on your preparedness.
It is worth stopping in the historic villages of Cerreto Alpi and Vallisnera.
From Piacenza to Reggio Emilia there are four beautiful bike routes within the parks and nature reserves of Emilia.
These are the Ciclovie dei Parchi, also designed for less experienced bikers, with one- or half-day stages.
For each cyclovia there are online fact sheets with information on length, elevation gain, degree of difficulty, ride times, main destinations of cultural and historical interest, and a number of useful contact information along the way, maps with GPS directions to download.
The Stirone River Ciclovia, in the Stirone and Piacenzano Regional Park, winds for 42 km following the stream of the same name through varied landscapes that go from fields to large oak and mulberry trees to the hilly forests that cover the Vigoleno heights, passing through the Stirone's riverine environment, nestled between steep escarpments and with constant patches of willows and poplars.
There is no shortage of cultural stops in Fidenza, Vigoleno and Salsomaggiore Terme.
The Taro River Cycle Route, in the Taro Regional Fluvial Park, runs from Collecchio to Corte di Giarola, to reach the monastic centre of Oppiano, a stopping point for pilgrims travelling on foot along the Via Francigena. From here you can continue towards Gaiano and connect to the Boschi di Carrega cycle route or head towards Fornovo, towards the Guatelli Museum in the hamlet of Ozzano Taro.
Just a few kilometres from Parma, you can immerse yourself in the extensive woods, meadows and small ponds of the Boschi di Carrega Regional Park, crossed by the cycle route of the same name, which allows you to admire architectural emergencies such as the Villa Casino dei Boschi, one of the most beautiful regional residences, built in the 18th century by the French architect Ennemond Alexandre Petitot on the commission of Maria Amalia, daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria, but above all natural wonders, among oak, chestnut and conifer woods, populated by roe deer, woodpeckers and many woodland animals.
There are several itineraries on two wheels, such as the one through the centuries-old 'Faggeta di Maria Amalia' and the 'Giardino Monumentale'.
The Trebbia Cycle Route is characterised by different environments: from the urban environment of Piacenza's historic city centre to the dirt roads of the Trebbia River Regional Park.
Leaving the city in a southerly direction, crossing the outskirts on a protected cycle path, after Gossolengo, continue to Case Buschi where you can stop to enjoy the magnificent view of the river environment and the Rivalta Castle on the opposite bank.
We leave the riverbank to enter tomato cultivations.
The view of the bell tower of the Church of S. Patrizio indicates the arrival at Roveleto Landi, to continue along the dirt road embellished by the new cycle/pedestrian bridge over the Rio Cassa, as far as the gates of Pieve Dugliara, where a diversion to the right downhill leads back to the river.
We then reach Rivergaro on a cart road and proceed along the Trebbia in the pedestrianised riparian area.