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.