11 Days Culinary Holiday and Cycling Tour in Italy

  • Cremona - Sabbioneta - Parma - Reggio Emilia - Modena - Bologna - Faenza - Brisighella

Overview

Italy Cycling Tour and Cooking Holiday

On this amazing bicycle tour, you will ride through Italy's premier pasta region, sampling some of the most delicious dishes while you ride along, discovering venue after venue. Every day of pedaling will not only take you on behind-the-scenes visits to parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and wine makers, but also to ancient castles and UNESCO world heritage sites. Here, history, art, culture, and tradition conspire to make this tour unforgettable!

Highlights

  • Cooking demonstration
  • Cycling on paths along the Po River
  • Balsamic vinegar tour in a historical vinegar cellar
  • Visit Cremona, where the creamy Italian nougat is made
  • Sample the famous Parma cured ham and Parmesan cheese
  • Guided tour of Sabbioneta and Bologna
  • Prosciutto di Parma making workshop
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 11 days with instruction
  • English
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Accommodations will consist of comfortable lodgings in 3 to 4-star hotels located in or near the town square with easy access to popular cafs and bars. They are typically small, family-run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture. Rooms will include a private bath. The hotels you will be staying in include the Dellearti Design Hotel in Cremona, the Albergo Giulia Gonzaga in Sabbioneta, Hotel Button in Parma, the Agriturismo la Razza in Reggio nell'Emilia, Hotel Canalgrande in Modena, Hotel dei Commercianti in Bologna, and Hotel Vittoria in Faenza.

Day 1

You will arrive in Cremona, home of the noble tradition of violin making. You will visit a workshop to learn how Antonio Stradivarius raised violin-making to an art form and taste some torrone, the creamy nougat made from honey, nuts, and egg white, in one of the several pasticcerie in town. In the afternoon, you will meet for your bike fitting at the hotel. After enjoying an aperitivo together with your group, you will celebrate the beginning of the culinary experience with a welcome dinner.

Distance pedaled: Test Ride

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2

On the second day, you will cycle along quaint bike paths along the Po River to the town of Sabbioneta, a UNESCO world heritage site. Inside the well-preserved walls, you will have a guided tour to see the architectural jewels of the town such as the Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo del Giardino, and Teatro Olimpico as a group.

Distance pedaled: 57 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3

You will head south to Parma, one of the undisputed culinary capitals of Italy, through pleasant country roads where you can catch a glimpse of the local farm life. Your journey will take you to the ducal palace of Colorno. You will continue on to Parma, a city where your taste buds will not be disappointed. It is a city where the arts have flourished; Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of the most famous citizens. There you can take a stroll around the historical center before having dinner together with the group.

Distance pedaled: 58 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Day 4

The ride will begin with a loop to the breathtaking castle of Torrechiara. This area is famous for its cured prosciutto and local salame, which you will have the chance to taste at lunch. Afterwards, you will return to Parma, where, if you are still hungry, your tour leaders will suggest places to try for dinner.

Distance pedaled: 48 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 5

You will stop at a salumificio to see how they make prosciutto di Parma before heading to Reggio Emilia around lunch time. You will continue on your way along back roads and bike paths to reach the agriturismo, a country house hotel with a working farm, where you will stay for the night. Dinner will be served together with the group at the agriturismo.

Distance pedaled: 66 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Day 6

You will have an early start this morning to observe the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker on your way out of the agriturismo. A guided tour by the proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese. Another culinary mystery will be unveiled later as you stop at an acetaia, a traditional balsamic vinegar factory to learn how leftover grapes are transformed into the sweet and rich vinegar that can sometimes be worth hundreds of dollars. A picnic lunch will follow the visit to the acetaia before continuing on to Modena.

Distance pedaled: 50 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 7

You will leave Modena along a rails-to-trails bike path that will lead you to the fortress town of Bazzano, a great spot for a morning snack before enjoying the great views along the hills on your way to Bologna, your destination for the night. You will stop at the University of Gelato at the Gelato Lab to learn how to make gelato, and to enjoy the fruit of your efforts. You will complete the day with a guided visit of this great city before having dinner together with the group.

Distance pedaled: 67 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Day 8

The eighth day is a rest day which will be spent in Bologna, Emilia Romagna's administrative capital, and, arguably, its culinary capital too. Here you may join the tour guides for a cooking demonstration to learn a few secrets from the local artisans. In the afternoon, you can enjoy a stroll through the historic center and its porticoes.

Distance pedaled: No ride today

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9

You will leave the bustling Bologna in the morning and work your way to the foothills of the Apennines near Castel San Pietro Terme, where you will visit a winery. You will learn about Sangiovese, Pignoletto, Albana and all the wines that represent the core production of Romagna hills. Lunch will be served together with the group at the winery. A shuttle to Faenza will be provided after lunch to take you to your new home for the next two nights. Once there, you can enjoy a stroll in town, have an organic gelato or visit the International Ceramic Museum.

Distance pedaled: 51 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 10

Your ride for the day will take you through the medieval village of Brisighella, famous for the production of extra virgin olive oil, as you make your way towards the Experience Plus headquarters in the middle of a plum and peach orchard and vineyards for a late lunch. Once back in Faenza, you will have time to visit the sites that you missed the day before, including one of the best ceramic studios.

Distance pedaled: 50 kilometers

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11

The cycling tour will end in Faenza, where, with a refined palate, you can head out and explore more of Italy's culinary delights while keeping in mind to also take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen.

Meals included: Breakfast

  • Cycle along the Po River
  • Explore the countryside of Reggio Emilia
  • Travel to Faenza
  • Travel to Modena
  • Travel to Parma
  • Visit Bologna
  • Visit the castles of Sabbioneta and Colorno
  • Visits to various wineries, cheese makers, and artisans

Starting in the city of Cremona, famous for its nougat and age-old violin-making tradition, this bicycle tour weaves along the Po River, Italy's largest, to the castle and noble summer residences of Sabbioneta and Colorno before spending two nights in Parma. This city abounds in Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, and homemade pasta. Your route will then take you to the countryside of Reggio Emilia to a local agriturismo and then to Modena, another famous art city and balsamic maker, which offers plenty of views. Keep pedaling to Bologna, the capital of the area and home of Mortadella and all manners of more homemade pasta like tortellini, lasagne and tagliatelle. There you will visit a winery before heading to Faenza, where you can purchase some beautiful ceramics to display the culinary delights you will come to crave and dream about on this tour.

Activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fitness center
  • Gym
  • Hiking nearby
  • Horse riding / rental nearby
  • Massage nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa nearby
  • Swimming pool
  • Wine tasting / tour
General
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Bar
  • Caf
  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • In-room safe
  • Lobby
  • Lounge
  • Luggage room / storage
  • Mini bar
  • Multilingual staff
  • Restaurant
  • River nearby
Services
  • Art classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing nearby
  • Fitness center
  • Golf course nearby
  • Health club nearby
  • Hiking nearby
  • Massage nearby
  • Mountain biking nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa nearby
  • Swimming pool nearby
  • Tennis court nearby

Breakfast

These will usually be rich in carbohydrates, complete with breads, pastries, fruit and much needed beverage fuel, as well. Breakfasts may not always have an option for eggs, but there is almost always meat and cheese as a protein option.

Lunch

Most lunches on tour will be on your own, allowing you to ride at your own pace and not have to show up for a lunch date at a specific time. Once in a while there will be a lunch spot which will be part of the itinerary or you will be riding in a remote area that makes picnicking the best option. At those times, lunch will be served together with the group.

Dinner

Dinners will be an event worth waiting for. Meals are multiple courses and include wine or beer, depending on where you are touring. Dinners tend to be later in the evening, so expect to eat sometime after 19:00 and you will likely be at the table for a few hours. Sometimes though, it is nice to have a break from the group so the trip includes a few nights with dinner on your own. You will be provided with suggestions for any meal that is on your own, but feel free to explore by yourself as well.

Drinks

Wine will be served with dinner no matter where you are travelling and, in some cases, you will be offered both wine and beer. Of course, there will always be plenty of water on the table too.

  • Archery range
  • Ceramic classes
  • Golf course
  • Sample local cuisine
  • Shopping and sightseeing
  • Visit local museums
  • Visit local producers
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 picnics
  • 5 dinners
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 11 breakfasts
  • Assistance with flights, trains and booking extra nights
  • A complimentary gift
  • Bicycle tour training program
  • Bicycle with a computer so you can track your miles
  • Cooking demonstration in Bologna
  • Detailed route map
  • Entry to tastings and culinary visits
  • Full van support for luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Professional guides
  • Route alternatives for extra mileage
  • Tour planning tips
  • Unique routes, marked with chalk dust arrows, that ensure you will not get lost
  • Airfare
  • Extra meals
  • Helmets
  • Tour leader gratuity
  • Services and meals not listed specifically in the itinerary

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport is Parma Airport (PMF) which is 60 kilometers away from the hotel in Cremona.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Experience Plus an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Traveler from Australia

    "Great way to discover Rome. Incredibly organized, fantastic bikes, great lunch and knowledgeable guide. Highly recommended"

    TripAdvisor site, edited

  • Review by Royce A. Barrett

    "Fantastic adventure. I highly recommend this company for your next bike tour."

    Experience Plus Facebook , edited

  • Review by Nancy Ellen Harrison from Colorado, USA

    "I loved staying in charming hotels right in the center of town on my trip to Italy last summer! The other travelers on my culinary cycling trip to Emilia Romagno, Italy this summer were terrific travel partners! We made tortellini in our cooking class and a visit to a Parmesan processor was part of our tour to Emilia Romanga Italy last summer. I had such a great time on my trip with Experience Plus in Italy in July - cooking classes, Parmesan factory, balsamic processor, gelato university."

    Experience Plus Facebook page, edited

  • Review by John S.

    "I chose this company because I wanted a more personal tour experience and the 'mom and pop' side of the company seemed to fit the bill. I was very pleased with the experience. It was exactly what they promised and then some."

    Experience Plus website, edited

  • Review by Steve B.

    "I felt like I had the best benefits of a group tour, like logistics, preplanning, support during the day, luggage handling, meeting new people and the benefits of independent travel, in that I could ride on my own, at my own pace, and see the towns we stayed at as I saw fit, without being stuck with a group if I did not want to. A hard balance to achieve, but achieved it was."

    Experience Plus website, edited

  • Review by Karen L.

    "The tour was excellent! Our tour guides were outstandingly knowledgeable of the region. They were awesome and exceptionally attentive to our needs and details of the trip. They truly made it a memorable experience!"

    Experience Plus website, edited

  • Review by JR M.

    "We surely broke the fun barrier with the most magnificent and memorable time that we ever had. I brought back with me the biking culture that I not only took part in, but observed all around me on a daily basis while on the Venice to Pisa bike tour. I thank Experience Plus tours, the absolutely wonderful guides, Sara and Lisa, and my riding group of Jen, Dean, Doug, Jill, Matt and Cheri, for the vacation of a lifetime!"

    Experience Plus website, edited

Colorado, United States

Experience Plus has been offering guided bicycle tours throughout the world since 1972.

Speaks English

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11 days / 10 nights

Departure:
Thursday June 1, 2017
(11 days / 10 nights)

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