Sun, sand and sea — the perfect trio. But Emilia Romagna has so much more to offer to make this region in Northern Italy one of the top destinations for road cyclists. Here, the moment you arrive that vacation feeling will let all any stress you're carrying melt away. And not only in summer: Even in the spring and autumn, when mass tourism takes a break, you'll find almost perfect conditions for road cycling, as well as glorious beaches and stunning mountains. And that's exactly why we've put together seven varied rides for you, ranging from relaxing rolls to full-day cycling marathons.
Due to the immense conditions, cycling is incredibly popular here. Although its popularity is also down to another reason: One of the greatest cycling heroes Italy ever had lived here. Tour de France legend Marco Pantani was born in Cesena, lived and trained in Emilia Romagna and knew every climb like the back of his hand. His legacy perfectly represents the unbroken passion the people of this region have for cycling. Various monuments and even a museum commemorate the life of the tragic hero who died in Rimini in 2004. There are countless hotels with special offers for road cyclists and various bike-oriented events take place throughout the year. The most famous is the Gran Fondo Nove Colli, a cycling marathon of more than 125 miles (200 kilometers) with nine steep climbs and more than ten thousand participants.
The topography of Emilia Romagna is extremely varied and offers ideal opportunities for beginners and professionals alike. If you like it flat, the long coastline is perfect for riding. Towards the south and west, a beautiful hilly and mountainous landscape awaits you, where you can collect some elevation and enjoy great views. Here, you'll also have a huge choice of accommodation: If you like it central, busy and with a place to enjoy that vacation feeling at the beach, the tourist places at the Adria are suitable in the best way. If, on the other hand, you are looking for peace and quiet and would like to start directly from the hotel into the lonely hilly landscape, you should look out for a hotel or agriturismo in small towns such as Bertinoro, Fratte Terme or Meldola. In any case, the offer is ample and available in every price range.
You also have a free choice when it comes to arrival: The fastest way is by plane to Parma, Bologna or Rimini.
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Emilia Romagna was the home of Italian cycling legend Marco Pantani. This tour follows its tracks and it starts at the start. Today it's off in Cesena, the birthplace of the racer. Like Pantani once, you now roll through the narrow, cozy streets or across the piazza and maybe you treat yourself to a good coffee in this typical Italian atmosphere without any touristy bells and whistles.