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.
Strictly speaking, Urbino and its surroundings are no longer part of Emilia Romagna but the Marche. So today you are going on a short excursion to the nearby neighboring region, which is in no way inferior to Emilia Romagna and just as good for racing. The tour is quite short with 66 kilometers, so you have enough time to stroll extensively through the beautiful city of Urbino and end the day here in peace. Definitely worth it: Urbino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Its narrow streets, all sorts of works of art and sights and last but not least, the magnificent view of the hills and valleys all around you will certainly captivate you.From Urbino it starts in easy up and down. On a well-developed road you come without great effort to Urbania, the city of pottery and jeans. From here you follow a small road to Peglio, where it is initially steep uphill. You drive along a ridge for a while, until you pass Sassocorvaro and descend quickly to Lago Mercatale, where the Foglia River is dammed up. If you are hungry, before leaving for the lake, you should turn to Sassocorvaro, where there are several options for a snack.Continue through the beautiful Foglia Valley. For about 20 kilometers, it is now mainly slightly downhill, so you can enjoy this section without great effort just. Only after you have left Gallo on the left and crossed the river, a small challenge awaits you: Back to Urbino is climbed again.
This tour takes you out of Emilia Romagna, even out of Italy. And that, without having to overcome great distances and without changing the beautiful, hilly landscape and the quiet roads. It makes possible a side trip to San Marino: The fifth smallest state in the world is completely enclosed by Italy and it is absolutely worth seeing. The eponymous capital of the republic is perched on Mount Titano 650 meters high and is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing.The tour is quite short but very hilly, so it still has it in it. It goes steadily up and down and in the end you have conquered over 1,500 meters in altitude not even 60 kilometers. Nevertheless, the distance is manageable and there is enough time for a long break in San Marino.The tour starts in the cozy village of Verucchio with a rapid descent into the valley of the river Marecchia. A short stretch of main road, then the route kinks on quiet country lanes, which offer you again and again wonderful views of the impressive Monte Titano, which today holds the longest climb of the tour for you. A curvy and sometimes quite steep road leads up to San Marino, where you can take some time to explore the narrow, picturesque streets with their small bars and sights. If you are in such a hurry, the village of Borgo Maggiore is no less a sightseeing alternative.Get out of San Marino and enjoy a ten kilometer downhill ride with always impressive views. High to Montescudo it gets steep again, before you drive the last 20 kilometers with leisurely ups and downs back to Verucchio.
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At the start of this tour, the holiday feeling is included. From the beginning to the end. The round starts in Riccione, right on the beach, where you can warm up for the first ten kilometers, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. How about an espresso in Rimini?The first 30 kilometers of the lap are quite flat and not demanding, so much so that you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the Italian flair, before heading into the hills behind Savignano sul Rubicone. A piece of cycling culture is the bonus of this tour: Through the beautiful place with its classic Italian buildings, the peloton of the Giro d'Italia has already rolled.Three climbs are on the menu today. Each time, the fantastic view of the green hills of Emilia Romagna awaits you, which is often the scene of a castle or a small town that creates excellent postcard motifs. Incidentally, after the first two ascents, you can reward yourself each time by stopping briefly for a cup of coffee. You can not get enough of that. After all, you're in Italy, where coffee is simply part of it and tastes incredibly good.After earning yourself around 1,000 meters in altitude on less than 30 kilometers, an enjoyable descent awaits you, which will take you back to the Adriatic coast, where you roll out the last 30 kilometers before landing on the beautiful sandy beach of Riccione. Probably you had enough coffee so far - so how about a reward ice cream now?
This tour starts right on the beach of Riccione overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Enjoy the sound of the waves again, before heading directly to the south-west and towards the rolling hills of Emilia Romagna. A special feature of this tour is that you go around San Marino. San Marino is the fifth smallest state in the world and completely surrounded by Italy. Characteristic is the Monte Titano, on which the town of San Marino is located, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and on the go you can always throw a look from afar.For you today is next to a few smaller climbs, especially the long climb up to Villagrande on the program, which brings you from sea level to a whopping 975 meters. But that also means that a breathtaking descent awaits you afterwards. Above all, the approach to San Leo and the magnificent view of the rock on which the town and the fortress are built, will impress you. Here you should definitely plan a little break to enjoy the extraordinary place and the great view in peace. You already have the demanding part of the tour here, so you can look forward to the pleasurable return to Riccione, for which we have planned a short detour to the beautiful village of Verucchio, which is well worth seeing.Back in Riccione you can roll along the beautiful beach promenade or enjoy the sunset over wine and a local dish in the beautiful harbor of the city. Here on the beach is the "Piadina" a typical dish of Emilia Romagna. This is a kind of flatbread, which is served with sausage, cheese or sardines and folded out of the hand is eaten.
Sand, beach and sun on the Adriatic are a fine thing. Mountains, rivers and forests but also! And that's exactly why this short but demanding tour leads through the Appenines, more specifically through the Tuscany-Romagna Apennines. The name says it all: Today you drive through the mountain range that separates Tuscany from Emilia Romagna.Here it is beautiful hilly - our short lap brings it to a whopping 1,440 vertical meters at just 61 kilometers in length. Your leg muscles are challenged today. No wonder that large sections of today's tour are always part of the Italian tour. Here and there street paintings testify to the largest Italian cycling event.It starts in the tranquil village of Bagno di Romagna, which is also well suited as a "base camp" for your Emilia Romagna holiday, if you prefer the contemplative mountains of the busy Adriatic region. There is no lack of accommodation here and the warm baths in Bagno di Romagna ensure healthy relaxation after the tour. But such a bath wants to be earned first, which is why it goes without much ado in the mountain. For the next 25 kilometers, mostly climbing is planned.On Monte Fumaiolo you can shoot your souvenir photo and rejoice that you have just conquered the same mountain as the pros of the Giro d'Italia last 2017. And of course about the flawless pleasure downhill, which awaits you for the next ten kilometers. In Alfero you can take a little break before it then goes uphill after another rapid descent uphill to Bagno di Romagna.
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.Then it starts. A few crisp climbs are on the program today - so you can perfectly feel how the professional cyclist could have trained here. Some of these climbs, he is certainly raised several times in a row at his exits. If you keep your eyes open, you will find little "Pantani memories" here and there. Labels on the road for example - after all, the Giro d'Italia is a regular guest in the region and who used to be a crowd pleaser here, is probably clear.The roads you drive on today are usually small and quiet. Just like the villages on the way. Nevertheless, you always come back in a village that is good for a small espresso break. Again and again, the great view of the hilly landscape of Emilia Romagna offers good reason for a little stop.In Gambettola you have the choice. If you want to know more about Marco Pantani, you can go to Cesenatico and visit the Pantani Memorial on the beach and then learn all about the legend in the Pantani Museum. If you have enough and want to end the tour, you can turn directly to Cesena and save about 23 miles flat.
This long round through Emilia Romagna is a real challenge. Today, there are 210 kilometers and 3,780 vertical meters on a lush nine-course menu that will keep you busy for a whole day. The route follows the legendary Granfondo "Nove Colli", a prestigious event in the Italian cycling world that has been held since 1971. But in contrast to the day of the event, where thousands of cyclists start here in several starting blocks, you can enjoy the fairytale landscape of Emilia Romagna all to yourself.It starts in the picturesque port of Cesenatico, where you should start as early as possible, so you have enough time for the long round. Pleasant side effect: Early morning it is here at the port and on the canal system of the city particularly beautiful. Enjoy the 30-kilometer Warmup Ride - after the small community of Forlimpopoli it gets hilly.Now follow nine climbs, each rewarded with beautiful panoramas and of course followed by magnificent runs. Of course it is exhausting. But it is just beautiful. Take it easy, then there will be enough power to the end and enjoyment will remain in the foreground.Towards the end, two real challenges await you again. The biggest difference in altitude of the tour you can do on Monte Pugliano. 511 vertical meters in a row with an average of 5.6 percent slope are feasible. The last climb with up to 17 percent slope, however, will certainly make your calves burn. But that is probably part of such a long journey. There is also a small reward: The last 20 kilometers are almost entirely downhill.