A good way to explore the region of Lombardy, which we’re featuring on Italy Magazine this month, is by riding a bike. Its many different landscapes, historic sights and food traditions can be best appreciated slowly, and a bike ride allows you to do just that. There are various cycling itineraries to choose from, here are three picks, but check the link at the bottom of the page for more options.
Ciclovia delle Città Murate
This is a 37-km cycling path that takes you around the countryside in the province of Cremona, the city of nougat. Most of the itinerary takes place on gravel and dirt roads; departure and arrival points are two small historic towns surrounded by well-preserved walls, which is why the itinerary is called “Cycling Path of the Walled Cities.”
It starts in Pizzighettone, also known for fagiolini dell’occhio con le cotenne (green beans with pork rind), and for the tripe of San Bassiano, the town’s patron saint - hey, you need energy for the bike ride.
The ride continues on flat terrain, among agricultural fields and farms, within the protected natural areas of the Adda Sud Regional Park. You’ll pass by the Sanctuary of Ariadello, before you reach your final destination, Soncino, recognized as one of Italy’s most beautiful borghi (historic villages), known for its impressive Rocca Sforzesca, one of the best preserved fortresses in the region.
This itinerary is also suitable for children.
Ciclovia della Val Seriana
This bike itinerary will introduce you to the Alpine scenery of Lombardy; it takes place in Val Seriana, the valley of the river Serio, near Bergamo, in the Orobie Alps, an ideal destination overall for an active holiday.
It departs from Floriano al Serio and initially flanks the Serio river, then reaches Colzate, site of the Sanctuary of San Patrizio, which clings to a rocky spur on the slopes of Monte Cavlera.
It continues to Ponte Nossa, where the landscape turns more alpine, and where a visit to the Magli Museum is recommended (the Magli are historic buildings once used for the processing of metals).
The last stop on this itinerary is pretty Clusone, with its Piazza dell'Orologio overlooking the 15th-century Palazzo Comunale, the Church of Paradiso guarding beautiful frescoes, and the majestic Basilica dell'Assunta.
From Lake Garda to the Po River
The whole itinerary encompasses 250 km in the eastern portion of Lombardy, between Lake Garda and the river Mincio, across the provinces of Brescia and Mantua, on mostly flat, paved roads.
There is so much to discover in terms of history, architecture and food that this itinerary requires a slow pace and is therefore perfect to do on a bike. You can also just ride stretches of it. For example, a favorite goes from Riva del Garda to Salò (45 km), along the shores of Lake Garda, passing picturesque villages like Limone sul Garda, and making for tasty detours into the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori, to try the local culinary specialties.
If you visit Mantua, then you could devote a day to biking the stretch that develops along the left bank of the Mincio river, see some of the sights where Risorgimento battles that led to the unification of Italy were fought, and stop in Ostiglia to try the delicious local cake made with zabaione and almonds – you’ll have deserved it anyway!
For more information about biking in Lombardy, visit the In Lombardia tourism website.