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Exploring Emilia Romagna


Hotel Galletti Abbiosi
Ravenna Days 1+2

The magnificent Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi Hotel is conveniently positioned right in the heart of Ravenna’s historic quarter, located within easy reach of all the city’s top landmarks and attractions, including the famous ‘6C Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo’ with its figurative mosaics that date back to 500AD.

This luxurious hotel is housed in an 18th century palace, once the former residence of 18th century Ravenna nobility, there’s even a 60-seat chapel inside the building, which Count Galletti Abbiosi commissioned himself and dedicated it to the “ Greek Virgin”, the patron Saint of Ravenna.

The hotel has now been fully modernized, fashionably blending traditional charm and sophistication with contemporary design and comfort. It boasts stylish public areas and elegantly decorated guest rooms, each equipped with the latest amenities including free Wi-Fi internet access.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 1     Arrive in Ravenna

We meet you at Bologna airport and take you (1 hour) to your luxurious hotel, perfectly positioned in the heart of Ravenna’s historic quarter. You’ll spend two nights here.

Day 2     In Ravenna (Optional cycle: 22km/14mi or 32km/20mi)

Ravenna’s early Christian churches and superb Byzantine mosaics have collectively been designated a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, and showcase a wonderful blend of Greco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and Oriental-meets-Western styles. You could easily spend the day exploring its old streets, fine shops and peaceful squares. But, if you do fancy venturing further afield, the beautiful beaches of the Adriatic are just 5 miles away – we provide you with a choice of circular cycling routes so you can choose depending on how energetic you feel!

Day 3     Ravenna to Comacchio 43km/27mi

Leaving Ravenna this morning, you’ll pedal gently north through the protected landscapes and wetlands of the immense Po Delta Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife and an ornithologist’s paradise! Look out for pink flamingos, herons and great crested grebes – don’t forget the binoculars! Your final stretch takes you along flat country lanes to delightful Comacchio, also known as “Little Venice” for its network of canals and pretty brick bridges. Enjoy an early evening aperitivo watching locals cycle past on old rickety bikes as retired fishermen play cards in the piazza.

Locanda La Comacina
Comacchio Days 3+4

Right in the heart of beautiful Comacchio, in one of the most characteristic and suggestive parts of the town, along narrow paved streets and just steps from the town’s 19C clock tower, lies the wonderful Locanda La Comacina. A boutique-style hotel with fourteen elegantly furnished, air-conditioned rooms, each with modern amenities like LCD TV and minibar. The hotel is managed by the ever-present Carli family who for generations have been looking after their guests, ensuring their stay is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Dining is outdoors on a terraced boat set in the waters of the Maggiore Canal and illuminated by the old ‘Lumiere’ and candle light for a romantic dinner based on antique recipes of fish and local dishes.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 4     At Comacchio (Optional cycle: 14km/9mi or 52km/33mi)

Spend the early part of day exploring the hidden maze of Comacchio, visiting perhaps the C9 abbey and adjacent bell tower (dating to 1063). We then suggest taking the dedicated cycle path to Porto Garibaldi, an atmospheric fishing port and original beach resort. If you get here in time for lunch, there are some amazing seafood restaurants with stunning views. Alternatively, a longer ride north through the Valle Bertuzzi Nature Reserve, takes you to the historic Benadictine monastery of Pomposa, where the “Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Si-Do” scale of musical notes was invented!

Day 5     Comacchio to Runco 48km/30mi

Today’s route takes you alongside the clear waterways of the Comacchio lagoon, an area rich in fish and rare bird species, before heading inland down poplar-lined country lanes, towards the bread basket of the region: Ferrara. You’ll spend the next 2 nights as guests of Giovanni and Christina Tosti at their rural, vine-engulfed farmhouse – crammed with paintings, antiques and period pieces, the familiar atmosphere is reminiscent of a nobleman’s estate and exudes elevated country living!

Agriturismo Le Occare
Runco Days 5+6

Located in rural countryside on the outskirts of Ferrara, lies Farmhouse Le Occare. An ancient vine-engulfed country house built in the mid-18th century and surrounded by gardens and 30,000 square meters of woodland. This 3-bedroom property is owned and managed by a husband and wife team Giovanni & Cristina Tosti, it has been in Giovanni’s family for the last four generations. The house is furnished with antiques and period pieces including hand-woven rugs, ornate polished silverware, black and white photographs and oil paintings, and the familiar atmosphere is reminiscent of a noble man’s estate exuding of elevated country living.

When Cristina and Gianni first moved there, they had a vision for restructuring their land to see what unique crops could grow from its fertile soil. With the help of scientists from the University of Bologna who believed the environment was ripe for the growth of truffles, saplings of pine, poplar and walnut were planted, in the hopes of one day becoming a small forest where the knotty delicacy could conceivably flourish. Today, the experiment has come to full fruition, and Cristina and Gianni spend a lot of time in the autumn months taking guests truffle hunting with their four dogs. In the farmhouse restaurant Cristina serves only typical Ferrarese dishes, all sumptuous home cooked food made from organic ingredients grown in their meticulous vegetable garden. Cristina hand rolls and cuts all her own fresh pasta, bakes her own crusty bread ‘ciupéta’ in their ancient firewood oven and makes her own sweet jams.

Further details on the hotel website.

Alternate hotel:

Agriturismo Le Prafitta AA
Quartiere Portomaggiore Days 5+6

The Bed & Breakfast La Prafitta is a newly renovated guesthouse built on what was the site of a large rural farmhouse from the late 1700’s. It’s set amidst an agricultural landscape of wheat fields and fruit orchards, and lies on the outskirts of the UNESCO city of Ferrara. You will be welcomed into the house by Iris Mattioli and her husband, both well versed in all things historical and artistic about the region and always willing to share this knowledge with their guests. Now both retired, you’ll find this family a delight, especially during dinner conversations (as you’ll be eating with them!) as well as during moments of restful strolling around the surrounding gardens. You’ll love the home-cooked meals made with local produce from the nearby farms.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 6      In Runco (Optional cycle: 54km/33mi)

The tiny hamlet of Runco lies in the rural countryside close to Ferrara. Take the train or enjoy a lovely relaxed cycle through immaculately-tended vineyards and fruit orchards, passing aristocratic villas, rivers and canals, to reach the splendid UNESCO World Heritage city of Ferrara. Known as Italy’s “bicycle capital”, this vibrant university city, boasts a wealth of intricately decorated palaces, hidden squares and alleyways, all surrounded by well-preserved walls and gateways, and packed with medieval and Renaissance art.

Day 7     Runco to Budrio 38km/24mi

Your final days’ cycling takes you south on a series of usually traffic-free country roads, through charming farming hamlets to the ancient medieval town of Budrio. A pretty town with cobbled streets and atmospheric piazzas, it is best known for the invention of the ocarina, a musical instrument similar to a flute and made from terracotta. There are lots of little cafés if you fancy a spot of people-watching, or you might prefer just to relax at the hotel’s pool – you're on vacation after all!

Santa Maria Maddalena
Budrio Days 7+8

This wonderfully renovated farmhouse is owned and managed by Enrico Puccio and his family. The property sits in a picturesque rural setting, conveniently located just 12km/7mi from Bologna and surrounded by immaculately cultivated fields and historic farming hamlets. The property has 11 ensuite rooms all neatly furnished and a spacious air-conditioned dining room that overlooks the gardens. The property also has its own form of wellness centre, with sauna, heated Jacuzzi and private massage room, and there’s a large outdoor swimming pool to enjoy a refreshing dip after your ride.

Dinner’s are a real treat too! With most of the ingredients grown on their own farm: from the cereals that go in to making their oven-baked bread and delicious homemade cakes, to the forest fruits grown organically in their orchards and used to make their home-made jams and fruit juices. In the warmer months, dinner is served outside in an idyllic setting framed by the leafy gardens.

The family also have their own cantina for making balsamic vinegar and you may have the possibility to watch it being made and do a tasting!

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 8     At Budrio

Considered by Italians to be the gastronomic capital of the nation, the university capital of Bologna is just 25 minutes away by train. With one of the largest, and most perfectly preserved historic centers in Italy, this great art city is also home to the oldest university in Europe. There are over 40kms/25mis of ancient terracotta-colored porticoes and marbled walkways to discover, so you’ll soon work up an appetite for your final freshly prepared dinner, served outdoors in an idyllic setting, framed by leafy gardens!

Day 9     Leave Budrio

After breakfast, we take you to Bologna airport to catch flights home.

Note: Please note that, starting in the Spring of 2011, cycling helmets are compulsory in Italy for children under 16. As we cannot provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.


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