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This tour is a companion to our inaugural 2017 Chef Bike Tour in Emilia Romagna. We cover different areas in the same region and visit the production areas for some of Italy's most iconic foods.

In a country renowned for its home cooking, Emilia-Romagna is the region that stands out among Italians for its soul-satisfying home cooking. It is also the birthplace of many foods that lie at the heart of Italian cuisine and that are the most famous outside of Italy: tortellini, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, and “The King of Cheeses,” Parmigiano-Reggiano, to name a few. Massimo Bottura, a world-renowned chef from Modena, has said that Balsamic vinegar runs through his veins and that his muscles are made of Parmigiano-Reggiano!

We aim to showcase how food is linked to the well being of an area in terms of health, and socio-economically.

At Tourissimo we believe that you cannot explore and understand the gastronomy of a region without considering the region’s history, culture, landscape, and climate. But for our Emilia Romagna Chef Bike Tour we want to go further. From spa towns with healing thermal waters to the splendid Apennines, we ride to taste, and we taste to understand. We’ll nourish our body and mind and we'll discover the soul of Italy.

The riding is different each day, with a varied landscape that stretches between the Po River and the Apennines. We’ll pass small villages that are rich in history and vitality and view several hilltop castles, each with a story to tell. The rides are fully supported and participants can ride just part of the stage. Companions that are non-riders are also welcome.

Optional one night extension to Bologna and the recently opened FICO Eataly World.

Highlights

  • Superb meals and the "best Homestyle food" in Italy
  • Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Balsamic vinegar and other Italian delicacies
  • Santuario San Luca, a hilltop sanctuary overlooking Bologna
  • Healing thermal waters in Porretta Terme
  • The Appennino Tosco-Emiliano park, a UNESCO biosphere
  • Meet local producers who are keeping food traditions alive
  • Get up close to iconic race cars at the Ferrari Museum
  • Explore Bologna
  • Learn why Parma is a UNESCO creative city of gastronomy
  • ALMA cooking school
Dates:

June 9 - June 15, 2019

Prices:

USD 4,495

Private room (single supplement) USD 495

Duration:

7 days (6 nights)

Level:

Active

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It was incredible. So different in landscape than Romagna.

Bonnie P. Chef Bike Tour Emilia

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Emilia-Romagna 2

Day by Day

[fa icon="plus"] Day 1

Tabiano - 20 miles - Hilly

After an airport transfer, we arrive at our hotel in Tabiano, a restored medieval castle that was built on the ruins of an old Roman settlement. We’ll enjoy a light lunch, make introductions and go over the details of the tour. After lunch there will be a bike fitting and warmup ride over small, rolling hills in the foothills of the Apennine mountains. Spend the afternoon at the hotel’s spa, lounging by the pool or just taking in the stunning views.

Dinner is at the hotel in “The Old Dairy” which used to be a cheese factory that produced Parmigiano-Reggiano for over 200 years.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 2

Colorno - 40 miles - Hilly

After breakfast, we leave the province of Piancza and enter the province of Parma. The riding is relaxing on mostly secondary roads. This area is known for its cured meats, including Prosciutto di Parma, and of course for the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano, known as the “King of Cheese.” Our lunch in Parma will include these local specialties.

We’ll ride to our hotel in Parma and get ready for an exceptional cooking experience at the Alma cooking School, set in the Ducal Palace of Colorno. It’s one of the most important culinary schools in Italy that represents the excellence of Italian gastronomy internationally. We’ll start with a historical explanation of grain, the origin of pasta and the different pastas and shapes. We’ll also have the opportunity to work hands-on with the ingredients to make our own pasta. Our chefs will be involved and along with the local chefs will create a memorable dinner. There’s no better place to learn about pasta making than in the region of Emilia Romagna!

[fa icon="plus"] Day 3

Reggio Emilia - 35 miles - Hilly

Today we’ll ride northeast towards Reggio Emlia, encountering our first climbs of the tour. Hilltops dotted with fortresses and castles surround us and hold stories of fascinating people, such as Matilde di Canossa, a powerful feudal ruler of Tuscany. We’ll stop at a Fattoria Rossi, a dairy farm from the 1800’s, to learn more about the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano. The nearby town of Bibbiano is said to be the place where the cheese was created at least 900 years ago.

During lunch in the center of Reggio Emilia will challenge our chefs to create innovative ways to serve the “King of Cheese." In the Emiliana tradition there’s not much room for creativity and it’s usually served over pasta, as one of the ingredients of the pasta filling and nowadays as an appetizer served in chunks and drizzled with real Balsamic vinegar. We are sure that our chefs and innovative Chef Marta, chef and owner, will surprise us with some new ideas!

Dinner will be at our favorite pizzeria in town. Pizza is an Italia staple no matter where you are.

Our Hotel, Hotel Posta, was founded in 1515 and is in Via Emilia in the historic center of Reggio Emilia.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 4

Modena - 38 miles - Rolling

Today is the day of fast cars and slow food! We'll ride the hills around Modena and Maranello, home of Ferrari, before arriving at the iconic museum where you will have time to admire both the race cars and the historical collection of production cars, as well as learn about Enzo Ferrari and his philosophy around work ethic, car racing, and big dreams.

The last part of the ride is short, but hilly. We'll spend the afternoon at our hotel, which is also an agriturismo and resort with a spa and infinity pool overlooking the Modena hills. They produce their own wine and Balsamic vinegar on-site. We’ll sample some of their Lambrusco while touring the Balsamic vinegar aging rooms to learn about the history, tradition and elaborate production process of this unique product. It’s slow to make and surely not economical, but no one around here would ever dream of cutting corners when it comes to traditional balsamic vinegar!

At dinner our chefs will work with the restaurant here at Opera 02 to present you a full menu with dishes prepared with balsamic vinegar.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 5

Porretta Terme - 46 miles - Mountains

Today will be a challenging day, riding up towards the Apeninnes of Bologna. We are rewarded with changing scenery and a wealth of natural products.

The day starts in the production area of ciliege di Vignola (cherries of Vignola). The area started specializing in cherries around 200 years ago and the locals say that cherry season (May-July) represents the coming of summer. The cherries are sweet and thirst-quenching. They are packed with vitamin C, and studies have shown that they can improve one’s mood and blood circulation. You can test that out for yourself by sampling the cherries during our regroups!

As we climb towards Porretta Terme we leave the cherries behind and instead find more oak trees, and mostly chestnut forests. In June the smell in the air of chestnut trees blooming is so sweet, and we’ll be accompanied by this enchanting scent for most of the way up. Though not as well-known as other products from the area, we want to pay homage to the chestnuts which for generations (especially during times of famine and war) provided the base for healthy food for the families of this area.

Porretta Terme is known for its thermal waters and our hotel, located in the center of town, has a beautiful spa, part of which is in an old bunker.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 6

Bologna - 46 or 30 miles - Mountains

Our last ride will wind along the Appennino Bolognese to take us to the city of Bologna. We leave our hotel in the morning to immerse ourselves in a gorgeous landscape up in the forest and down along Lake Suviana. We continue downward along the Reno River Valley to Sassomarconi where we stop for lunch in a typical trattoria to refuel before the afternoon climb on the Colli Bolognesi road, loved by the local cyclists. A final descent into Bologna will lead us straight to the hotel, leaving us some time to enjoy the city during its golden hour.

Bologna is a city known for good living, and is packed with history, art and culture. Take time to explore its many facets after checking in to our centrally-located hotel.

[fa icon="plus"] Day 7
Bologna
After breakfast, unless you are extending your stay, a transfer will be arranged to the Bologna airport.

 

What's Included

Bianchi Intenso Ultegra-105 Bianchi Via Nirone S
  • Two or more professional tour guides throughout the program
  • Accommodations in 4 star hotels
  • All breakfasts, all lunches, and all dinners
  • Wine with meals
  • Tastings of wine and local specialties
  • Cooking class and dinner at ALMA in Colorno
  • Entrance to thermal spas
  • Ferrari museum entrance
  • Logistical support during the tour and luggage transfer
  • Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour
  • Commemorative cycling jersey and chef apron
  • All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description
  • Airfare
  • Pre-tour hotel stays and post-tour hotel stays
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and cell phone
  • Guide gratuity
  • Optional tour extension

Hotels

Castello_Tabiano

ANTICO BORGO DI TABIANO CASTELLO

Posta_Reggio_Emilia

HOTEL POSTA

porretta_helvetia_hotel_1

HOTEL HELVETIA THERMAL SPA

More Info

Food and Wine

Nestled between the Alps and the Apennines, Emilia-Romagna owes a great deal to the unique nature of its territory when it comes to explaining its rich culinary tradition, which is often revered as one of the finest in Italy. The Po River, which runs across the whole of the region, marks the boundary between the fertile soil of the Pianura Padana Valley, the agricultural heart of northern Italy, and the gentle curves of the pre-Apennines on the border with Toscana. Following the course of the Po, the east of the region opens widely onto the Adriatic Sea with a low and uniform coastline and shallow waters.

Once marshland, the Pianura Padana is today one of the most fertile areas of the country following a long history of cultivation. Perhaps the first to spot the enormous agricultural potential of the region were the Romans, who made it a key center for the empire’s food production. Often dubbed ‘the food valley’, it is abundant in cereal crops and cattle rearing and home to some of the most renowned food producers in the country.

While institutionally one, from a cultural and gastronomical point of view Emilia-Romagna is in fact two. The sub-region of Emilia, which lies along an ancient Roman trading route, stretches from the western tip of the region with the cities of Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Ferrara dotted around it like jewels in a crown. It is known for its solid, rich and indulgent cuisine, heavily based on pork and animal fats thanks to the Lombard (a Germanic tribe) domination of the region. It is also equally revered for being naturally effortless in its sophistication, something that the Renaissance court tradition has left as an indelible mark. In the words of Pellegrino Artusi, nineteenth century author of The Science of Cooking and the Art of Fine Dining: "When you come across the Cucina Emiliana (Emilia’s cuisine), take a bow, because it deserves it."

In the western part of the region, from Bologna to the Adriatic coast, lies Romagna. Here, unlike in Emilia, the Byzantine heritage influenced many aspects of Romagna’s culture; it is still evident in the stunning churches and mosaics of the city of Ravenna and in the prominence of terracotta-based cooking methods. Influenced more by the closeness of the sea than by the aristocratic tradition of the courts, Romagna’s gastronomic tradition is simpler and closer to the land, but just as varied and deep as its counterpart in Emilia.

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