A diverse region located along the shores of the Adriatic Sea and at the foot of the Dolomite mountains, the Veneto, once part the Venetian Republic is a remarkable reflection of Italian history and style: full of Renaissance art, fine food and wine. Our bike rides retrace old trade routes that were used to transfer goods brought in from the Far East to various trading posts, whom dispersed the goods throughout Europe. We wonder through the flat farmlands passing stately 16th & 17th century villas, trace along the volcanic hills and long dried up inland seas, then into the foothills of the Pre-alps. By day we follow classic local bike routes while learning about the history, culture, local food and wine products. In the evening we treat ourselves to the great foods and wines we have seen during our ride, savoring parts of the dolce vita with classic Veneto cuisine, all the while being hosted in opulent villa hotels. .
We begin our adventure with a ride along the Brenta River with a special tour of Villa Malcontenta, a private Palladian estate. Our next stop is Vicenza, the “City of Palladio” and the Tocai Rosso wine road. Then it is on to Asolo, considered by many to be the quintessential Italian town. It is a tiny hamlet with an abundance of quaint, winding streets and a graceful piazza overlooking the valley. On our way we stop we explore Palladio villas and fortified cities from the past. To round out our week we visit Bassano Del Grappa, famous for its strong grappa made from a distillation of local grapes. We sample the grappa, which ranges in taste from a mild honey to a fiery, herb-infused concoction, then head into the foothills and vineyards of the Strada del Prosecco, to taste some of the sparkling wine which has made this area so famous.
Biking works up our appetites for some wonderful Northern Italian meals. The noble region of the Veneto is home to risotto and polenta as well as homemade pastas spiced with radicchio, rucola and endive. Seafood lovers will rejoice in the freshly caught frutti di mare prepared in the Venetian tradition.
Easy, self-guided or guided hotel tour. Routes are mainly flat up until day 5. Day 6 there are 3 to 4 easy hills and on the 7th day 2 small climbs and a long descent. Daily cycling ranges from 22 to 41 miles (35 to 65 km). Routes take place on mostly asphalted bike paths & country roads, avoiding traffic as much as possible.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
Additional services for the guided tour:
Italiaoutdoors differs from other programs, in that our acclimation day is included within our program schedule. You can fly in on the 1st Day. We pick you up at Marco Polo Airport or an agreed upon pick up point, fit equipment, get an introduction to program, and take time to relax from your travel. There is no need to fly over to Italy in advance if you do not wish to do so.
Pick up at Marco Polo Airport and move to hotel for trip orientation and equipment fitting. Welcome before welcome aperitif on the terrace and a superb dinner at our inn. (Route distance 20 - 40 km)
Our first ride is along tiny-canalled streets , through fields bursting with bright red poppies during the spring and old Venezia villas for the time of the Republic. Our Venezia guide Luca, takes us on a special tour of the private Villa Malcontenta, a gracious patrician estate designed by perhaps the world’s most famous architect, Andrea Palladio, before welcome aperitif on the terrace and a superb dinner at our inn. (Route 45 - 75 km)
Our biking today takes us from the hills of the Colli Euganei to the Berici Hills wine road. We start the day with a visit of the picturesque town of Arqua Petrarca, on the southern edge of the Euganei hills. Once only know as Arqua, the towns name was changed to honor the poet Francesco Petrarca, who lived there in his old age. Afterwards we ride through the lower hills of the Euganei hills, remnants of long-extent volcanoes, enjoying the many vinery before we cross the flat plain to reach the foothills of the Colli Berici. The cliffs were once part of the sea bed that cover the plains area and many of the caves have been utilized as refuges since prehistoric time. We will follow the Tocai Rosso wine road toward Vicenza and our hotel is located heart of the city. Vicenza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and host some of Palladio's greatest works. After a guided tour of the city we have our dinner at a local restaurant that opens up to a spectacular garden setting and features upscale renditions of la cucina vicentina, such as baccalà alla vicentina. (Route 70 - 90 km)
Day 5 we leave Vicenza and head out onto the plain to discover old Palaces and walled cities. Riding out of Vicenza we make our way to Cittadella, a small walled city built in the 1100's that has maintained much of it's medival charm. After visiting Cittaldella we ride through the flat farmlands to Castelfranco, a fortified city and claimed birthplace of the painter Giorgione. Perhaps lunch in Castelfranco then we pass by villa Emo on our way to Asolo, a magical walled hill-village, once the home of painter Robert Barrett Browning and visited by numerous other illustrious artists, actors and writers. The evening is free to dine in one of the many excellent restaurants in Asolo. From the local pizzeria to a formal restaurant with a view of the valley below, you are sure to discover some regional culinary delights.
We pedal to the Alpine village of Bassano del Grappa for a tasting of locally made grappa at the Jacopo Poli distilleries. Take time to wander through the old town or stroll across Palladio's covered bridge. The biking is in the rolling hills at the base of the Pre-Alps and offers some striking scenery where farmlands give way to vineyards. After your visit of Bassano enjoy some time riding through the foothills or return to Asolo to relax and just take in the atmosphere. Tonight’s dinner overlooks the sumptuous gardens at the Villa Cipriani’s acclaimed restaurant featuring carpaccio, bresaola with shaved Parmesan and risotto spiced with Amarone wine. (Route details 45 - 70 km)
Leave the hills of Asolo and pass villa Maser on our way to taste Prosecco at the Bisol wineary. We will learn the production process and taste some of Italy's best sparkeling wine. Then it is onto Montebulluno and then the wall city of Treviso. At Treviso was founded in the Middle Ages and was an important trade town up to the 1300's. We have a guided tour of the city before dinner of Pizza and beer in the main square. (Route 50 - 85 km)
Close out our week with a ride to the Pinerallo bicycle factory and a short tour. Then over to the ancient town of Oderzo, that was another major market town in the 13th century. Upon return to Treviso there is time to relax adn stroll around the old twon before our farewell dinner at Toni del Spin, a simple but well visited Osteria in the Historical Center. (Route 45 - 80 km)
After our morning meal we say goodbye and you have a transfer to Marco Polo Airport. Trip is officially over at 10:00 am.