Italian Cycling Adventures: Pavia to Mantova by bike via the River Po
It is time for the next instalment from our guest blogger, Alexandre Rotenberg. Alexandre is based in Italy and is a photographer and cycle touring enthusiast. He enjoys exploring the beautiful areas of Italy by bicycle and contacted me about sharing his writing and photography work with the Cycling Touring Community.
This is the final post of four from Alexandre. They have all been enjoyable to read and with all the fantastic photos, you will want to go grab your bicycle straight away and discover these great places Alex has explored!
If you would like to see Alexandre's other posts on Cycling Touring Community, check them out.
Pavia to Mantova by bike via the River Po
Following on from my recent trip to Piedmont, the next route took me eastwards from Pavia to Mantua (170km) along the mainly-asphalted ciclovia del po, which hugs Italy’s longest river, the mighty Po. This is a popular cycling route with many albergabici, which are registered cycle-friendly hotels / agriculturismo B&Bs. For the more adventurous explorers, camp sites are available throughout the route.
Pavia is a lovely university town on the banks of the Ticino river, easily reached from Milan via the Naviglio Pavense. This time I didn’t stay very long as I had much ground to cover in a short period.
By accident, quite early on, I discovered another walking/cycling path which I naturally diverged onto, even if the route was slightly longer since the journey is more important than the destination. The path is known as Via Francigena (meaning ‘Road from France’) and is an ancient pilgrim’s path from Canterbury to Rome.
The first major city I reached after Pavia was Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region.
I crossed back into Lombardy and 30km of rice fields later, I reached the next major city of Cremona with its rich musical heritage.
Despite the soaring heat, the next stretch (40km) of the route was fantastic, consisting of endless fields of wheat & corn.
Sabbioneta is a UNESCO World Heritage city and should be a definite stop on anybody’s itinerary, especially if you are like me a lover of the PC games Civilization & SimCity, since the city represents the implementation of the period’s theories about planning the ideal city. Typically, Mantua’s layout is irregular with regular parts showing different stages of its growth since the Roman period and includes many medieval edifices among them an 11th century rotunda and a Baroque theatre (source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1287).
After three days of hard cycling in the heat, I was happy to reach Mantova. A mandatory gelato cool down later, I explored this beautiful renaissance city which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
About the Author
Alexandre Rotenberg is a semi-professional photographer and touring cycling enthusiast based in Milan.