Cycling Holidays in Italy – Picturesque Piedmont
If you’re looking to book cycling holidays in Italy, consider Piedmont. This region at the foot of the Alps gives you plenty of options for exploration.
ocated in the far northwest of the country, one of the often overlooked areas for cycling holidays in Italy is the lovely region of Piedmont. Steeped in a rich history, the area is named for its location at the foot of the mountains.
Inhabited since the Neolithic times, the area was at one stage controlled by the Celtic tribes then later by the Romans. Largely mountainous in its topography, Piedmont is ideal for those looking for a bit of a challenge from the saddle of a bike. With a rich background in cycling sports, the region offers an ideal landscape for cycling holidays in Italy – from smooth roads to challenging mountain trails, for any age and ability.
Easy at Alessandria
If you are not a Jedi-master cyclist, the thought of cycling many kilometres up and over a section of the Alps may terrify you, but don’t worry, there are plenty of relatively easy trails to suit any style on cycling holidays in Italy around this region. Why not start with a route situated around the Tanaro River?
You can start at the Tanaro Park, where you can pop into a local tavern for a refreshing glass of local Barbera and Cortese wines to set you on your way. Once you reach Alessandria, you’ll have ample opportunity to explore its fascinating history, including the 14th century church of Santa Maria di Castello, with its mix of styles and forms both inside and out.
During the 1800s, the French used it as a military warehouse, while later the Italians used it as a storehouse, and after WWII it was home to a school and house for orphans. The stunning Palazzo Ghilini is an opulent attraction not to be missed, and if you visit the town in July, you’ll be able to enjoy the fun and colour of the annual jazz festival.
Working harder near Vicoforte
If you’re looking for cycling holidays in Italy to challenge your skills a little, as well as take full advantage of some wonderful local history and culture, Vicoforte could be an excellent place to consider. With plenty of intermediate trails and cycle routes around Carru, this is an ideal place to start. In fact, if you’re visiting in September, you can enjoy the fair of the Fat Ox (Bue Grasso) and Grapes, which is a riot of colour, food and local arts and crafts. It’s been held every year since 1635 and is, ostensibly, meant to honour the Piedmontese breed of cattle.
You route will could also include Bastia Mondovi, where you can visit the exceptional Gothic church of San Fiorenzo with its stunning 14th century frescos, before heading on to Vicoforte. Here you can rest, relax and take in some sightseeing – including a visit to the Santuario di Vicoforte. Completed in 1752, the fresco of the Virgin Mary, which was said to have bled when shot, has since become a mecca for faithful pilgrims. The great stone cupola is said to be one of the largest in the world and the location is both beautiful and fascinating.
The true beauty of cycling through this wonderful region of Italy is the opportunity to enjoy freedom, independence and the chance to make your own itinerary.
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