This single centre cycling holiday is a perfect choice for people wanting a genuine grass-roots Italian experience.
Arrive at your friendly agriturismo in Villaganzerla where you'll be kitted out with a bike and go through the various cycling choices available to you before dinner (time permitting).* (Staying at l'Albara for 7 nights)*
Sunday is market day (morning only) in Bastia, so we've built in an easy cycle along quiet country lanes criss-crossing the Paduan plain to get you in your stride. Stroll around the stalls before heading off to the tiny village of Lovolo, a charming village square with its ancient lime kiln, for lunch. Your return route takes you through the delightful hamlet of Monticello as you wind your way back to Villaganzerla.
Today's route takes you along wonderfully tranquil valley lanes and on to Lake Fimon, a totally undiscovered gem surrounded by shaded woodland. There are lots of little spots for picnicking by the water's edge, or you can take lunch at one of the lakeside trattorie. It's a lovely 5km circular cycle around the lake, before you meander back amidst the green backdrop of lush valleys and rolling hills to your agriturismo.
Heading north this morning, your first stop is the lovely village of Costozza, named after the network of caves in the cliffs above, with its impressive campanile, beautiful villas and extensive formal gardens lined with statues. Ice cream lovers should call in at the locally renowned gelateria before looping south and on to Lumignano, famous locally for its annual pea festival! Your route then follows the Northern Strada as you wind your way through rows of immaculately tended vineyards, against the rolling backdrop of the Berici Hills. This is the only area outside Hungary where the red Tai Rosso grape is grown. Stop off for some tasting, perhaps in Castegnero or Nanto, with its striking Venetian bell tower, before pedalling east and back in time for a swim before dinner.
A cycle path (those feeling lazy can catch the bus) takes you to UNESCO-recognised Vicenza, nicknamed 'Venice of the Terra Firma' for its marvellous architecture. Palladio designed dozens of the city's buildings from the Basilica Palladiana in the main square to the Teatro Olimpico, so there's plenty to explore. On the way home you can visit the famous Villa Rotonda and its surrounding gardens.
Why not give the bike a rest today and head off to one of the great Italian cities? Venice, Verona and Padua are all accessible by train from Vicenza (short bus or cycle ride). If you prefer to avoid the crowds, perhaps take the bus to Bassano, home to the region's famous grappa and a museum in its honour.
Today, ride past Villa Pigafetta-Camerini, inhabited by the Camerini family since 1700, to Mossano and enjoy the stunning panorama of the Venetian plain. The wine road undulates through the vineyards between the towering Berici Hills and the Paduan plain, offering wonderful vistas on all sides. Turn back north towards the idyllic Franciscan monastery of San Pancrazio before a lovely descent to Ponte di Mossano and a ride along the quiet country lanes of the Paduan plain back to l'Albara.
* 7 Nights , single centre * 5 Days activity * Departs Every Saturday from 5 May '18 to 13 Oct '18 * Headwater wine service * GPS route navigation provided * High quality bikes provided
All continental breakfasts and evening meals included. The Veneto ranks as one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the country. You will see fields of maize and barley everywhere. It is also a big area for fruit; expect to eat cherries, peaches, melons, plums, pears, strawberries and apples. The cuisine varies from the coast up into the mountains and reflects the region’s mixed cultural past. Nearer to Austria in the mountains, you get a more Tyrolean cuisine with dishes such as apple strudel creeping onto the menu, whereas towards the coast, you will find a lighter cuisine with lots of fish dishes. Three typical dishes you are likely to find throughout the region are baccalà (air-dried salted cod soaked and cooked to a creamy consistency in garlic, parsley and olive oil), carpaccio (now seen on menus throughout Italy and even internationally, this is thin slices of very rare beef sprinkled with lemon juice and garnished with parmesan cheese, mushrooms or even white truffles according to the season and the restaurant) and polenta (made from maize, this is served as an accompaniment to meat or fish).
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