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Follow the Giro in Emilia-Romagna

October 11, 2014

Emilia-Romagna welcomes the Giro d’Italia

Every cyclist’s dream is to become a Grand Tour champion, i.e. to win, in the same year, the 3 most famous stage races in the world. So, after celebrating the victory at the Tour de France and before competing for 1st place at the Vuelta a España, any aspiring cyclist legend will have to tackle the Giro d’Italia, Italy’s most important bicycle race.

One or more stages have crossed Emilia Romagna since as early as 1909, the year of the Giro’s first edition. In 2015, 3 out of the 21 stages of the Giro will either start or finish in our home region that we believe is just so beautiful.

In particular, the most exciting phase of stages 10 and 11 – the arrival – will take place respectively in Forlì and Imola. These two cities, though really close, are very different: the first one is the heart of Romagna, whereas the second one marks the unofficial border with Emilia. Although it may seem like just a geographic designation, regional differences are often defined by these geographic and political boundaries. But they have something in common: they’re both definitely worth visiting!

Forlì and surrounding highlights:

Forlì: with its majestic city square (among the 100 largest squares in Europe) and its culinary delight, Forlì competes for the title of “heart” of Romagna, Italy’s region that is so well known for its delicious food.

Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole: as the name suggests (in Italian “terme” denotes the presence of hot springs), this small hill town is very popular among tourists not only because of its fascinating fortress (which is the location for summer Medieval re-enactments), but also because of its hot springs pools and spa facilities.

Bertinoro: perched on top of a hill, Bertinoro has a very special feature: a breathtaking view. On a clear day, you will be able to see the sea (about 20 km away from here) and in the evening you can enjoy this enchanting view while having a meal you won’t forget in one of the many restaurants in town – popular among locals as well as foreigners.  It is best known for it’s Albana di Romagna, a white wine claimed to be so good by Galla Placidia – an empress of the Eastern Roman Empire – that she once claimed it should be “drunk in goblets of gold” hence the name “Ber in’oro”!

Forlimpopoli: the castle in the city square is the symbol and the heart of Forlimpopoli as well as the perfect venue for the many events organized by the local council. Among these is the “Festa Artusiana” a culinary summer event first organized in 1997.  The name of this traditional celebration comes from Pellegrino Artusi – born in Forlimpopoli – who is one of the most important historical figures for Italian gastronomy and whose famous book “Art of Eating Well” is still a best seller today.

Faenza: home to Cycle Europe’s headquarters, Faenza is ranked among the top towns in Italy when it comes to manufacturing quality ceramics. This gorgeous town also home to one of the most comprehensive ceramic museums and one of the most enchanting squares in Romagna. If you happen to be in the area at the beginning of the summer, you can’t miss the Palio, a Medieval-themed joust where the town’s 5 rioni (districts) compete against each other and medieval flags adorn the streets.

Imola and surrounding highlights:

Imola: not only does Imola have several beautiful churches and other historical sites but it is also famous for its ceramics and, even more, for the car racing circuit that draws a great number of Formula 1 enthusiasts every year.

Riolo Terme: this very small town (as of 2015 its population is lower than 6000 people) is very well known for its hot springs that have been there for 140 years. In addition to that, visitors can enjoy relaxing walks around the fortress in the city center.

Bologna: the capital of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna cannot be easily described, but here are 4 reasons to visit Bologna!

  1. University: the Università degli Studi di Bologna was founded in 1088 and is the oldest university in Europe.  The university life also gives a lively feel to the historic city center.
  2. Porticos: With 45 kms of covered walk ways there are few cities in the world with Porticos like Bologna. The city presented its porticos as a candidate to become listed in the UNESCO’s world heritage list.
  3. Food: among the other delicacies typical of this city, everybody certainly will be familiar with mortadella (a cold cut also known outside of Italy with the very name “Bologna”), lasagna and ragù (Bolognese pasta sauce).  It all started in this town!
  4. The monuments: the city’s most famous church, San Petronio, is located in the city center and its façade is definitely unmistakable, as it combines two completely different architectural styles. The real symbol of the city; though, are the “two towers” – Torre degli Asinelli (literally tower of the little donkeys) and Torre Garisenda. The distinctive trait of the latter is that it’s a leaning tower; this peculiarity is even more noticeable since the towers stand right next to each other.

Dozza: considered to be one of the most characteristic and magnificent Medieval villages in Emilia, both because of its impressive level of preservation, but also because of the hills and vineyards that surround it.  Home to the regional “Wine Bank”, it is a great start for a tour of Emilia Romagna’s wines.

Join us by bike!  If you want to see the Giro up close and explore some of the hidden highlights of Emilia Romagna by bike, contact us for any of the following services:

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