Day 1 - Arrive in Ravenna
We meet you at Bologna airport and take you (1 hour) to your luxurious hotel, perfectly positioned in the heart of Ravenna's historic quarter. You'll spend two nights here.
Day 2 - At Ravenna (Optional cycle: 22km/14mi or 32km/20mi)
Ravenna's early Christian churches and superb Byzantine mosaics have collectively been designated a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, and showcase a wonderful blend of Greco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and Oriental-meets-Western styles. You could easily spend the day exploring its old streets, fine shops and peaceful squares. But, if you do fancy venturing further afield, the beautiful beaches of the Adriatic are just 5 miles away - lots of cycling choices.
Day 3 - Ravenna to Comacchio 43km/27mi
Leaving Ravenna this morning, you'll pedal gently north through the protected landscapes and wetlands of the immense Po Delta Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife and an ornithologist's paradise! Look out for pink flamingos, herons and great crested grebes - don't forget the binoculars! Your final stretch takes you along flat country lanes to delightful Comacchio, also known as 'Little Venice' for its network of canals and pretty brick bridges. Enjoy an early evening aperitivo watching locals cycle past on old rickety bikes as retired fishermen play cards in the piazza.
Day 4 - At Comacchio (Optional cycle: 14km/9mi or 52km/33mi)
Spend the early part of the day exploring the hidden maze of Comacchio, perhaps visiting the C9 abbey and adjacent bell tower (dating to 1063). We then suggest taking the dedicated cycle path to Porto Garibaldi, an atmospheric fishing port and original beach resort. If you get here in time for lunch, there are some amazing seafood restaurants with stunning views. Alternatively, a longer ride north through the Valle Bertuzzi Nature Reserve, takes you to the historic Benedictine monastery of Pomposa, where the 'Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do' scale of musical notes was invented!
Day 5 - Comacchio to Runco 48km/30mi
Today's route takes you alongside the clear waterways of the Comacchio lagoon, an area rich in fish and rare bird species, before heading inland along poplar-lined country lanes, towards the bread basket of the region: Ferrara. You'll spend the next 2 nights as guests of Giovanni and Christina Tosti at their rural, vine-engulfed farmhouse - crammed with paintings, antiques and period pieces, the familiar atmosphere is reminiscent of a nobleman's estate and exudes elevated country living!
Day 6 - At Runco (Optional cycle: 54km/33mi)
The tiny hamlet of Runco lies in the rural countryside close to Ferrara. Take the train or enjoy a lovely relaxed cycle through immaculately-tended vineyards and fruit orchards, passing aristocratic villas, rivers and canals, to reach the splendid UNESCO World Heritage city of Ferrara. Known as Italy's 'bicycle capital', this vibrant university city, boasts a wealth of intricately decorated palazzi, hidden squares and alleyways, all surrounded by well-preserved walls and gateways, and packed with mediaeval and Renaissance art.
Day 7 - Runco to Budrio 38km/24mi
Your final day's cycling takes you south on a series of usually traffic-free country roads, through charming farming hamlets to the ancient mediaeval town of Budrio. A pretty town with cobbled streets and atmospheric piazze, it is best known for the invention of the ocarina, a musical instrument similar to a flute and made from terracotta. There are lots of little cafes if you fancy a spot of people-watching, or you might prefer just to relax at the hotel's pool - you are on holiday after all!
Day 8 - At Budrio
Considered by Italians to be the gastronomic capital of the nation, the university city of Bologna is just 25 minutes away by train. With one of the largest, and most perfectly preserved historic centres in Italy, this great art city is also home to the oldest university in Europe. There are over 40kms of ancient terracotta-coloured porticos and marbled walkways to discover, so you'll soon work up an appetite for your final dinner, served in the agriturismo's leafy gardens!
Day 9 - Leave Budrio
After breakfast, we take you to Bologna airport to catch your flight home.