We had decided on bicycle touring in the Veneto Region of Italy, which is the state surrounding Venice on a guided cycle tour operated by Explore.
Our Italian bicycle tour started in the walled city of Vicenza, a located to the west of Venice. It is Saturday evening and we stroll down to the pedestrian friendly medieval center to find what seems to be the entire city just walking around chatting including children and teenage kids. It was very surreal as few shops were open but it seemed the entire town was involved in this social gathering.
Vicenza to Bassano Del Grappa
Our first day in the Veneto Region takes us to the walled town of Marositica, established in 1372. The town is best known for its chess game played with costumed live characters including knights in armour played out on the town square every September.
We continue our bicycle touring across the flat landscape to Bassano Del Grappa. The town is famous for the Ponte Vecchio wooden bridge with great views of the nearby Dolomite mountains and a strong drink known as Grappa. We had actually had trouble walking across the famous bridge because there were hordes of people lining the bridge enjoyed a drink a Grappa and chatting.
The first 39 km had not proven to be too difficult even using the rental bicycle provided by the tour operator.
Bassano del Grappa to Treviso
Today we were to be cycling 55 km, with our first hill and as the skill level and age (oldest cyclist was age 72) of our group varied we got spread out a bit.Asolo which is quaint village located at the top of a hill which is known as the “city with a hundred horizons.” What you really get is spectacular views across the countryside of some great gardens and villas. Even more fun was the super downhill on the other side of town and onto a fairly flat area.
There was a paved bicycle path for a long portion of this section which made the cycling easy. Treviso is a walled town founded on and surrounded by water. We walked around this lovely towns with all its canals.
Treviso to Mestre
Only a short ride today of 38 km and over fairly flat terrain.We started out riding through lanes and quiet streets leaving Treviso. Our guide had a surprise for us as we stopped at a cheese factory for a tour of this family business. Outside in the sun was a long table with cheese, salami, and Italian wines.
We continued on to Mestre which is on the mainland across from Venice. There is bus service to the train station in Venice which we all took advantage of to explore this historic town.
No bicycle touring in the Veneto Region of Italy would be complete without a visit to famous Venice. Of course you will want to see the major attractions including San Marco square, the Camanile Tower, Basilica di San Marco, Rialto Bridge and nearby islands such as Murano, the island of glass. What is not as well known is that by taking the regular water buses number 82 you can see the entire Grand Canal for a price far less than the famous gondola.
Mestre to Chioggia
We cycled through the streets of Mestre and along a very narrow causeway to Venice and the ferry port. The ferry ride took us past Venice with great a opportunity for some pictures.
As far as bicycle touring today was only 25 km as we continued along the Lido section of Venice (you need a ferry pass) hopping from island to island with the Adriatic Sea on our left until you reach the south end of the lagoon and our accommodation in the fishing and beach resort of Chioggia. The day was long only because we had to wait frequently for the ferry.
Chioggia to Padua
Today we will be riding for 59 km over fairly flat terrain. The next stop was Stra where many grand villas are located, many of which are open to the public. Although they are called villas locally I really consider them to be palaces because of the large size. And our group stopped for an one hour to visit the Villa Pisani and its gardens.
It is also home of the famous Giotto frescoes at Cappella degli Scrovegni dating from 1303. Here you enter into a sealed room and watch a movie followed by being locked in the chapel with your guide to view the frescoes. This process is to keep the humidity low.
Our walking tour included St. Anthony Basilicia and a park with many monuments before our last group dinner.
Padua to Vicenza
Today a 45 km cycle across very flat terrain. We did have one hill to visit the Colle di Bugano Winery where we enjoyed a tour, some wine, cheese and salami. The winery drove our wine purchases to our hotel in Vicenza so we didn’t have to carry them in our panniers. We continued through the wine region back to Vicenza along quiet roads and a bicycle path.
To learn more about other interesting European bicycle touring routes, click here.
This bicycle touring in the Veneto Region of Italy is suitable for beginners and families alike as there are only a few hills and takes about one week.