Italian Cycling Adventures on EuroVelo 8: From Pavia to Mantova via the River Po

On one of his last trips semi-professional travel photographer Alexandre Rotenberg has cycled 170km of the mainly-asphalted and very popular Italian 'ciclovia del po', a EuroVelo 8 section from Pavia to Mantova. At the same time he also used his trip to sign most of the EuroVelo 8 on behalf of the project VENTO*. If you are also interested in the route you should check out his article and some of his very nice pictures.


In general the route is well developed and you can discover many 'albergabici' along the route, which are registered cycle-friendly hotels / agriculturismo B&Bs. For the more adventurous explorers, camp sites are available throughout the route as well and I like to give you a short overview about some place you pass through.


Pavia is a lovely university town on the banks of the Ticino river, easily reached from Milan via the Naviglio Pavense. Students enjoy a break on the banks of the Ticino close to the Ponte Coperta but unfortunately this time I didn’t stay very long as I had much ground to cover in a short period.



The first major city I reached after Pavia was Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna region with its historical main square Piazza Cavalli. It is named ("Cavalli" means "horses") for the two bronze equestrian monuments of Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (r. 1586-), nephew and valiant general of Philip II of Spain) and his son Ranuccio I Farnese.



I crossed back into Lombardy and 30km of rice fields later, I reached the next major city of Cremona with its rich musical heritage. Very impressive are the Cathedral and the Baptistery of Cremona. At 112.7 metres (343 ft 6 in), it is the third tallest brickwork bell tower in the world.
Since the 16th century, Cremona has a distinguished musical history as it became renowned as a centre of musical instrument manufacture and in particular, violins.


Lombardy countryside:
Despite the soaring heat, the next stretch (40km) of the route was fantastic, consisting of endless fields of wheat & corn. Luckily, as these fields were being constantly watered with giant hoses, I managed to steer by bike in the right place to cool down. And along the way you are seeing seniors once in a while playing scopa, a popular Italian card game in that region.


If you like to follow up the rest of Alexandre's trip, you can visit his website www.arotenberg.photoshelter.com.



*The route section from Pavia to Mantova of the EuroVelo 8 is also a part of the feasibility project VENTO, a green economy project of the longest cycle path in Italy, 632km fromTurin to Venice. VENTO is going to realize a large part of the EuroVelo 8 within Italy and therefore Alexandre Rothenberg has signed most of the EuroVelo 8. More information about the project you can find here.