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