A cycling tour through Veneto

The achingly charming landscape of Veneto’s small, unspoilt towns and its rolling hilltop countryside leaves you wondering why this region isn’t bursting with tourists. Veneto (here we are not talking about the obvious cities like Venice) is for serious culinary enthusiasts and for those who are in search of what it means to have an authentic experience. Of course, when one hears the word Veneto, one cannot go on without mentioning the word Prosecco.Without a doubt the gastronomy experience throughout Veneto matches the wine’s renowned reputation.

So, we thought it was time we seriously explore this area the only way we thought we could really do it justice: by cycling. Our three- day trip started at Bassano del Grappa with a pit stop in Marostica on the second day and finally ending in Cittadella. Along our journey we encountered ridiculously pretty towns busting with life, colour, historic traditions, cobbled streets and architectural masterpieces. The base for our short trip was the wonderful La Rosina hotel just outside of Bassano del Grapp and north of Marostica. Located at the top of a short climb- the food was excellent, in fact the hotel’s restaurant was selected by the Michelin Guide for its excellent quality – price ratio; the atmosphere was warm, the rooms were comfortable and elegantly designed and above all, it’s the perfect spot for cyclists.

Starting in Bassano del Grappa, like anyone else, our purpose was to try one thing: grappa. If you are a fan, then visiting its birthplace should be a rite of passage for you. But like us, you will be pleasantly surprised just how beautiful the town really is and how much more it has to offer. We recommend heading to the civic museum where you can admire the great works of Jacopo Bassano, Palladio and Canova. The town is also famous for its ceramics and we recommend visiting VBC Casa, where you can admire first-hand the intrinsically delicate pieces. Don’t forget to walk across the wooden Ponte Vecchio, the surrounding hilltops are utterly beautiful.

The following day we headed to Marostica. The surrounding fertile land provide all of Italy with red cherries for which the area is famous for. We make a quick pit stop for a coffee and a chat with locals to find out that the city is known for its medieval chess festival that takes place every two years where a giant chess game is enacted with human pieces. The idea seems slightly bizarre and you can’t quite picture until you see it, but the locals assure me that anyone will be able to get into the spirit of it. The two castles dominate the immediate scenery of Marostica. Castello Inferiore located in the piazza and Castello Superiore, located above the town. The trick is to walk (or cycle as we did) starting from the bottom, the view from above rewards itself alone.

The next day whilst heading to Cittadella we had the great pleasure of cycling through the cobbled path known (only by locals) as La Tisa which remarkably resembled the classic race of the north in Belgium (those cycling enthusiasts will know what I am talking about). The path was all in all about 400 metres and we can’t say the terrain wasn’t tuff but luckily, we were in no rush and we were able to take our time enjoying the surrounding scenery. After a somewhat strenuous cycle, we approached the outskirts of Cittadella and were completely amazed. The entire town is enclosed by a 30-metre-high ancient wall with five doors, draw bridges and shutters as though it was taken straight from a medieval history book. In fact, we quickly learnt that it was the only walled off city in all of Europe to have a medieval chemin de ronde, elliptical in shape and completely walkable. It was utterly remarkable for the eyes. The wall was constructed for military purposes back in the 13th century so the city could defend itself against the time of strife between Treviso. As we entered the city and cycled through the narrow, cobbled streets we found the overbearing Duomo at centre stage. Here, you can find the interesting art works of Palma il Giovane. Don’t miss the Casa del Capitano. It has a series of frescoes that documents events that shaped the town’s history.

The Italian National Championship of Cycling 2020 is heading to the Veneto between 21-23 August 2020 for an unforgettable 3 days of sport and fun. The project uniquely combines the competition with the wonderful food and culture that Veneto has to offer. The cyclists start at Bassano del Grappa and cycle through to Marostica and ending the race in Cittadella. The organisers will single handily be able to unite these three cities in one common goal: to see who will be crowned the new Italian Cycling Champion 2020.

Timeline of events for the championship:

Friday 21 August
15.30: Opening Departure Village – Bassano del Grappa – Piazza Libertà
Opening Arrival Village – Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Individual Trail Time Elite Women
Departure from Bassano del Grappa – Piazza Libertà
Arrival to Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Individual Trail Time Open Men
Departure from Bassano del Grappa – Piazza Libertà
Arrival to Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Awards Ceremony in Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Saturday 22 August
09:00: VIP RIDE departure from Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Sunday 23 August
08:30: Opening Departure Village – Bassano del Grappa – Piazza Libertà
Opening Arrival Village – Cittadella – Piazza Luigi Pierobon

Departure of cyclists (Man Elite and Under 23) from Bassano del Grappa – Piazza Libertà

Start of “Young Champions” activities at Cittadella: young participants will have a unique opportunity to experience cycling alongside their idols, learning the culture of sport and athleticism from the professionals. Followed by a Pasta Party.

Parachute show in Cittadella

Awards Ceremony in Cittadella – Riva 4 Novembre

You can find all the race details including a map of the event here www.ci2020.it/gare and information on the partners here www.ci2020.it/partner