Finally cycling again, from Reggio Emilia along the Po river to the Po delta and then to Venice
05.11.2008 - 07.11.2008 17 °C
I cycled on from Reggio Emilia on 5th November, heading to the Po river when it finally got sunny again. There's a cycle route along the river, on many parts following a small road, on the the dam protecting the area from the frequent high waters of the river. I originally planned to follow this cycle route from near Milano but as I had skipped a part of it by taking the train, I wanted at least to continue on it as soon as possible.
Sunset at the Po
On the first day cycling from Reggio, I joined the majestic river in Guastalla for the first time, from where I continued to Màntova, a nice old city a bit off the river, which is surrounded by water on three sides(actually artificial lakes built in the 12th century). The road along the river dam is really good for cycling - there's almost no traffic on most parts of it, and some parts are only allowed for bicycles (and pedestrians). As there is no heavy traffic on it, the road is also mostly in a very good state - unlike some other roads in Italy which have many holes and broken parts from all the traffic. It's very quiet along most parts of the river, there's mostly agriculture in the area (with a little bit of industry scattered around), and it's mostly away from traffic. Boats are rare on the river, so apart from stretches where other roads are nearby, it's just the occasional military plane cutting the silence.
On the next day, which was mostly sunny with some clouds in between, I went back on the river dam, continuing to Ostiglia, Sermide, Bondeno and then to Ferrara, another great old city which features buildings and palaces dating from the 14th and 15th century. It's also part of the European "citta' delle biciclette" (cities for cyclists) network, and indeed it seems that everybody who lives there is cycling, and it has a good network of cycle paths. In fact I was generally surprised how many roads in the area have a cycle lane, I know this from bicycle friendly countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, but didn't expect it in Italy...
Castello Estense, Ferrara
After spending the night in Ferrara, I cycled on again along the Po towards the end of it, the Po Delta. This day was mostly foggy but with the sun peeking through for some bits. The cycle route goes all the way along the river to the Adriatic Sea, but I had to leave it before in order to turn north towards Venice. I followed the route which is on most parts on the right (south) side of the river (hence "Destra Po") until Ariano Nel Polesine, where I crossed and headed north. A better option would actually have been to cross before in Ro, because Ariano means already quite a detour, and later I had to cross a very dangerous bridge because another smaller bridge that was on my map didn't exist.
Trees and water, at the Po
Finally I found my way through some small towns and following various Canals until I reached Chioggia at the southern end of the Venetian Lagoon. From there, a first ferry took me to Pellestrina Island, along which I cycled until reaching the next ferry to Alberoni, and from there another short cycle ride and I was in Lido di Venezia, where I stayed for two days to explore Venice! This has turned out to be the best way cycling into (and out of) Venice, as it avoids all the traffic chaos at the "main" entrance to Venice.
The industrial side of the Po area...