EuroVelo 7 Cycling Path and the Sun Route in Italy

EuroVelo 7 stands out as one of the longest cycling paths within the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) network. Stretching over 7,400 kilometers from Norway’s North Cape to Malta in the Mediterranean, this route offers a direct north-south trajectory, traversing through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy. The diversity of landscapes encountered along EV7 makes it one of the most beautiful routes in terms of natural scenery throughout the entire EuroVelo network.

John, a passionate cyclist who embarked on the EV7 journey in 2009, has been a valuable resource for planning the route. He meticulously documented his stops at the end of each day’s ride on a map, revealing slight deviations from the official EV7 path. This underscores how the entire EuroVelo network remains a work in progress, with each cyclist contributing to its completion by providing information on chosen routes, signage, road conditions, and more.

In Italy, a segment of EV7 is covered by the “Ciclopista del Sole” aka Sun Route, a 3000-kilometer cycling itinerary devised by FIAB (Federazione Italiana Ambiente e Bicicletta – Italian Federation for Environment and Bicycle). Presented for the first time in 1991 at the “VeloCity” event in Milan, the Sun Route aims to connect the entire country from Brennero to Sicily, including Sardinia. Notably, the cycling path diverges from dedicated cycle paths for the most part, with only 4% covered by cycle tracks and 26% by greenways, while the remaining 70% follows more or less trafficked roads.

Let’s discover some of the stops covered in our tour: Self-guided Bike Holiday with Itinera Bike along the Sun Route

EuroVelo 7 Sun Route – Trentino South Tyrol

The journey along the Sun route begins at Brennero, although cyclists can also commence at the Dobbiaco border, where EV7 crosses the Italy-Austria border. Here, a commercial center now stands where the customs used to be, revitalizing the area after economic downturns following border openings. Alongside the parish church lies the Isarco Waterfall, a picturesque cascade preceding the river’s course through the valley. Despite being nestled amidst the Alps, the initial route is relatively gentle, tracing the riverbed and suitable for cyclists of varying experience levels, including families.

Continuing past Bolzano, the route follows the Adige River on numerous greenways in the region, housing most of the greenways along the route. After approximately 60 kilometers, Trento, famous for hosting the Council of Trent (1545-1563), is reached. Another 50 kilometers lead to Borghetto, marking the border with Veneto.

EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route – Veneto

Veneto, less traversed by the Ciclopista del Sole, still offers points of interest. Peschiera del Garda, once a fortress within the Austrian Quadrilateral, holds historical significance amid the Risorgimento wars and hosts a renowned amusement park. The flat terrain continues into Lombardy.

EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route – Lombardy

The Lombardian leg commences at Pozzolo, site of the Battle of Pastrengo, a pivotal engagement in the First Italian War of Independence. After 23 kilometers, Mantova, home to the influential Gonzaga family during the Renaissance, invites exploration, particularly the Ducal Palace housing artworks spanning Gothic to Baroque styles.

Leaving Mantova and passing Andes, birthplace of the poet Virgil, cyclists reach the banks of the Po River. Crossing San Benedetto Po, a low-traffic road along the Secchia River guides cyclists to the Emilia-Romagna border.

EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route – Emilia-Romagna

Initially following the Secchia River through Modena, cyclists traverse areas affected by last year’s earthquake. At Bastiglia, a choice arises: continue via Bologna or take a variant passing through Modena, rejoining the main route near Vergato.

The Modena variant is perhaps the most challenging, yet it allows cyclists to continue the journey to Rome entirely by bike. While the main route via Bologna necessitates train travel from Sasso Marconi to Vergato due to heavy traffic, the Modena variant predominantly features cycle paths or greenways. This stretch could aptly be dubbed the “Singer-Songwriter Variant,” with towns like Vignola and Modena associated with musical figures such as Pavarotti and Vasco Rossi.

Beyond Modena, the main route predominantly traverses medium to high traffic roads. Passing through Borgo Panigale, home to Ducati, and Bologna, cyclists can explore landmarks like the Basilica of San Petronio and the leaning Asinelli Tower, Italy’s tallest leaning tower.

Exiting Bologna along the Reno River, reaching Sasso Marconi, cyclists may opt for a short train journey to Vergato before tackling the Emilian ascent. This stretch, about 20 kilometers long, features manageable slopes, offering a transition into Tuscany.

Keep reading: Along the Food Valley by bike

The EuroVelo 7 journey from Trentino-Alto Adige to Emilia-Romagna unveils a tapestry of landscapes, history, and culture, inviting cyclists to explore Italy’s diverse regions while contributing to the ongoing narrative of Europe’s cycling infrastructure development.

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