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Cycling the panoramic coast road along Italy's Adriatic Sea

Alia Parker's picture
Alia Parker, far right, with the bunch cycling along the Adriatic Coast, Italy. Source: Andrea Manusia.

I'm up early to take full advantage of the generous buffet breakfast for cyclists at Hotel Dory. Scrambled eggs and prosciutto with freshly sliced sourdough followed by a plate of summer fruit and a cappuccino. Ahhh, cappuccino; the Italian breakfast beverage named for being the same colour as the cloaks of the Capuchin monks, adopted, refined and obsessed over by Australians like a fine drop of Shiraz from the Barossa. Traditionally, milky coffee is only consumed of a morning, after which, it's straight up shots of espresso. Makes sense to this cyclist. Two down and I'm ready for the day's ride.

As promised, our group is riding the Panoramic Coast Road south out of Riccione via Cattolica. It's a great road, climbing up from sea level to the cliff tops that skirt the Adriatic Sea, and as it features in the famous pro-cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, it's a road-cyclist magnet. In fact, I see more cyclists along here than cars.

Map of the Panoramic Coastal Road bike route via the winery. Cycle Traveller

The coastal breeze is welcoming as the day begins to warm. It's early June, often a lovely time of the year to ride these parts, but the region is starting to experience mid-summer temperatures a little earlier than usual this year: it's notching up above 30°C and the warmth is noticeable for a Sydneysider whipped out of a cold winter. But, I'm loving it.

After a nice flat start to warm up the legs, we begin to climb. It's steady and not overly steep, so it's easy to settle into a comfortable pace, although I'm slipping behind all the blokes and their man legs. (Did I mention I'm the only woman in this bunch? C'mon ladies, get pedalling!)

Around the bend and there they are, paused at a lookout which drops steeply to the sea below, a view that in every sense of the word is 'panoramic'.

An endless blue out to the horizon and up into the sky transfixes, but the gentle curves of the coast draw my eyes back to peep down upon Cattolica, sunbaking on the beach.

La Fiammetta winery, Emilia Romagna, Italy. Cycle TravellerEmilia Romagna is turning out to be brilliant for cycling. While there are plenty of flat roads along the coast and through the valley, it's the climbs that are the most fun, opening up magnificent views as you corkscrew up, then unleashing marvellous descents. And we're getting one right now as we fly down the seaside cliffs on our way to lunch at La Fiammetta, a local wine producer and farm guest house.

One last short but steep climb to get there and it's shoes off to run our toes through the cooling grass as we taste the wines in this remarkably relaxing setting.

From here, the ride back to Riccione is an easy one: some downhill and then flat through the valley. All up the loop is roughly 90km.

Fanitini Club, Cesenatico. Cesenatico

We're back at our Terrabici bike hotel, scrubbed up and ready to pamper ourselves at the Fantini Cub in Cesenatico – a fabulously opulent beach club of the type only found in Europe. It's quite literally on the beach and we sip the wine with sand between our toes. The place is extremely welcoming to cyclists as the owner also organises the big Gran Fondo Selle Italia Via Del Sale each year.

Tomorrow is not far away, and it's going to be a big day as we tackle one of Marco Pantani's favourite climbs. But more on that later, because for now, I'm on the beach and the sky is turning on the most beautiful of soft orange hues, fading into purple.

Images from top: Our group of cyclists on the Panoramic Coast Road, Emilia Romagna. Source: Andrea Manusia. 2. The grounds at La Fiammetta. Source: La Fiammetta. 3. The lovely setting at the Fantini Club, Cattolica. Source: Fantini.

Alia Parker stayed in Emilia Romagna as a guest of Terrabici.


I was interested to read your article and wanted to suggest another area in this region which is near the beautiful old town of Ravenna:

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