A cycle route for everyone
The Sun Cycle Route is the 21st century Tour through Italy. An ecotourism itinerary that signals a return to the days of the Grand Tour, when the main Italian cities and places of art were visited, but when people travelled slowly from one to the other, also appreciating the landscape and the villages on the way. And Just like then, also today when travelling on two wheels, the Cycle Route allows you to meet many different people who are inextricably linked to the region in which they live. What’s more you will appreciate the value of that "human landscape" that is always changing yet, at the same time, is always Italian.
The Verona-Florence section is that part of the national cycle route that crosses the Apennine outcrop and is, therefore, the heart of the entire route. From the rolling moraine hills of Lake Garda with their vineyards, it plunges into the Po Valley along the courses of the Mincio and Secchia rivers, crossing landscapes that man has always struggled to gain from the waters.
Then it climbs through the Apennines along roads that have been used since the time of the Etruscans and that were the route for the first historic railway that united the north and south of Italy, military memories mix with uncontaminated natural landscapes and healthy waters.
The Sole Cycle Route is above all an itinerary for everyone, for those who are travelling and those who are staying, those who come from far away and those who are resident, those who going fast and those who are going slowly. It connects up with many railway stations and thus makes it possible to alternate cycling routes with the use of the train. In this way, it is possible to pass over difficult sections such as some steep climbs in the Apennines, but, above all, to put together “bike + train” circuits that can be travelled in a day or weekend.
The Sun Route welcomes everyone because it is above all a welcoming community. It provides the traveller with essential services, such as accommodation (bike hotels), catering, assistance for cyclists (hire, luggage transport, workshops, spare parts), bike + train mode, dedicated reception at cultural sites and nature reserves. It is also, however, above all a community that knows how to hold a conversation with the traveller and immerse them in the spirit of the places they travel through, their traditions, aspirations and humanity. The Sun Route is therefore a Grand Tour that does not ignore the main tourist destinations but gives pride of place to the journeys between one and the other, the landscapes it crosses, the infinite possible digressions and the encounters along the way. A "human" Tour because the landscapes, all the landscapes, are shaped by man. They are, first and foremost, "human" landscapes.
Although it is still in the planning, implementation and adaptation phase, the Sun Route is already completely viable in both North-South directions.
The special feature of this cycle route is the train + bike mode, as all the sections into which it is divided are served by railway stations with a good frequency of regional trains, with carriages dedicated to travellers with bicycles. From an orographic point of view, the area crossed by the cycle route is mostly flat from Verona to Bologna (Pianura Padana) and partly hilly and mountainous from Bologna to Florence (Appennino tosco emiliano). It is precisely the presence of this mountain section that constitutes an obstacle to the construction of a cycle route that is really usable by all levels of user (considering non-level sections and inclines) throughout the route. In this regard, the intermodality aspect makes it possible for everyone to be able to travel the most demanding uphill and downhill sections by train.
The route has been subdivided into section in such a way as to ensure there is railway station at the end points of each section, precisely to allow maximum intermodality and leave the cyclist the freedom to choose the route.
The route is in fact divided into two lines that pass through Bologna and Modena respectively, with some small functional variants that allow for very specific journey planning, based on the needs and interests of each cycle tourist. This allows all those who intend to travel on the bike route in both directions to be able to choose alternative routes and thus be able to return via a different stretch than the one taken on the outward journey, should they so wish.
The intermodality and the subdivision of the route into sections, which are about 60 km in length on average, also allows tourists who make weekend excursions by bike to cover the entire bike route in several days that do not have to be contiguous. A predominantly linear cycle route like the Sun Route, with the division into sections and the train + bike intermodelity, can in fact be thought of as a series of circuits for day trips.