From Bardolino to Verona
This circuit is 71 km long, and this is its only difficulty. Since it is all on paved roads, any type of bicycle can be used.
The starting point is in Bartolino: a short, not too hard climb leads to the scenic road to Calmasino. The view on the southern part of the lake is lovely: the road passes in front of the Zeni Wine Museum (1), and then sweeps into the Bardolino DOC (2) wine production zone. After passing through countless, beautiful vineyards, you reach the environs of Calmasino. Lovely country roads lead towards the neighbouring village of Piovezzano, and from there, descend towards the bike trail running alongside the Biffis canal (3).
This is the ideal spot for admiring the river Adige (4) flowing in the valley below. The pleasant, level bike trail leads to Bussolengo (5). Having crossed the heart of the town, it then continues, ending up near Chievo (6). There is a weir bridge in Chievo (7), which must be crossed over to go onto the bike trail alongside the Camuzzoni canal (8), leading into the centre of Verona (9). This town has many sights of outstanding interest: the Arena, its countless squares, Juliet’s house and the Scaliger castle are just a few.
From Verona, the route continues, heading back to Bussolengo: after its city centre, there is a bike trail winding across the countryside that leads to the outskirts of Sandrà and from there, to the hills surrounding Pacengo. A road is a sequence of gentle climbs and descents leading towards Colà. After passing beside the Villa dei Cedri (10) spa centre, the trail continues towards the hills of Lazise, and from there to Calmasino, before heading back down towards the lake and the town of Bardolino.
(1) The Wine Museum is in the headquarters of the Fratelli Zeni winery in Costabella, on the slopes of the hill overlooking Bardolino, the enchanting town on the shores of Lake Garda. This museum, founded in 1991 by the owner of the winery, Mr. Gaetano Zeni, not only offers evidence of a wine-making tradition involving many generations of the family, but also a fascinating journey into the world and history of wine.
(2) As testified by the archaeological finds in this area, dating back to the Bronze Age, grapes have been growing since time immemorial in what is now the production zone for Bardolino wine. Ancient artifacts show that in Roman times, wine was often used in religious ceremonies. It would seem that the first vineyards were established back then, and the wine produced was stored and transported in amphoras, many of which have been unearthed in this region. Bardolino wine is mainly made from Corvina grapes, but also contains a small percentage of Rondinella and may include other varieties as minor components. It has a bright ruby-red colour and a delicately fruity flavour, with notes of cherries, sour cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant and spices (cinnamon, cloves and black pepper). It is an exceedingly pleasant wine that pairs well with a wide array of dishes.
(3) The canal, designed by Ferdinando Biffis in 1921 and built in the 1930s-1940s, was completed in 1943 and is nearly 47 km long. An 8.5-km-long stretch runs inside a gallery. In Pilcante, near Ala, where the duct begins, a large amount of water (135 cubic metres per second) is channelled into it from the river Adige. The water flows gently beside the Valdadige road, inside a few galleries and along the imposing water bridge in Sega di Cavaion, built over the Tasso valley. In Bussolengo, there is a 40m-drop, exploited to produce clean energy. The canal ends in Chievo, where there is another power plant, and the waters flow back into the Adige. The two power stations produce enough energy to cover the needs of 800,000 persons. The first stretch of the canal is exploited for agricultural purposes, because its waters are used to irrigate fields in the surrounding countryside.
(4) The source of the river Adige is near the Reschen Pass in South Tyrol. After 410 km, it flows into the Adriatic Sea. The second-longest river in Italy, Adige crosses both Trento and Verona. One of the longest bike trails in Italy runs beside it.
(5) One of the largest towns in the environs of Verona, it lies halfway between the latter city and Lake Garda. There are a lot of pubs and shops in its lively centre.
(6) Chievo is a district of Verona on the edge of the river Adige inhabited by roughly 2500 people. In the past, it was an isolated hamlet in the environs of Verona, but now it is an integral part of the town. Despite the remarkable development and expansion of Verona, Chievo has managed to preserve its identity. It used to be surrounded by meadows and pastureland, and many aristocratic families built sumptuous villas, some of which were visited by the emperors of Austria. Chievo nowadays is known for its football team, which plays in the major league.
(7) The weir bridge in Chievo was designed in 1920 by Gaetano Rubinelli and completed three years later. Its main function was to raise the level of the river Adige so as to increase the water flow into the nearby Camuzzoni canal, which starts its course there. This canal plays a key role in supplying water to the power station and factories located in Basso Acquar, in what used to be the industrial centre of Verona. The weir bridge has eight arches, and the boats plying its waters could transit under the last one on the right.
(8) The Camuzzoni canal was designed by Enrico Carli and built in the late 1800s near the city of Verona. It was named after Giulio Camuzzoni, who strongly endorsed its construction when he was Mayor of the town. Together with the Milani and the Biffis, it is one of the three canals of Verona. Already back in 1776, proposals were made to build a canal south of the river Adige, so as to reduce the constant risk of inundations, but its exorbitant cost put a stop to the project. With the advent of the industrial revolution however, there was an increased demand for power, hence its construction started. The canal was completed in 1885.
(9) Verona, famous for being the town where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was set, has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture. Verona has developed uninterruptedly and progressively for two thousand years, managing to merge extraordinary artistic elements dating from very different periods. It is also an outstanding example of a town fortified at different stages of European history. The monuments worth visiting are countless.
(10) Villa dei Cedri is a palace of great historical importance. Built in the late Eighteenth century, it is surrounded by a 13-hectare park with forest trees, lakes and hot springs.