by Joel Vosburg
Founded in 1302, the charming Adriatic beach town of Cesenatico sits at the foot of some of Italy’s best riding hills and valleys. Twelve months of the year this beach destination draws cyclists from around the world looking to ride the training roads of the pros and the home town roads of cycling great Marco Pantani. With a wide range of challenging climbs, open flatlands and classic Italian scenery the region of Emilia Romagna offers something for every cycling ability.
Cesenatico is situated on the coast of the beautiful Adriatic Sea. A sunny beach town often called the Italian capital of holiday sun. A perfect basecamp for a cycling holiday or trip. Just outside of the flat sandy beach town lies the rolling hills and mountains of the Emilia Romagna province where the cyclists come to play. Long steady climbs, punchy steep ascents and smooth flowing descents, these hills are a cyclist’s playground. Whether you are looking for flatter fast rides or gruelling climbs there are endless possibilities in the Cesenatico countryside.
Inside the city is a series of canals – Cesenatico’s porto canale, which was surveyed and drawn by Leonardo da Vinci at the request of Cesare Borgia, as part of his plans to fortify the nearby town of Cesena.
How to get there
Travelling from any of Canada’s major airports you will make your way to Bologna, Italy which is the main city of Emilia Romagna. There are a few direct flights available at certain times of the year from Toronto but you will most likely find yourself having a short layover in Frankfurt, Germany.
From the Bologna airport, you are able to travel 55 minutes on one of the many available cheap transit coaches to the coastal cities of Cesenatico or Remini. Often, hotels will offer transportation provided for you with your cycling package.
Ride to San Marino
Pinarello F10 Rental Fleet
Lungomare Bike Hotel is the top cycling hotel in the area, a four-star bike hotel with every amenity a cyclist could need during their trip. Situated right on the Adriatic Sea, rooms are clean, spacious, and have amazing views looking at the sea, some even have their own private hot tub. Great for recovery and after ride leisure. The hotel boasts some big-time cycling credentials having hosted numerous professional teams such as Team Ineos, Astana, Lotto-Soudal and many more during racing and training camps in the area. For bike rentals, the hotel has a choice of various Pinarello’s models available. All you need to bring is your pedals, helmet and kit. With a team of highly skilled mechanics on-site, your bike will be already sized up so it’s ready to ride upon arrival removing the hassle of travelling with your own bike. I highly recommend splurging just a little and renting the top of the line Pinarello F12s available at the hotel since you are on vacation, right?
Road cycling routes
Routes from Cesenatico to the countryside hills are everywhere. With respectful drivers and wide smooth shoulders, there is really no wrong place to ride around here. Lungomare Bike Hotel provides you with multiple options to choose from each day and with the knowledge of local guides you will be in great hands.
Here are a few of Canadian Cycling’s favourite routes.
Cesenatico -> Cantoniera -> Sant’Agata -> Cesenatico
Distance: 148 km
Cesenatico -> San Marino -> Cesenatico
Distance: 92 km
Accent: 790 m
Carpegna climb (Pantani Climb)
Distance: 103 km
Where to Eat
Emilia-Romagna is the epicenter of Italian cuisine with deltas rich with fish, vast farmland perfect for maintaining animals in the pasture and growing numerous crops. The cuisine of Emilia-Romagna relies heavily on generous seasonings, olives, meats, fish, salumi, and cheeses. The region is home to some famous foods and ingredients such as Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and well-known pasta like lasagne, cappelletti, tortellini and stuffed tortellini. A true local must have is Piadiana, a flat style bread often served with prosciutto, mozzarella and arugula.
The Lungomare Bike Hotel does an excellent job fueling cyclists and mainstay guests with a wide variety of fresh local food served buffet style every breakfast and dinner. With the sea right at the back door, expect some of the finest Mediterranean seafood available in the world. A late night refuel can also be found just down the street at Magic Pizza, a true gem for a late night feast.
San Marino is a microstate within Italy’s borders that sits upon one of the steepest climbs in the region. A must visit if travelling to Cesenatico. You will find yourself riding on freshly paved, steep roads that the Giro d’Italia riders raced on this past spring. Testing yourself on your own time trial from the countryside base inside the city walls, you can feel the pain the pros felt during the Giro d’Italia.
After riding each day you will often find yourself gravitating to the refreshing waters of the Adriatic Sea. A good soak in the sea and rest in one of the abundant beach chairs, you will be ready for the next days ride in no time. The hotel has professional massages available each day post-ride, that often make getting back on the saddle the next morning much easier. The hotel offers a fabulous pool and hot tub as well. Recovery may honestly be almost as enjoyable as the riding for some guests.
The area is home to the Queen of Granfondos, the Nove Colli. Nove Colli is the oldest Granfondo in the World and it takes place the penultimate Sunday of May every year, a spectacular and tough course, the Nove Colli brings you over nine different mountains making for one tough ride. The Nove Colli is a tough race to enter on your own, often selling out within the first few hours of registration opening. A better option is to sign up with a hotel package that guarantees entry into the race. Lungomare Bike Hotel offers race entry with a five to seven-day stay during the week of May 24.
One of the most famous Italian cyclists of all time called the Cesenatico area home for many years. Marco Pantani was born on Jan. 13, 1970 in Cesena, Romagna, the son of Ferdinando (referred to as Paolo) and Tonina. He joined the Fausto Coppi cycling club of Cesenatico at the age of eleven. Pantani would go on to win the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the summer of 1998, he is one of only seven riders to ever win both in the same year. Pantani grew up riding and training in the hills outside of Emilia Romagna. One of the regions most famous climbs of the region is Carpegna which is dedicated to Pantani and a must for any fan of professional cycling.
An authentic Italian cycling experience
Cesenatico and the surrounding countryside is truly a cyclists dream destination. With hotels designed specifically for cycling, rich cycling history and authentic Italian culture all around, this is one of the best places in the world to ride.