A Sunday by bike, along the cycle path of the Mincio. One of those sunny autumn Sundays, with clear air and crisp colors. It starts mid-morning from Peschiera sul Garda, just the time to take a stroll in the pentagonal fortress, to look out over the lake, to have a coffee.
The destination is Mantua, its lakes, its historic center. The route is a well-signposted cycle path, completely asphalted, perfectly flat, suitable for everyone, even for children who can travel it safely in both directions. For the return, in order not to go back 44 kilometers of track, there are various recovery services with minivan and bike trolley (by reservation). Bikes can also be rented on site. It takes three hours, without considering the stops: however things not to be missed along the Mincio cycle path there are so many that it could even take a whole weekend.
At Peschiera you leave Porta Brescia and, as soon as you leave the fortifications, you immerse yourself in the countryside pedaling between the river and rows of cypress poplars. The first inhabited area is that of Monzambano, a small town dominated by a hill on which two castles stand. From here, you can make a first detour of 7 km to reach the Castellaro Lagusello Nature Reserve, a small intact medieval village, surrounded by crenellated walls, overlooking a heart-shaped lake.
Back on the main cycle path, continue towards Mantua to meet after about 4 km the Security Park, a splendid and award-winning garden (in 2015 the Second Most Beautiful Park in Europe by the European Garden Award, while in 2019 it received the World Tulip Award for the blooms of one million bulbs in early spring) which can be visited by bicycle along a internal route of 6 km, or on foot, by train or golf-chart for 4 people. Its blooms last until late autumn (the park is open until November 8), with asters, the last hydrangeas, marigolds, hibiscus, zinnias and begonias. Among the wonders of the park there is also a labyrinth with 1500 yew plants. And to the delight of the children, a farm with donkeys, goats, sheep and farm animals.
Returning to the cycle path, in a few minutes you reach Borghetto, a village of mills on the Mincio, in the list of the most beautiful (and original) villages in Italy, which preserves the imposing Visconti bridge, a fortified dam built in 1393 at will by Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Still in the saddle and here is Valeggio sul Mincio, with its Scaligero castle and then the ancient mills of Volta, near which there is the bridge where you can turn to the center of Volta Mantovana, another possible detour to the route, for more trained legs .
The second section of the cycle path up to Mantua detaches a bit from the river and follows a canal that rejects into the Mincio near Soave and Bosco Fontana, an area that was a hunting reserve at the time of the Gonzagas (there is still a charming building that served as a casino hunting), and today it is protected as a remnant of the ancient forest vegetation of the plains.
By now we are at the gates of Mantua which offers itself to the view from its best side, the one overlooking the Mincio and the. Getting there at sunset will be an exciting sight.
PS. If you are out and about with your family and decide to stop for a while in the area, the perfect stay is atAltomincio Family Park: an all-inclusive and car-free village surrounded by greenery and on the banks of the river, visited practically only by the Dutch and Germans, which offers independent and super-equipped houses, a lagoon pool and many activities for the little ones. Relaxation for parents seeking peace: guaranteed!
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