A bike ride among the hills of Emilia, in the Stirone National Park, will take you all the way to Salsomaggiore Terme, where you will relax and rest in thermal waters.
  • Travelling time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Why we love it: The cycle path runs along the river waters, and there are many naturalistic, historical and cultural points of interest
  • Length: 35 km
  • Total Elevation Gain: 500 m
  • Way to travel: by bike
  • Cost: 0 €
  • Our Advice: The path is a loop, and it’s possible (for those who dare) to bike all the way forward and back to the beginning. The full ride takes about 8 hours.
Map of the cycle path in the Stirone Natural Park
Map of the cycle path in the Stirone Natural Park


The Stirone cycle path, in Emilia-Romagna, has a strong naturalistic and paleontologic value. It begins at the Fidenza train station, threshold to the old Via Francigena. City of arts and history, Fidenza is the second biggest town in the province after Parma. Its cathedral is one of the best example of the romanesque architecture. The others must-sees in Fidenza are the Magnani Theatre, the Domninus of Fidenza Gate, the Church of San Michael and the Museum of fossils.

Duomo of Fidenza
Duomo of Fidenza, photo of edward bertozzi via Flickr

The cycle-path of Stirone starts from the train station of Fidenza and passes through the inner city all the way to the right river bank of the Stirone river, which will henceforward mark the entire itinerary.

Then the path starts to climb up together with the valley floor of the river, making the ride a little bit more lively and busy. The landscape offers expanses of fields and rows of oaks. The quiet and silence of nature are broken only by the bee eaters, migratory birds, and by their colorful flight. 

Two bee eater
Two bee eater, photo of Giuseppe Calsamiglia via Flickr

This area is famous for its fossils of different kinds that date back to 2 million years ago. The ride will turn into a time travel into prehistory: you will admire the testimonies of an antique sea that used to submerge this area until 1 million years ago.

The stops along the way are plenty, from the old and isolated buildings among nature such as the romanesque churches of Saint Genesio and Saint Nicomede, to the Wild Animals Recovery Centre “Le Civette”, where many birds of prey are helped and taken care of; from the spectacular canyon that forms the so-called open air Museum, a real paleontologic jewel, to the fortifications of Vigoleno

Church di Saint Nicomede
Church di Saint Nicomede, photo of Turismo Emilia Romagna via Flickr

Once you arrive in Vigoleno, after you visit its castle, you have to follow the signs for Scipione Ponte. After few upward kilometers, you will arrive in Salsomaggiore Terme, where you will bathe in thermal waters and restore from the journey.

Salsomaggiore Terme
Salsomaggiore Terme, photo of Turismo Emilia Romagna via Flickr


In the heart of Italy, An exciting field trip among historic places and breathtaking landscapes is waiting for you.    

Cover image: ph by Turismo Emilia Romagna via Flickr

Author: Chiara Marras