• Cycle Tourism
    • Active & Green

From Desenzano del Garda to Mantua

Featuring mills, lotus flowers and strips of riverine forest, the Mincio cycleway is the birthplace of cycling tourism in Lombardy

Where
Ciclabile del Mincio
Infopoint
Infopoint Mantova
Piazza Mantegna, 6, Mantova
+39 0376 432432

Two centuries ago, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe embarked on his ‘Italian journey’ in a horse-drawn carriage.

Nowadays, many people do the Grand Tour on a bike. Following in the footsteps of the great writer-traveller, many choose the road that leads from Lake Garda to the banks of the Po as their first sweet taste of the “country where lemon trees bloom”.

The Mincio cycleway is one of the first routes to be successfully established. The route is marked as Ciclovia 1, part of the Ciclopista del Sole. Once completed, it will form the great backbone of Italy, from the Alps to the main islands.

The route has a gentle fellow traveller: the water of the Mincio River, which flows out of Lake Garda and lazily meanders through the first moraine hills, through woods, springs, bogs and wetlands, heading along the plain towards the river Po.

You start at Desenzano, perhaps after a coffee in Piazza Malvezzi, surrounded by the lake and porticoes, with a view of the Alps, and proceed southeast towards Pozzolengo and Monzambano, where you join the right river bank, the true cycleway. After a few kilometres, at Valeggio sul Mincio and Borghetto, the river makes a wide bend in the Mincio Regional Park. Beyond the town, there is a slight, almost imperceptible descent, allowing you to slightly ease off the pedals.

After the Centrale del Corno green area, just before Pozzolo, there is a wooded island in the centre that divides the river. Various plants grow wild here including broom, gentians, mint and aquatic orchids. On closer inspection, these plants can also be seen growing elsewhere on the river bank. In Pozzolo, the route diverts from the Mincio River and follows the bank of the Pozzolo-Maglio drainage canal. A brief digression, crossing the canal for Massimbona, leads you to a small Romanesque church and a medieval mill that is still in operation.

Once back on the cycleway, after about ten kilometres you continue along the bank of another artificial canal, the Mincio diversion canal. From here, traveling down a few dirt roads, you can ride through fields and valleys or head towards the Parco Giardino Bertone, which contains a nineteenth-century villa and is full of paths, ponds and flying storks.

There is a magnificent gingko tree in the villa’s garden, which is cloaked in spectacular golden-yellow foliage in autumn. There is another lovely alternative just outside Soave Marmirolo, namely the Bosco della Fontana, a former hunting ground of the Gonzagas, which is now a State Nature Reserve, one of the rare examples of riverine forest that has remained untouched for centuries.

Now you are near the finish line, in the part of the route where lotus flowers grow on the river in the summer. Leaving the embankment road, you bear right towards rural roads that wind through the countryside: finally, Mantua appears.

You can observe it from the Cittadella del Porto, which was built in the sixteenth-century to defend the city. The fairytale silhouette of the towers of Castello di San Giorgio and the great white dome of Sant’Andrea make you feel as though you are riding a noble steed, like in the frescoes in the Bridal Chamber. It is time to dismount and to pay homage to the city of the Gonzagas.
 

-

One day route
Difficulty:  for everyone
Length: 43,5 km
Elevation profile: slightly downhill
Roads: segregated bike lane, paved
Type of bike: touring bikes with gears
and road bikes
When: from April to October
Mood: slow

Take me here: From Desenzano del Garda to Mantua

Places

Goito

It is located in a landscape of medium and low plain, designed in time by the Mincio and still dominated by country roads and canals
  • Villages
Village of Goito
7.28 km

Castellaro Lagusello

Castellaro Lagusello: a fortified village that is reflected in its heart-shaped pond, where you can enjoy tranquillity and nature.
  • Villages
Castellaro Lagusello, Borghi Mantova
8.74 km

The Bertone Park

Today visitors can use the many paths and walkways to explore the villa’s grounds and admire the lake and the rich vegetation
  • Parks
Parco delle Bertone
9.42 km

Terme delle Piscine Airone

The chance discovery of an extremely pure natural spring has made Goito a spa destination
  • Wellness
Piscine Airone
10.27 km

CASTELLO DI POZZOLENGO

Castles at Pozzolengo
  • Art & Culture
CASTELLO DI POZZOLENGO
11.74 km

Fortress of solferino

Immersed in the green stands the mighty tower referred to "The Spy of Italy" for its strategic position
  • Art & Culture
Fortress of Solferino
12.8 km

Chervò Golf San Vigilio

The splendid “Chervò Golf Hotel Spa & Resort San Vigilio” is situated In the unique setting of Lake Garda between Sirmione and Desenzano
  • Golf
Chervò Golf San Vigilio, Pozzolengo, Brescia
13.72 km

Where to sleep

CORTE CANALE VIRGILIO

Volta Mantovana
CORTE CANALE VIRGILIO
518 mt

GASPARI FARM

Marmirolo
GASPARI  FARM
1.06 km

CASCINA BOSCHI

Volta Mantovana
CASCINA BOSCHI
1.69 km

TREBIS

Volta Mantovana
TREBIS
2.02 km

CORTE PETACCHI

Volta Mantovana
CORTE PETACCHI
2.03 km

CORTE ZUCCONE

Volta Mantovana
CORTE ZUCCONE
2.84 km

MONTEFIORITO APARTMENTS

Volta Mantovana
MONTEFIORITO APARTMENTS
3.15 km

CIMBRI

Volta Mantovana
CIMBRI
3.62 km

BORTOLINO

Volta Mantovana
BORTOLINO
3.92 km

PACE, LUMINOSITÀ E COMODITÀ A DUE PASSI DAL GARDA

Volta Mantovana
PACE, LUMINOSITÀ E COMODITÀ A DUE PASSI DAL GARDA
4.18 km

TREBISONDA

Monzambano
TREBISONDA
5.39 km

CORTE ISOLO

Goito
CORTE ISOLO
5.97 km

LE CAMERE DI VIRGILIO

Monzambano
LE CAMERE DI VIRGILIO
5.98 km

CORTE OLFINO

Monzambano
CORTE OLFINO
6.22 km

CORTE VILLABELLA

Marmirolo
CORTE VILLABELLA
6.26 km

LA CASA DI ENEA

Goito
LA CASA DI ENEA
6.65 km

LA ROVERE

Roverbella
LA ROVERE
6.76 km

LA CASA DI EDO

Goito
LA CASA DI EDO
6.79 km

SEREGNER AGRICAMPING

Monzambano
SEREGNER AGRICAMPING
6.92 km

ANTICA DIMORA CONTI CUSTOZA

Roverbella
ANTICA DIMORA CONTI CUSTOZA
7.14 km