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Food Valley Bike

An itinerary between nature, history and eno-gastronomy

Food Valley Bike, the cycling route of the Lowland of Parma that joins Parma to Busseto.

Sport, culture and enogastronomy, all suitable for bicycle!

The itinerary of more than 70 kilometres set up a network of municipalities of Sorbolo Mezzani, Colorno, Sissa Trecasali, Roccabianca and Polesine Zibello, with a rich proposal of visits and tastings of culinary specialities of the Lowland.

A slow tourism that combine the pleasure of sport with that for cooking and art.

Bicycle, culture and gastronomy of quality come together in the Food Valley Bike.

The route starts from Parma, in the centre of the Food Valley, city of bicycle riders and temple of iconic flavours of cuisine, to get to Busseto, through the places of Giuseppe Verdi and of the films of Peppone and Don Camillo, of tortelli and salami, of cheese and of amazing protected areas.

From Parma, UNESCO City of Gastronomy and Italian Capital of Culture 2020/2021, known all over the world for Prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and pasta, following the bank of Enza stream, pass through the town of Coenzo, reaching the Po River in the town of Mezzani, homeland of the Anolino, until Colorno, with its Ducal Palace and ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine.

Along the riverside, the route goes up the Po River to the West and the Land of Verdi, where the cured meats are the protagonists of the table: the Spalla Cruda in Sissa Trecasali, the Ciccioli in Roccabianca and Polesine Zibello where the king of salami is produced, the Culatello. You will arrive in Busseto, where you can taste the Spongata its traditional cake.

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The people of Emilia use the bicycle as a hat, which cannot be abandoned, because it is a part of the person even that it is inopportune. The bike has something of the dog on us, continues company that we takes with even though without get in, to get from the house to the coffee that is twenty meters away.”

Cesare Zavattini 19621 Explorations on the Via Emilia

Bici Parma Po

The “Bici Parma Po” cross the province of Parma from West to East intersecting many others routes: “Verdi” from the star, “The Small World” and the “Ciclotaro” nearby Gramignazzo and the Street of the Culatello di Zibello.

The landscape is the classic one of the Great River: poplars and meanders alternate with well-equipped staging points and river docks dedicated to tourism, nature areas such as the Woods of Maria Luigia in Torricella di Sissa and the Parma Morta Natural Reserve in Mezzani.

From Colorno with a small detour on the embankment of the Galasso canal, with a mixed bottom (asphalt, gravel, grass) it is possible to reach the Natural Reserve of Torrile and Trecasali.

From Colorno along the bank of Parma stream and of the Po, it is possible to reach Mezzani and then Coenzo, from where it is possible to continue on secondary roads to Sorbolo and Bogolese, just outside Parma.

Download the map of bike tours in the lowland or pick up it at the Tourist Office

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Curiosity, Colorno

Colorno celebrate the passage of Giuseppe Garibaldi

On the morning of 12th April, 1862 Giuseppe Garibaldi see foot in Colorno coming from Parma and headed to Casalmaggiore. He did not stay long, just for a quick stop to say hello to the town and then away to the land beyond the Po. The Municipality did not pay attention to expenses and built a triumphal arch at the entrance of the town, decorated the square, plentiful breakfast for nine people at the hotel Della Posta (six coachmen, one groom and two coaches), and a refreshment with sweets and “sciampagna”. To welcome the General there were the major Giovanni Maria Levacher, the council member Antonio Chevé and many other notables. The people welcomed him with great enthusiasm and a young woman, exited by his words of incitement to the fatherland, asked him if she could cut off a lock of his hair. She was certainly satisfied (it seems she was the daughter of the chemist Bocelli, who had fought with Garibaldi). It is not the only relic belonging to the General and present in the civic collection: there is the sabre donated to the General by the French government for the help given in the Prussian war with the Vosges Campaign (1870-71), received in Colorno through his doctor, Timoteo Riboli (1808-1897).

Colorno will later demonstrate its admiration for Garibaldi by dedicating to him the main square of the town and a plaque that is still seen in the same square, dated June 2, 1900, and in memory of the death occurred in Caprera on June 2, 1882.

The Garibaldians of Colorno

The contribution of the inhabitants of Colorno had been effective: 35 of them had volunteered and actively participated in the war campaigns to liberate the South. The names are in the list drawn up by the Municipality after the Unification of Italy.

We want to rememebr them all: «Guzzoni Melchiorre, Braciforte comandante Lodovico, Battioni Leopoldo, Canali Demetrio, Monici Eugenio, Giacomo Valenti, Sporta Giuseppe, Pellegrini Cipriano, Pecchioni Francesco, Gerbella Demetrio, Bocchia Pietro, Zanardi Ernesto, Zanardi Dalmazio, Zanardi Giacomo, Zanardi Giovanni, Morenghi Giuseppe, Fano Mosè, Zoni Parisi Marianna, Garzia Angelo, Geminiani Luigi, Gatti Gaspare, Marchiani Narciso, Papini Adolfo, Piccinini Nicola, Montecchi Annibale, Mazzera Pietro, Piccoli Enrico, Sichel Rutilio, Amoretti Antonio, Avanzini Giglielmo, Geminiani Antonio, Angelini Luigi, Bonazzi Luigi, Negri Luigi, Caldarini Fabiano».

It was a contribution in human strength and in money, for the decision to join the initiative “of the undefeated Our General Garibaldi for the purchase of a million rifles for the defense of Italy”. On November 3, 1859 “willing and unanimous”, the City Council had deliberated the contest of the Municipality “so striking patriotic proposal with the sum of five hundred lire”.

The history of Colorno in the portraits of Carlo Mattioli

In the hall of the City Council there are sixteen portraits of the famous painter Carlo Mattioli (born in Modena in 1911 and lived in Parma, where he died in 1944) of famous people who, as in the municipal archive, were commissioned in 1963 by Augusta Ghidiglia Quintavalle, superintendent of the National Gallery of Parma, characters “who had both by birth and political ties or culture related to the history of Colorno”, sovereigns, men of arms and church, artists and writers.

The investment by the Municipality was due to comply the Law 717 – 1949, called law “percent for art”, which, inspired by the Art. 9 of the Constitution (promotion of culture), obligates the public institutions at the time of the construction of a new building, to allocate to their landscaping a share not less than 2% of the value of the property, even with the purchase of works of art of painting or sculpture.

In 1964, the historic Longara was finally demolished and the construction of the New Town Hall was started; today it is possible to admire there the half- busts of Maria Luigia, Azzo da Correggio, Zaccaria Olivieri or the Bishop Martino da Colorno

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The territory, which extends between the municipalities of Colorno, Sorbolo Mezzani and Torrile, has all the characteristics of the “Lowland”, a land of plain and river where the hot summer midday and the motionless afternoon fogs in autumn follow each other, always the same though different. A land good of plantation and strain, land of work and opportunity.

Giovannino Guareschi wrote: “Dense and frozen fog in winter, in summer a ruthless sun beat furiously hammered on the brains of the people and here everything is exasperated. Here political passions explode violent and the fight is hard but men always remain men and here thing happen that cannot happen anywhere else.”

Many thing have changed since the times of the so called “Mondo Piccolo” (Small World), however, that of the lowland, is always a world, which is not easy to penetrate and seize. Places where the water, the river and the plain that extends as far as the eye could see represent the protagonists of a village soul that makes this territory evocative and melancholy.

The Bassa Parmense Est is an autonomous local authority, established in 2010, which join the Municipalities of Colorno, Sorbolo Mezzani e Torrile.