Bicycle Touring the Venice Lagoon Cycling Northern Italy
Our first 5 days of bicycle touring, from Bologna to Caorle, across the Po river delta, the city of Chioggia, the infamous Romea, and the amazing Venice Lagoon.
Bologna – Portorotta
At 11.30 am, finally there comes the last but not least package: the Président’s leather saddle fully restored (Thanks Simone!). We arrange the bags and after asking ourselves at least a dozen times “forget anything?” and another twenty “do we got everything?” finally we leave.
A last goodbye to our mechanic and we go, better late than never. We cycle out of Bologna taking some countryside roads running through the villages of the province (Maddalena di Cazzano, San Giovanni in Triario, San Martino dei Manzoli). It still feels like a Sunday trip.
We arrive in Portorotta and we find dinner already on the table, kindly prepared by Silvia and Alessandro, along with a cold beer. As the first day there we took it very calmly, even because we’ll not sleep in a bed for a while.
Portorotta – Bosco Mesola
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With the help of Alessandro, we assemble the Magnic Light on the Koga and leave. Heading to the Po Delta, we want to avoid, whenever possible, busy roads that do not offer much to see but an endless parade of honking trucks.
We arrive at Ostellato and after a Piadina and a beer (we allow ourselves some culinary luxury as long as we can) take a ride to the “Vallette di Ostellato”. Weather is beautiful and there is almost nobody around, only a few elderly fishermen and two shepherds with a flock of sheep.
From Ostellato we take a cycling path into the unknown. We arrive in Migliarino and there we understand it was the wrong road. We take advantage of it to do some shopping. This yes is bad, considering that we paid the bread 12 Euros per kilo.
The lesson of the day: always ask the price of things, even those that are taken for granted.
We return to the right path. The area is full of abandoned houses so there should be no problem to find a place to sleep. The weather is not the best. It seems that it should rain at any moment.
We find a place that looks perfect, but a “neighbor” comes out and tells us that the landlord would “turn us into pieces” if he finds us. Perplexity.
Especially after he recommended to pitch the tent on the other side of the road, in the middle of a sown field, where, moreover, some tractors are working!
Ok, free camping solution No. 1 discarded!
We keep on cycling. Then, a few meters from Bosco Mesola another abandoned house appears. 3, 2, 1, victory! Also because it is 8 pm and the rain is coming. It’s chilly, we assemble the tent behind the house, away from prying eyes, more or less.
But however, in short time it will be dark. We eat bread and cheese and sleep. Despite the cold, it’s warm in the tent.
Bosco Mesola – Isola Pellestrina
After un-mounting our new portable house we set off again, it’s 10 in the morning. And strangely we do not miss the coffee. But we’ll talk about this in a few weeks.
Daniele has pain in his knee. Checking between the drugs that the doctor prescribed us, we realize that he only gave us painkillers to inject! But who have ever made a puncture?
We stop at the pharmacy in Bosco Mesola and get some normal powdery painkillers. Back on the road this time, unfortunately, there are no alternatives, we have to face the State Road 309, the terrible Romea.
After about twenty kilometers on the verge of death, we finally get out and stop in Porto Viro. We’re in Veneto. In the square there is an information office, obviously closed.
We would like to find out if there is a way to cross the Po Delta and get to Chioggia. The men of the Pro Loco had a map of the Delta, better than nothing.
By eating the usual bread and cheese on a bench in the square of the church we decide to cross the Delta. It’s a bit of a detour, but at least it will be a nice road. And maybe we’ll not have other opportunities to see this beautiful landscape.
We were right, the alternative route really deserves, the scenery is beautiful, the road crosses the Delta, there is water on the right and water on the left. Very calm water. We would like to take a bath.
We arrive at a point where there are a couple of fishermen. One of them tells us that after crossing the Adige there is an alternative to the Romea again, a road that runs along a canal and reaches up to Chioggia. Perfect!
Even this road is beautiful and we meet very few cars.
The Venice Lagoon
We cross Chioggia, a small Venice, and we take a ferry to the Isle of Pellestrina. Very nice and not touristic at all, at least in this period. There are neither hotels nor campsites.
The island is a narrow strip of land about a few hundred meters wide and, 8 kilometers long. On one side the sea, the other the lagoon, bordered by a very impressive path. There are a couple of hamlets with the square facing the sea.
Just when we thought to sleep on the narrow beach we find a set of three abandoned houses just down the lane on the lagoon.
We put the tent directly inside one of the houses. We got lucky because at night there was rain and strong wind. We sleep very well.
We wake up early, the night wind blew away the clouds, the sky is beautiful. I find that Daniele had taken my eyebrows tweezers. According to him they were a tool, and in fact were with screwdrivers and Swiss knives.
So, of course, I take the opportunity to adjust my eyebrows. After the beautician brackets, we leave again.
Take a coffee (avoidable) at the port of Santa Maria and we board, we cross by bike Lido di Venezia, and from there we take another ferry to Punta Sabbioni, the mainland!
Daniele still has pain in his knee. Maybe I’ll have to learn how to make a puncture, at least the subject of the experiment is not myself.
We arrive in Duna Verde, near Caorle and decide to stop at a campsite.
We have a few stuff to charge and we need the internet; and then, to take a shower in a while doesn’t hurt.
The campground is nice, we have a huge space, and for 5 euro each, we get electricity, the internet, and a hot shower. It looks desert, at least until 10 pm when leaving the toilet I find myself in front of twenty drunk Alpini, aged around seventy.
They go to the campsite bar and keep on drinking, and of course, singing. I only remember the chorus: “I want to kiss her naked” and “you ‘re good, but now you must fuck off”, or something like that… we have the recordings.
The bar closes but the situation worsens, we want to get some sleep. It ends up that at 2.30 am we start yelling at old drunk men with a pen on their hats! But then we slept.
At least until 7 am, when they woke up more vivacious than ever for the boat ride.
A daybreak in Caorle
Morning, relax on the beach. Daniele plays the ukulele, I write. Now we buy some food and we’ll leave tomorrow!
We buy some food and we’ll leave tomorrow if the Alpini let us sleep…
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