In Italy, too, the prevalence of bike routes that follow rivers is spreading after the example of middle-European routes. This 40 km long [25 mile] bike path along the Mincio River from Mantua to Peschiera has nothing to envy, other than its length, of the more-celebrated Donauradweg. In fact it is a bike path that is almost entirely paved (the last section of dirt road was paved in 2006) and that traces one side of the famous quadrilateral fortifications that the Austrians constructed in the first half of the nineteenth century.
The logical starting point of this route is the train station in Mantua, which provides connections from Milan, Verona, Monselice and Padua.
Exit the station on the left, where you will find a bike lane that continues further to the left (along the train tracks); pedal a few hundred meters and you will find a down-grade that leads to two underpasses: to the right leads to a bike and pedestrian path that runs along the Lago di Mezzo [Middle Lake] to the Palazzo Ducale [the Ducal Palace − (*) a highly recommended side trip]; to the left leads to a bike path that runs over a boardwalk between the train tracks and Lago Superiore [Upper Lake] − this is the route to Peschiera; once past the lake follow the small street around the inlet that has a sports complex to the left and a small habitation to the right, after which, follow around the edge of the fields, going counter-clockwise; a sign at Strada Soave marks the beginning of the Mantova-Peschiera route. [See Paolo's map to better understand this part of the route. RB]
The route follows various irrigation canals through the Mantova plain offering a side trip to the Bosco Fontana [the hunting forest of the (*) Gonzaga family. RB]; the Mincio is reached after several kilometers at Pozzolo; here the path runs along the right side of the Mincio; shortly after Pozzolo a new bike and pedestrian bridge over the Mincio, leads to an optional side-trip to Volta Mantovana.
After a while, on the right, you will come into view of the (*)Scaligeri castle at Valeggio sul Mincio and at this point you have reached Borghetto sul Mincio, a village characterized by its many watermills and the ruins of the Visconti Bridge (no longer in use), and now a bustling tourist resort with many inns and restaurants. It's worth a stop and a detour to the new bridge over the Mincio from where you have a beautiful view of the Visconti Bridge.
Continue to Peschiera passing below another (*)Scaligeri castle at Monzambano; after which you cross to the left bank of the Mincio, passing below a thermo-electric generating station; the bike path ends after a few more kilometers underneath the railroad viaduct in Peschiera del Garda.
Peschiera del Garda is a village on Lake Garda that developed around a fortress that is well worth visiting.
At Peschiera there is a station on the Milan-Venice line, served by trains that carry bikes, with frequent service to Milan, and less frequent to Venice.
Latest visit 2011-05-01