Distance: 53.66 km
Time: 2 hours 24 minutes
Average speed: 22.4 kph
Cumulative distance: 592.69 km
Cumulative time: 28 hours 4 minutes
Word of the day: ‘pranzo’ (pran-tso) – lunch
Dinner last night was a simple affair, some ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms, and a bottle of slightly sparking red wine, which seems to be prevalent in this area, eaten back in our rented apartment.
Having thoroughly enjoyed our walk around Pavia yesterday we decided to re-visit Piazza della Vittoria, close to the Duomo, for our pre-departure breakfast of cappuccino and cornetti (probably better known as croissants) – in Italy they usually contain some sort of filling, perhaps pastry cream or some apricot jam, so if you want the French style you have to ask for cornetti vuoti, which means “empty croissants”. Never tell me this blog is less than educational!
It had rained overnight, and more was threatened for this morning, but we set out senza rainwear, striking out in an easterly, then southerly direction, towards the River Po. We crossed it over the old bridge just as it was joined by the Ticino, which flows through Pavia.
At this point the river seemed enormous – it took us quite a while to cycle across the bridge. When we consider, though, just how many tributary rivers we crossed when cycling around the foot of the Alps, all of which drain into the Po, it is hardly surprising that it so dominates the area.
We continued south towards Broni, which occupies a position at the foot of the same range of hills as Salice Terme. This meant an all-too-brief re-introduction to the world of beautiful vineyards, before we turned eastwards towards Piacenza. Thereafter, until we reached town, the journey would best be described as unremarkable – fairly busy roads, very gentle rolling hills and arable crops. We stopped for lunch in a roadside café – even here the food was splendid.
We’d promised our B&B host that we’d arrived at 2pm, and we had forty minutes in which to cycle sixteen kilometres. This we just about managed, despite a nasty headwind. The last couple of kilometres took us along Piacenza’s Roman wall.
Our accommodation is on the north-west edge of the centro storico (historical centre) of Piacenza. After a quick shower we wandered into the centre, initially in search of a bike shop, which turned out to have closed. The gloves, purchased for the Captain in Ivrea, have turned out to be too fragile, and a more robust pair is required! No luck there though, so we went to have a look at Piacenza’s Duomo, and then on to Piazza Cavalli, where there is a most impressive town hall, topped with the style of crenellations we’ve seen before in this region, at Verona and Mantova.
Now we’re back in our accommodation, plotting our route for the next few days, and researching restaurant options for this evening. Piacenza is famous for the quality of its salumi, so we must consider that when choosing. Tomorrow we are leaving early so that we can spend time in Cremona visiting the Museo del Violino – Cremona, of course, was the home of Antonio Stradivari.
Here’s today’s track.