On a bike along the Outer River Circuit of Padova

On a hot summer Sunday we decided to go cycling along the Anello Fluviale di Padova, the Water Ring in Padua.

In the past water was very important for Padua, it was used to transport goods, inside the city and in the trade with others, and to irrigate the fields. Today the transportation system is different, but some of the canals are still there, and have become a great spot for relaxation.

The Anello Fluviale di Padova follows canals and rivers around the town centre of Padua. It’s a ring itinerary of 47 kilometers (29 miles), almost completely reserved to bikes and pedestrians, only a few kilometers are on roads shared with cars, but traffic there is very light.

Here is the itinerary on Strava:

We started our ride from ponte del Bassanello, as suggested by a guidebook by the Touring Club Italiano; we found a free parking nearby (it’s not difficult as it’s outside the centre of the town) and we started riding. The path is well marked everywhere, you don’t really need a guidebook.

The ride is basically flat, the height difference is of 58 meters up and down (about 63 yards), not difficult at all, just a bit long, if you are not used to cycling for long distances. The first part towards West along the Bacchiglione and North along the Brentella Canal till Limena was very pleasant, I liked the landscape, with farms and nice houses, and it was mostly in the shade. I would have liked to stop more often to take pictures but we were riding fast and eager to go, at the beginning.

The Itinerary of the Water Ring in Padua

From Limena to Stra the path follows the Brenta River and then again two canals, the Piovego and San Gregorio, to the Bassanello Bridge, a section that is mostly in the sun, so it’s better to avoid it in the hottest days (unlike we did).

The guidebook suggests a few places to visit along the ride, like the Certosa in Vigodarzere and Villa Giovannelli in Noventa Padovana, but we are not strong riders and it was satisfying enough for us to get to the end. But in Stra I took a short detour to give a look to Villa Pisani. I’ll have to go back and do part of te path to Vigodarzere and maybe cycle a bit in the town centre of Padova.

Villa Pisani a Stra
Villa Pisani in Stra

There are some drinking fountains along the road and you often cycle near towns with cafes and restaurants, but you still should have your water bottle with you. We stopped in Limena, Stra and a cute little cafĂ© along the Canale San Gregorio where there’s a tiny beach where you can swim and sunbath. I would have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, to rehydrate with beer and lemonade, but if we relaxed too much I wouldn’t have been able to cycle the last few kilometers.

I have always used the bike to move in the cities where I lived, and I also like to visit a new place by bike, even though it’s not the best if you want to take pictures, in particular if you are traveling with others or have to ride for many kilometers. But I hope to cycle more and more often, maybe doing an eco-friendly holiday with a bike and bags in the back. I’ll let you know if I’ll ever do it.