From the spa centres of Abano and Montegrotto Terme we head towards the Colli Euganei to discover some authentic Renaissance Italian architectural jewels.
Start point:Montegrotto Terme
Finish point:Montegrotto Terme
Total distance:30 km
Duration:max 3 hours
Grade of difficulty:medium
The route is on the level and mainly runs along countryside dirt tracks and secondary roads that are also used by normal traffic.
We get into the saddle in Montegrotto Terme, a spa location renowned for the goodness of its waters and the quality of its hotels. We head towards Torreglia on a wide cycle path. Turning into Via Fornace, we quickly cross the grey craftsmen's area and reach the foot of the rise that dominates Abano Terme. Only the most trained can make the ascent in the saddle that leads to the entrance to the monastery of San Daniele in Monte, the others will proceed towards Monteortone, suburb of Abano that begins near the Santuario della Beata Vergine della Salute.
The complex merits a stay; the visit starts with the votive chapel inside which gusts the spring where in 1428 the miraculous apparition was to appear that has been the justification for the building of the Marian sanctuary. The church, a national monument, was built in the late Romanesque style and preserves notable works of art inside. In the ex-convent, now an usual spa hotel, it is possible to admire the Renaissance cloister in the centre of which there stands out a harmonious well in Istrian stone.
We pick up the bicycle and proceed in a northerly direction across the delightful countryside of Monterosso and Feriole to reach the Villa Emo-Capodilista.The building, the work of Dario Varotari, stands in a picturesque position on the hill of Montecchia and is connected to an ancient small medieval fort, today used as a cellar and golf course. Taking up again the road that goes to Teolo and having passed over the nearby locality of San Biagio (a short detour to see the sixteenth century church) one turns onto the straight stretch that leads to the Praglia Abbey
Founded in the 1100s by Benedictine monks, the abbey took on its present architectural form during the Renaissance, in a project by Tullio Lombardo. As well as the church it is possible to visit the internal cloisters, the chapter house and the monumental refectory. From Praglia to Luvigliano one travels along a pleasant foothill road with little traffic that penetrates the Vallarega plain, where mining activities of the last century revealed interesting columnar fissures, geological phenomena that are very evident in the Brusà mount. After a few kilometres, one cannot fail to observe the majestic Villa dei Vescovi, prototype of a Veneto villa and important monument of the Veneto Renaissance period, now an asset of the Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano (National Trust for Italy). The work of Giovanni Maria Falconetto, the villa dominates the area of Luvigliano and sits in a scenic position within the surrounding hills. From Luvigliano one sets out again towards Torreglia on an ordinary road, so we recommend that you pay attention to the traffic. Under the slopes of Monte Rua we stop to observe a rural building with a beautiful pigeon loft and on a connected knoll a picturesque architectural complex with an oratory. This complex that is now a private residence is called Castelletto: originally it was a Benedictine courtyard belonging to Santa Giustina in Padua, but it then became a commenda of the Knights of Malta that until the 19th century suppressions administered from here the large estates in their possession. The cycle excursion turns towards its end and we return to Montegrotto, firstly along the Via Volti, a pleasant foothill road shaded by oak and chestnut woods, then on a cycle path. The view in the distance of Villa Draghi concludes this enchanted itinerary running between villas and monasteries.