The bike tour starts from Bagnoli di Sopra, from the town’s majestic square, highlighted by the big villa Widmann Borletti, designed Baldassare Longhena and the Dominio di Bagnoli, an estate where the Friularo wine is at home.
This is a great example of what the spirit of the first Venetian villas, which were born as active farms. Agricultural activities are in full swing in the vineyards, and in the cereal fields, which are also used for breeding beef cattle. It is said that Goldoni, the famous playwright, used to be a guest of the Widmanns and took inspiration from the master of the house when writing “La bottega del Caffè” (The Coffee Shop). The villa’s garden is home to a stunning series of statues by Antonio Bonazza, depicting characters of the Venetian’s playwright’s commedia dell’arte.
We then take the provincial road connecting Bagnoli to Anguillara Veneta, which has a cycle lane. A pleasant straight road allows us to dive into the classic landscape offered by the Venetian countryside, which is cut through by several water streams. We immediately find the “Canale dei Cuori” (the hearts canal) which tells us a story of a piece of land that was reclaimed with great difficulty from the marshes. Before reaching the heart of the village of Anguillara – famous for the sweet American potato – next to Taglio bridge, it is worth stopping to see the “Villa Arca del Santo” (Ark of the Saint), and the Saint we are speaking about is Saint Anthony of Padua. In fact, these lands have been the property of the Veneranda Arca del Santo since the 15th century, and they had several farmhouses built and boundary stones here, which are still sometimes visible, including this villa (not open to the public) and its oratory consecrated to Saint Anthony where, however, the celebrations for the Saint’s day still take place on 13th June.
We cut through another water stream, and this time it is the artificial canal called Gorzone, which will flow into the river Brenta and finally into the sea. We then cross the town that, as the name suggests, was once home to a big number of eels (anguilla in Italian), and reach the bank of the river Adige. It is possible to ride along the embankment until reaching the road for Borgoforte, a place renowned for its pure pecorino cheese. We then get to the provincial road leading to Agna, an extremely important junction in Roman times, as the Via Annia Popilia passes here, a route that was complementary to the Via Postumia that connected Rimini with Aquileia, running through Padua and Altino. In the countryside of Via Cromer there is an interesting reconstruction of the old Roman paved road. In the current Town Hall, the 17th-century Palazzo Mingoni, we can see frescoes by Cromer, which feature a series of putti in funny yet bizarre poses. The tour continues on the road back to Bagnoli, passing through the hamlet of Prjeon, which offers us sights of its beautiful countryside.