An award for bike-friendly Italian cities

Cycling Life

An award for bike-friendly Italian cities

There are many Italian cities that can be visited by bike, some are better equipped than others, but many are moving towards a mobility that increasingly considers cycling. 

There are also some Italian municipalities that stand out for being particularly ‘bike friendly’, and offer infrastructure and services designed specifically for cyclists. Bolzano, Ferrara, Cesena, Padua, Mantua, Treviso and Lecce are among them, but then there are different ones awarded in Italy every thanks to the Urban Award, an award promoted by Viagginbici.com and Anci, the National Association of Italian Municipalities. 

Each year, the Urban Award analyses sustainable mobility projects in urban centres: since its first edition, initiatives that are already active are taken into consideration that encourage, in particular, the use of bicycles to work (bike to work), to go to school (bike to school), for urban logistics with cargo bikes and integrated mobility projects. All of this must be accompanied by communication and awareness activities, events and in-depth discussions that promote a new culture of transport and use of urban spaces. Today we focus on three examples that are pleasingly suitable not only for those who live there and move around by bike, but also for a weekend on two wheels to discover Italy’s historical, artistic and gastronomic riches. Last year, these cities received awards in the seventh edition of the event dedicated to sustainable mobility. 


The speed limit is set at 30 kilometres per hour throughout the city centre, and with its 237 kilometres of Bicipolitana already completed out of the 1,000 planned (with the involvement of the 45 neighbouring municipalities), its cycling services, and its many sustainable mobility education initiatives such as Bike Pride, the courage of Italy’s first ‘City 30’ capital won the seventh edition of the Urban Award. 

There are two main networks of the bike metro, one dedicated to daily commuting with 20 lines and another with 14 leisure routes. In all, 34 lines operate 40% of which 75% on protected carriageways and the rest on shared lanes. Then there are the main bicycle services: bicycle racks with a total of 12,500 spaces, a cycle station in operation and 10 in the planning stage near the stops of the metropolitan train service, 10 installed inflating and tyre repair stations, the redevelopment of the velostation with guarded parking, rental service, workshop, relaxation area and free wi-fi, the branding service, bike sharing with 500 normal bicycles and 1. 800 e-bikes available on the road 24 hours a day in about 200 reserved stations in various areas, signposting of cycle routes and online and paper mapping of networks. The awareness-raising plan is also rich with communication campaigns, events (Bike Pride, European Sustainable Mobility Week, Bicipolitana Bike), incentives for the purchase of bicycles or cargo e-bikes and for workers who choose two wheels, as well as road education in schools.

Ascoli Piceno

The city in the Marche region stands out for its services aimed at primary school children and middle and high school students. The ‘Safe Walking and Cycling to School’ project has launched a series of initiatives to improve school accessibility and raise awareness of soft mobility. It operates the ‘Piedibus’ service with volunteer escorts and bibs for the youngest children and the ‘Bicibus’ for students. It has set up ‘30 zones’ in some districts of the city and created cycle lanes serving the 9 high schools in the Porta Maggiore district by donating new equipped bike racks. Bike counting totems have been installed to help better understand the concentration and flow of bicycles in order to better plan future interventions. The Municipality of Ascoli Piceno’s biciplan is coherent and aims to make existing cycle routes more homogeneous and safe.

La Bici della felicità: come cambiare la propria vita grazie alla bicicletta


The main objective of the Lecce ‘Reactivity’ project is to stimulate a change in mobility habits by rewarding walking, cycling, car-pooling and the use of public transport and micro-mobility. The initiative is financed within the framework of the European project ‘Future Mobility 2023’ and in the first months of experimentation has already crunched the first numbers: 10,000 kilometres cycled by participants with a saving of 5.5 tonnes of CO2. Communication is also excellent with real-time data available on the web and an incentive system.

Vouchers earned using public, sustainable and active modes of travel are, in fact, spendable in local shops, thus spreading the proximity economy. At the end of the project, local public transport subscriptions will also be made available as an extra reward for the most virtuous users. All this is open both to the citizens of Lecce and to commuters who study and work in the Apulian town. 

And again Two special mentions

Turin thanks to the creation of ‘resilient neighbourhoods’ with the establishment of thirty kilometres per hour. The project is completely redesigning the populous district of Basso San Donato. Work is underway to redevelop greenery, street furniture, bicycle and pedestrian paths that redefine coexistence among the different users of public spaces. A new way of experiencing the city and the neighbourhood, greener, gentler and more sustainable. The project also includes car-free areas, particularly near an important school, the Aporti Gastaldi, where 30 km/h zones will be established.

Oliveri, a small and beautiful municipality of 2,000 inhabitants in the province of Messina, is proposing an experiment: to be protagonists of change in the belief that seeing someone else do something useful will trigger virtuous imitations. And so the mayor, every morning, has decided to make small gestures to make big revolutions: he rides around on a vintage bike equipped with a box and collects waste in the street. He empties everything in the municipality and the circuit starts again. The thing has gone round the country and many are now imitating him, showing how important it is to set an example. 

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