I was in Italy last week for work. Two days of Italian national holiday afforded me the opportunity to bicycle. I brought my helmet, reflectors, lights, and even had a friend in Italy who was going to lend me a bike to use.
Upon driving (for work) to and around Pisa, Lucca, Bologna, and Florence, though, it was obvious that the roads were much too dangerous for bicyclists.
The roads do not have shoulders and are very narrow and very congested. Worse yet, the motorists are very aggressive risk takers who drive too fast for the narrow and curvey streets.
I thought it maybe I had only seen the bad roads. Bicycle touring in Italy is so famous. I must have been missing something, so I asked some Italian bicycle enthusiasts who confirmed that Italian roads have become too dangerous for bicycling in recent years. For this reason, most Italian bicyclists have switched to mountain biking or travel to neighboring France or Germany for touring.
This was a disappointment for me, having heard so much about Italian bicycle touring. I have bicycled in other parts of Europe like Switzerland, France, and Germany and had a wonderful time enjoying miles of "bicycle-only" paths which connect cities and countries as well as resonable travel on motor vehicle shared roads.
Does anybody have any RECENT experience bicycle touring in Italy? Was I just in an unusually bad collection of cities and roads?
Anyway, part of the reason I am back on the bikeforum.com is due to my decision not to risk my safety by bicycling in Italy.