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Old 03-24-07, 06:42 AM   #1
notoptube
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going to Italy next week

MY pal and I are flying into Rome in a week to play for a few weeks . We are heading North ...Siena, Florence, Milan.......would love recommendations on rides, shops, wine, coffee, food, basically La Dolce Vita. Were both into vintage bikes and would love to score some vintage bikes/gear for ourselves . share your secrets ?


Wow I just read this and it kinda sounds like a sexy personal...
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Old 03-24-07, 02:08 PM   #2
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This website has a lot of great information on Italy.

Why don't you just fly into Milan? Dealing with the airport there is very, very easy. It seems to me that Rome is very stressful.

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Old 03-24-07, 02:29 PM   #3
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Hi, that is a nice link but, I think this link might work beter (http://slowtalk.com/), had problems opening yours.
My wife and I are touring through Italy and into Greece in about 5 weeks from now, thank you for the link.
We are also looking for as much information as possible.
Cheers
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Old 03-24-07, 02:53 PM   #4
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Link fixed. Thanks.

Xilios,

Where are you flying into? Or are you going by train coming from the Netherlands? I actually considered the Netherlands this fall. Prices are pretty cheap in comparison to what they want for Italy.

But I just found a cheap flight. Only $910 including taxes. The bad news is that I have to leave Sunday instead of Firday like I wanted and there is a stop over in Germany. It would be kind of nice to just touch down in Germany but that tis one more place for my bike to get lost. I already have a stop in Philadelphia that worries me.
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Old 03-24-07, 03:22 PM   #5
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Hi, we're flying into Milan, Bergamo airport. Italy can get a bit expansive if you don't watch out, but it's a beautiful country and I liked cycling through there in 2005, this time I will like to enjoy it with my wife. Check out our page below.
If you decide to come over to Holland you've also got to check out the Southern part of the country especialy around Maastricht. In a relatively short time you can tour a bit through Belgium 5kms away, Germany 30kms, Luxemburg 200kms and France about 200kms.
Another option is flying into Brussels, they have a new train line that runs to Maastricht which takes 1hr.15min.
We have found Brussels airport much easyer to get around than Amstardam.

notoptube, apologies for highjacking your thread.

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Old 03-24-07, 06:09 PM   #6
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Too bad you weren't going into Malpensa. I could give you some tips on where to stay. But I do know that there is a youth hostel in Milan. Plus the hotels near the train station are "very" cheap. It seems to be a safe part of town but there is a lot of graffiti about giving you an unsettling feeling.

Thanks for the tip on Brussels. I am going to have to consider that sometime. But I am going to Italy again this year. It was my first tour ever last year. I had a great time but it did not go as smoothly as I wanted. There are better options as far as airfare such as Ireland and the Netherlands but somehow I feel the need to go back to Italy and try again, to do it right.

Pavia is just south of Milan and is a great little town. It has a large castle and there is also the Certosa di Pavia nearby. I know of a great little B&B there. Let me know if interested. But if you and your wife are in decent shape then consider the lake region.

Here are some things I learned on my trip.


Try to settle on one or two regions and then a few provinces within that region. The Touring Club Italiano maps are great but the regional maps just don't have enough detail. Try to get you hands on the provincial maps. They are free at each province's tourist information office. The TCI maps can also be purchased here


You can determine what town a province is in here.


Avoid the need to be in a different place every night. Italy should be savored. There are lots of wonderful little towns in which to stay. Find a place you like ans stay a couple of days. Keep the place as a base for day rides.


Finding a place to stay can be a little stressful. If you don't speak Italian and are in a non tourist area, getting directions can be difficult. This is another good reason to not jump around too much.


Remember that there are other places in Italy to see other than the tourist areas. We were somewhat of a novelty when we rolled into town on our bicycles. People always had lots of questions. any times only in Italian! I speak very little Italian but I seemed to somehow be able to answer at least some of their questions.

Try to avoid the large cities. They can be very busy and not very bike friendly. There are plenty of small towns near by where you can stay. You can leave the bikes at your base and take a train into the city.


At some time you may need to get to a city to catch a train. Many trains do not allow bikes that are unboxed or not in a bag. Most regionale trains allow bicycles. They really should consider relaxing the rules for bicycles IMHO.


Look for the markets. Most towns of a decent size will have one. They are usually open around 9 or 10 and this is a great place to get some lunch.


Here are some other links:

http://www.fiab-onlus.it/english/bicitale.htm
http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
http://www.parks.it/indice/NatParks.html

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Old 03-24-07, 07:20 PM   #7
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Thanks for the links .
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Old 03-24-07, 09:02 PM   #8
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Let me know how much of a hassle Rome is. Milan could not be much easier. There is a bike path nearby that takes you all the way to Pavia. From there you can make your way down to Tuscany either by bike or by train. If you want to return (I am sure you will). Then next time try Milan and stay at the Tre Leone (3 Lions) in nearby Somma Lombardo. They have a large garage and should be able to store your bicycle.

There is also a cheaper hotel in Somma Lomabardo but I have not seen it yet. I plan on checking it out when I arrive.



Have a great time on your trip!
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Old 03-25-07, 07:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnaker

Try to settle on one or two regions and then a few provinces within that region. The Touring Club Italiano maps are great but the regional maps just don't have enough detail. Try to get you hands on the provincial maps. They are free at each province's tourist information office. The TCI maps can also be purchased here


You can determine what town a province is in here.



http://www.fiab-onlus.it/english/bicitale.htm
http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
http://www.parks.it/indice/NatParks.html
Thanks for posting the links. We are going to be in Italy at the end of April. Flying into Nice, France then driving north to the Aosta region. (Flying into Nice because we are returning the following weekend to run a 10k). We're definitely following your advice and staying away from the major tourist areas. Our plan is to tour the national park and vinyards ,wineries and castles in the region. Thanks again!
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Old 03-25-07, 08:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notoptube
MY pal and I are flying into Rome in a week to play for a few weeks . We are heading North ...Siena, Florence, Milan.......would love recommendations on rides, shops, wine, coffee, food, basically La Dolce Vita. Were both into vintage bikes and would love to score some vintage bikes/gear for ourselves . share your secrets ?


Wow I just read this and it kinda sounds like a sexy personal...
Don't take this the wrong way, but I HATE YOU! I've wanted to tour Italy for years.....just time /money or money /time issues! When I have the $$, no time and when I have the time, no $$!
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Old 03-25-07, 11:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcmers
Thanks for posting the links. We are going to be in Italy at the end of April. Flying into Nice, France then driving north to the Aosta region. (Flying into Nice because we are returning the following weekend to run a 10k). We're definitely following your advice and staying away from the major tourist areas. Our plan is to tour the national park and vinyards ,wineries and castles in the region. Thanks again!
Unless you have an appointment to be in Aosta, why not save yourself some driving and check out southern Piedmont's Cuneo province? It's got the Italian side of the Alps (passes like Colle di Fauniera with the monument to Marco Pantani; Colle dell'Agnello, which is featured in the 2007 Giro; Sant'Anna di Vinadio, with the highest-sited church in Europe; and more); it's got the Langhe hills, known for its world class wines (as well as being a foodie's paradise); it's just over the coastal mountains from Liguria, the western Italian Riviera; and the local tourist bureau publishes maps for cyclists. It's only 2 hours driving from Nice Cote d'Azur airport to Cuneo and there are lots of quiet little towns with hotels suitable for cycle tourists.

Shameless plug: my company, Agile Compass cycling tours http://www.agile-compass.com/italy.html does tours in Piedmont May-September.
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