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  1. #1
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    Touring Italy: Lessons Learned

    Just got back from a month in Italy, 2 weeks traveling w/ my wife, and 2 weeks on my bike, touring Umbria, Le Marche (Gubbio, Spello, Monte Sibillini, Ascoli Piceno) and Basilicata (Venosa, Melfi, Matera), about 800 K in all. Since this forum was so helpful in planning my trip I thought I’d share a few insights from my trip. Rather than give a daily account of my trip I thought it would be more helpful to address, in hindsight, some of the questions I had before I left, and what I learned during my trip. Fell free to chime in and add your own two cents.

    1. Go!! Italy is a biking paradise – ancient hilltop towns, olive groves, vineyards, good food, good wine, great roads and scenery. Take your best shot at planning, but don’t sweat all the details – It’s pretty easy to find just about anything you need in Italy.
    2. Itineraries Vs. – Winging It. I really wasn’t sure whether to stick to a pre-planned itinerary from a guidebook or just completely make up my route as I went. If you’ve never been to Italy and are not fluent in Italian I’d recommend starting with pre-planned itineraries – they have a lot of details figured out for you such as scenic routes with limited traffic, elevation profiles, good towns to lodge and eat in, and hazards to avoid, such as excess traffic or long tunnels. If you’ve never been and don’t speak Italian you’ll be plenty busy figuring things out like traffic signs, how to ask directions, dealing with lodging & meals, weather, etc, you don’t want to be wondering about the rest of the logistics I mention above as well. I used the new Lonely Planet “Italy by Bike” book and brought along the Touring Club Italiano maps for the specific areas I was biking in. Once you get your bearings you’ll be able to wing it more and improvise if you want to. What turned out to be very helpful was a guidebook specific to the region of Umbra and Le Marche – it had detailed info not available in a country wide guide that I used to improvise and modify my trip – I stayed in different towns and took some interesting side trips based in info in the regional guide.
    3. Tent and Camping gear? Not worth it, in my opinion. I schlepped a 1-person tent, sleeping pad, stove and sleeping bag around to whole damn time and barely used them (didn’t use the tent or sleeping pad once). Which brings me to my next lesson:
    4. Don’t Carry too Much Weight (duh!). The camping equipment really made my load heavy. It wasn’t such a big deal when riding, even up steep grades. The real hassle came when I had to carry my gear onto or off of trains making connections etc., which was miserable. Do your best to limit your load, it will make your experience a lot more pleasant.
    5. Bringing your Bike on the Trains – Yes, you can bring your bike on the train, but only the regional trains (not the direct and first class trains), and the longer the distance and the more remote your destination the more critical planning becomes. My first long train ride I was just winging it and showed up at the station early in the morning, going from Ascoli Piceno to a small town in Basilicata – it ended up taking me 14 hours and a lot of grief due to long layovers and missed connections. Going from Basilicata to Rome was much smoother. For one, it’s easier when you’re heading to a large city, like Rome, as there are more direct routes running at more frequent intervals. Also, I researched schedules ahead of time, pre-purchased my ticket. The longer your train ride and the more remote your destination, the more important planning becomes.
    6. Rome by Bike? I was a bit intimidated about bringing my bike to Rome. It turned out to be great, but I learned some valuable lessons: It’s easy to catch a train to Rome, however, the neighborhood around the train terminal is infested with seedy, over-priced hotels, so do your homework. I recommend avoiding the low cost hostels like the plague – DON”T stay at the Pop Inn Hostel http://www.popinnhostel.com/ – I made a reservation for a dorm bed for one night because it was the only place available. When I showed up they informed me there was an age limit to the dorm rooms (I’m 48 years old) , so instead of charging me 22 Euro for a dorm room they charged me 69 for a private room. That would have been OK, except that it the floor was gross and sticky and the toilets didn’t flush and the place was just plain gross, I diodn;t even want to take a shower. Do some research and find a decent place. I can recommend Papa Germanos on Via Calatafimi, 14/a Tel ) +39 06 486 919 http://www.hotelpapagermano.com/ just a few blocks north of the train station. Nice place, good people, reasonably priced, great location, there’s even a decent restaurant right across the street, in a neighborhood where most of the restaurants are crappy. Though you have to be cautious, you can bike in Rome and enjoy it, best time is Sunday AM, or late in t the evenings. If you’re not comfortable with city riding then don’t do it.
    7. Italian – Get the Collins Gem Italian Dictionary, a small, green cover. Unless you’re fluent you’ll need a dictionary, and this one is not only small and portable (it really fits into your pocket), it’s excellent. Amazing how much info they cram into this tiny book!

  2. #2
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    Lots of hostels in Rome seem to have an upper age limit for the dorms, I don't know why.

    The Rough Guide Italian-English phrase book is great for those of us who don't speak Italian. If you've got the time and cash, the Pimsleur language CDs and the Rosetta Stone language learning software are a good start towards speaking Italian. Any effort to learn Italian will pay off, even if the best you can do is "parla Inglese, per favore?".

    Did you get to the Plano Grande?

    I'm still up in the air about camping gear. Campgrounds are getting scarcer as land gets developed, and I didn't use my camping gear quite enough, but I had an awfully good time in the campgrounds that I stayed in. Definitely keep the camping gear as light as you can if you bring it.

    There are one or two long distance high speed trains between Italy and Austria/Germany that are operated by Deutsche Bahn and by Österreichische Bundesbahn that will carry bicycles on the Italian portion of their routes. Otherwise, taking bicycles on a train in Italy is not easy. Even the slow regional trains don't always take bicycles, so if you miss one bicycle friendly train you could have a long wait for the next one. And yes, you will regret every extra ounce of gear you brought as you haul your loaded bike up and down stairs and into and out of trains. Ride your bike, not the train as much as possible.

  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I'll add a few.

    While you will find plenty of people in large cites that speak English, you might find few people if any that speak English in smaller towns. Learn a few phrase like do you speak English, how how much, where is, do you have a room. etc. Don't worry about following the response. Instead carry a pad and pen. Learn to ask for them to write a map or write down the cost etc. A number is a number and a map is a map in any language.


    Try your Italian on people. You will be surprised how many people that will tell you that they don't speak English but try after you try speaking Italian. You will be surprised how much conversation you can have with limited vocabulary in two languages and hand gestures.

    When you board a train with a bike you are supposed to place the bike in the marked bike car. Sometimes this car is locked, if that is the case, you can place your bike in the companion way between cars.

    Remember to stamp you ticket in one of the boxes (if I remember yellow) before getting on the train.

    If you do not understand Italian then keep close watch on the monitors at the platform. Italians just love to change platforms for the trans arrival. You will need plenty of time because you need to carry you bike down stairs, through a tunnel and back up stairs again. These tunnels are often crowded with people and few get out of the way.


    Most small towns have a market. You can find, fresh bread, cheeses, cured meats, roasted chicken, fruits and vegetables, This makes for a cheap and easy lunch.


    No need to worry about water. Most towns (at least in the north) have at least one public water fountain. The water is drinkable and very delicious.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Thanks for posting, Italy is right on top of my to-do list, and it's great to get some info. Sandybar, can you post a picture or two?
    ...

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Maybe it' s different on a bike. We rented a car and drove from Florence to Naples and back to Rome.( We rented the car after leaving Florence and ditched it before we got to Rome, so as to not drive in the big cities..
    . From what we saw Tuscany was the most bike friendly. Awesome scenery.. Italians were great, except when they get in the cars. They go nuts. Particularly south of Rome..In seven days of driving se saw 8 serious accidents.. Two, for sure- the passengers had to have died. . We tried to stay behind buses to reduce the chances of head on's.....
    . From behind handlebars the roads seemed friendlier. ? In their cars, their impatience made Californians seem sane. . Tell us. We just had a bad sampling of Italian road skills. ?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Thanks for posting, Italy is right on top of my to-do list, and it's great to get some info. Sandybar, can you post a picture or two?

    Some of mine are here.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    Maybe it' s different on a bike. We rented a car and drove from Florence to Naples and back to Rome.( We rented the car after leaving Florence and ditched it before we got to Rome, so as to not drive in the big cities..
    . From what we saw Tuscany was the most bike friendly. Awesome scenery.. Italians were great, except when they get in the cars. They go nuts. Particularly south of Rome..In seven days of driving se saw 8 serious accidents.. Two, for sure- the passengers had to have died. . We tried to stay behind buses to reduce the chances of head on's.....
    . From behind handlebars the roads seemed friendlier. ? In their cars, their impatience made Californians seem sane. . Tell us. We just had a bad sampling of Italian road skills. ?
    I think your assessment is correct. When it comes to car on car, Italians can be very horrible and discourteous drivers. But when it comes to bicycles, Italians seem to treat them differently. I think that in almost every case I was passed with care and was given plenty of room.

    In a couple of cases we even had people lead us in their car as they showed us how o get to a destination.

    The only issue is the traffic circles. There you it is pretty much every man / woman for himself!
    Last edited by spinnaker; 10-05-09 at 04:05 PM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  8. #8
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    I was recently in Italy but not riding a bike.

    Two I would add:

    1) Don't assume that the yellow ticket stamping box at the train station works properly. The one I used didn't and I got major hassle as a result. Make sure your ticket is stamped or they will charge you a 50 Euro penalty. This is also the case if you board a train without a ticket and try to buy one onboard. From what I could figure out, you only have to stamp tickets that don't have a specific departure time on them (local trains?).

    2) Be sure to ask about cycle routes through an area. Don't simply take a road on the map that goes where you want. I was driving to Lake Garda on a very busy two-lane road and saw some poor fellow struggling uphill with a full load while cars swerved around him in the hot sun. I later found out that there was a very nice bike-only path to the lake.

    Ray
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  9. #9
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    Raybo brings up a very good point on bike lanes and bike paths. There is a very good path between Malpensa airport and Pavia.

    There is also a bike lane, most of the way between Lugano and Como. This one has a bypass on at leat one tunnel. There is a similar bypass between Cardona and Luganno. It is sure nice have an alternative to passing through those tunnels!


    Also BRING SUN SCREEN. I had the worst time finding sun screen lotion in Italy. I did not find any till the 3rd day. I even visited some pretty large stores. I have no idea what happened to mine. I had thought I packed the perfect size bottle for a two week trip. When I got to my first nights hotel in Italy, it was not to be found. I fully expected to find it once I got home but it was not there either. To this day I have no idea what happpened to that bottle.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    I think your assignment is correct. When it comes to car on car, Italians can be very horrible and discourteous drivers. But when it comes to bicycles, Italians seem to treat them differently. I think that in almost every case I was passed with care and was given plenty of room.

    In a couple of cases we even had people lead us in their car as they showed us how o get to a destination.

    The only issue is the traffic circles. There you it is pretty much every man / woman for himself!

    My recent experience of Italian drivers is vastly different to your account. As part of a round-Europe trip I spent almost 4 weeks in Italy: entering at Trieste and following the coast south to Ascoli-Piceno where we crossed the Appenines on our way to Pisa and then following the Mediterranean coast all the way round to the French border. No matter what road we were on, whether busy or almost deserted, whenever a car passed it would come within inches of clipping the bikes. On one occasion we were travelling along a quiet road with four lanes (two in each direction) and a car insisted on passing in the same lane as us even though there were three other empty lanes outside us. Collisions were a real worry for us and we would have at least one near-accident a day. I lost count of the number of times we were forced off the road by careless drivers who simply did not seem to see us there.

    However don't let me put you off touring in Italy. Despite my apparent bitter sounding comments above I really enjoyed cycling in Italy and it was in fact one of my favourite countries in the trip around Europe. The scenery and weather are absolutely fantastic and if you consider the food that the Italians do best (pizza, ice-cream, coffee) what more could a cyclist ask for!!!!

    My only pieces of advice for anyone considering touring in Italy are to keep a close eye on your levels of water as we could easily consume upwards of 6l each of water a day travelling 80km or so in the height of summer. Additionally watch out for an absurd amount of glass on the roads. As already discussed car accidents are not uncommon and it would appear that instead of properly cleaning up afterwards, the class and debris simply gets sweeped onto the side of the road exactly where cyclists travel.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosae View Post
    My recent experience of Italian drivers is vastly different to your account. As part of a round-Europe trip I spent almost 4 weeks in Italy: entering at Trieste and following the coast south to Ascoli-Piceno where we crossed the Appenines on our way to Pisa and then following the Mediterranean coast all the way round to the French border. No matter what road we were on, whether busy or almost deserted, whenever a car passed it would come within inches of clipping the bikes. On one occasion we were travelling along a quiet road with four lanes (two in each direction) and a car insisted on passing in the same lane as us even though there were three other empty lanes outside us. Collisions were a real worry for us and we would have at least one near-accident a day. I lost count of the number of times we were forced off the road by careless drivers who simply did not seem to see us there.

    However don't let me put you off touring in Italy. Despite my apparent bitter sounding comments above I really enjoyed cycling in Italy and it was in fact one of my favourite countries in the trip around Europe. The scenery and weather are absolutely fantastic and if you consider the food that the Italians do best (pizza, ice-cream, coffee) what more could a cyclist ask for!!!!

    My only pieces of advice for anyone considering touring in Italy are to keep a close eye on your levels of water as we could easily consume upwards of 6l each of water a day travelling 80km or so in the height of summer. Additionally watch out for an absurd amount of glass on the roads. As already discussed car accidents are not uncommon and it would appear that instead of properly cleaning up afterwards, the class and debris simply gets sweeped onto the side of the road exactly where cyclists travel.
    That should have been assessment in my post not assignment! Just noticed it in hoosae's quote of my post. Stupid spell checkers.

    Wow the only time we came even close to that type of behavior was on the road from Viareggio to Pisa. Oh and the previously mentioned traffic circles. They are pretty much a mad house.


    I guess maybe we picked the right roads.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  12. #12
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    Regarding roads.

    Get a copies of The Touring Club of Italy maps. Black roads are autostrada and you are not permitted on those roads. You are permitted on all other roads. Red roads are usually very busy, followed by yellow then white. White roads are more of a local road and are usually very short and pretty difficult to go any real distance using white roads.

    The rule is red roads are busier than yellow. But there are exceptions to the rule as they go both ways.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  13. #13
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    In Sep-10 my professional organization's annual meeting will be in Florence, the first time ever outside of US. I'm planning to go and tour (credit card) 4 to 7 days afterwards, so keep this thread alive. I hope to drink my way from one vinyard to the next.

    My big decision at the moment is whether to take the old 520 or to begin saving my shekels to build up a Surly Travelers Check. I'd really like a new bike.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
    In Sep-10 my professional organization's annual meeting will be in Florence, the first time ever outside of US. I'm planning to go and tour (credit card) 4 to 7 days afterwards, so keep this thread alive. I hope to drink my way from one vinyard to the next.

    My big decision at the moment is whether to take the old 520 or to begin saving my shekels to build up a Surly Travelers Check. I'd really like a new bike.
    Bringing bicycles on a plane is getting more and more expensive, a Traveler's Check or similar might not be a bad idea.

    4 to 7 days starting in Florence should be really nice, heading south towards Siena and Montalcino would be real nice. would you do a loop or just take a train back?

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    Flying Out of Rome with Bike - Logistics

    One more important point on biking in Rome:

    YES, you can get to the Fumiciano airport, with your bike, on a train. HOWEVER, it's a moot point, cuz' you're going to want to box your bike before your get to the airport - there are NO bike boxes (that I could find) at the Fumiciano Airport in Rome.

    After some on-the ground research in Rome I learned that there is a regional train that leaves from the Tiburtina Metro stop in Rome for the airport, which allows bicycles. Great! The Lonely Planet "Biking Italy" book that just came out has some vague wording about major airlines often having boxes available for bikes. I called United Airlines the day before I left and they said if they did not have a box that I could get one from Lufthansa. Well, I can tell you that nobody at the airport has bike boxes. Everyone I asked just shook their head and said that's something the American companies do. I even hopped a shuttlebus (with my loaded bike) to a different terminal to ask about boxes there, no go. Instead of a box they give you a large, heavy duty plastic bag. After desperately seeking a bike box for over an hour I had to give up and use the plastic bag. I removed the pedals, dropped the seat, bled the air from the tires and turned the handlebars. Luckily I had a roll of 3" wide heavy duty packing tape, which helped secure things, but I still felt like I was giving a lamb to the wolves when I checked it in. Amazingly, my bike survived with no major casualties! (And I had 4 connections, including a customs inspection). However, I can't recommend the experience. If you're flying out of Rome the only option I see is to secure a bike box, pack your bike the day before, and bite the bullet and pay the exorbitant taxi fare to the airport. Not sure how much it costs, but it's a 45 mile trip so it's bound to be pricey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post

    Did you get to the Plano Grande?

    .
    YES!! Without a doubt, it was one of the highlights of my whole trip. Monte Sibillini Park is just amazing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post

    4 to 7 days starting in Florence should be really nice, heading south towards Siena and Montalcino would be real nice. would you do a loop or just take a train back?
    Taking a train back should be easy enough, if you're not travelling a long distance and heading towards a major destination like Florence then train travel w/a bike is easy. However, there are lots of good options for loops around Florence. Just for the record, I was disappointed w/ Florence, jam packed w/ tourists, noisy, crowded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoosae View Post
    My recent experience of Italian drivers is vastly different to your account. As part of a round-Europe trip I spent almost 4 weeks in Italy: entering at Trieste and following the coast south to Ascoli-Piceno where we crossed the Appenines on our way to Pisa and then following the Mediterranean coast all the way round to the French border. No matter what road we were on, whether busy or almost deserted, whenever a car passed it would come within inches of clipping the bikes. On one occasion we were travelling along a quiet road with four lanes (two in each direction) and a car insisted on passing in the same lane as us even though there were three other empty lanes outside us. Collisions were a real worry for us and we would have at least one near-accident a day. I lost count of the number of times we were forced off the road by careless drivers who simply did not seem to see us there.
    My experience was also very different. I did not find biking to be that hazardous. Yes, you have to be very alert and watch your ass, but in one month of biking I only had a few hairy experiences, and they mostly involved going downhill, very fast, without a bike lane, which was not fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandybar View Post
    One more important point on biking in Rome:

    YES, you can get to the Fumiciano airport, with your bike, on a train. HOWEVER, it's a moot point, cuz' you're going to want to box your bike before your get to the airport - there are NO bike boxes (that I could find) at the Fumiciano Airport in Rome.

    After some on-the ground research in Rome I learned that there is a regional train that leaves from the Tiburtina Metro stop in Rome for the airport, which allows bicycles. Great! The Lonely Planet "Biking Italy" book that just came out has some vague wording about major airlines often having boxes available for bikes. I called United Airlines the day before I left and they said if they did not have a box that I could get one from Lufthansa. Well, I can tell you that nobody at the airport has bike boxes. Everyone I asked just shook their head and said that's something the American companies do. I even hopped a shuttlebus (with my loaded bike) to a different terminal to ask about boxes there, no go. Instead of a box they give you a large, heavy duty plastic bag. After desperately seeking a bike box for over an hour I had to give up and use the plastic bag. I removed the pedals, dropped the seat, bled the air from the tires and turned the handlebars. Luckily I had a roll of 3" wide heavy duty packing tape, which helped secure things, but I still felt like I was giving a lamb to the wolves when I checked it in. Amazingly, my bike survived with no major casualties! (And I had 4 connections, including a customs inspection). However, I can't recommend the experience. If you're flying out of Rome the only option I see is to secure a bike box, pack your bike the day before, and bite the bullet and pay the exorbitant taxi fare to the airport. Not sure how much it costs, but it's a 45 mile trip so it's bound to be pricey.
    I remain convinced that the best way to take your bike on a plane is to turn the handlebars sideways, take off the pedals, drop the seat and roll the unwrapped bike up to the check out counter. The baggage handlers can see what they are handling and take appropriate precautions, whereas with a cardboard box or opaque bag they just see a cardboard box or nylon bag and they will pile things on top of it. Putting the bike in a clear plastic bag works almost as well. I also prefer to cycle to and from the airport, it's a lot cheaper than taxis, trains and shuttle buses, and it's nice to get a little exercise before sitting on a plane for a few hours. My routine is to cycle to the airport, find a quiet corner, shift all my gear into one duffel bag except one pannier that I use as carry-on, and do the handlebars/pedals/seat routine with the bike. Then I find a restroom to change out of cycling clothes and take a sink bath, and head for the check in counter. This has worked for me at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Dublin, Florence and Catania. I use Google Earth, Google Maps and www.viamichelin.com to find bicycle routes to and from the airport.

    I also try very hard to minimize the number of connections I have to make, and I try to allow plenty of time between flights if I do have to change planes. That way the baggage handlers deal with the bike as little as possible, and they aren't in too much of a hurry when they do.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandybar View Post
    Taking a train back should be easy enough, if you're not travelling a long distance and heading towards a major destination like Florence then train travel w/a bike is easy. However, there are lots of good options for loops around Florence. Just for the record, I was disappointed w/ Florence, jam packed w/ tourists, noisy, crowded.
    I started a tour in Florence in early May 2006, spent a couple days there and loved it. More tourists than I wanted to see, but I'm sure it would have been far worse later in the summer. I was told more than once on my Tuscany tour (early May 2006) that I had gotten there before the real crowds hit, and that my experience would have been very different, and a lot less pleasant, later in the season when things got more crowded.

  21. #21
    titleless Houston's Avatar
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    Great thread, thanks sandybar. If CC touring Italy, how much $/day when staying in nice, simple places? Also, are there any notable Italian randonnee builders?
    Last edited by Houston; 10-07-09 at 09:11 AM.

  22. #22
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    You can find hotels for around 70 euros a night. But the best deal is hostels. For around 15 euro a night (dorm room), you can stay in places that could easily get 200 euros or more if it were a hotel.


    Dinner is usually 20-30 euros, with a glass or 2 of wine. There is no tipping in Italy (you can leave a few euros if the service was excellent), so that is your total price. Lunch can be had at many of the open markets for around 5 euro. Breakfast is usually included with the hotel.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  23. #23
    Quadricepius Exquisitus eurotrash666's Avatar
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    i did a month by bike in italy in 2005. my thoughts-
    -florence is hell
    -amalfi is amazing. salerno to sorrento is the most memorable ride, ever.
    -the trains are iffy when it comes to bikes, we rode from one city to the next, typically 3-4 day routes, hopped a train to a different region, repeat... just be flexible and don't count on the train actually having a bike car, despite what the schedule says. no, it ain't germany.
    -itineraries don't work and cause stress. be like a leaf on the water, and let the current move you along.
    -rome is okay on the bike. it is actually an easy town to navigate (hard to miss the landmarks, imagine...), the roads are wide (!) and traffic is slow.
    -venice is best on foot. leave the bikes in padova and take the train for the day.
    -naples... skip naples unless you have family to visit, or are adept at kung-fu. it's a festering pit of crime, and you are a slow-moving target who is carrying all possessions with you on your bike, like a fish in a barrel. ymmv.
    -ravenna is a nice town to bike in and out of. riding from there to padova through commachio was nice, but resources are widely spread out. also lots of ferry crossings and stuff, best to have a guide. lonely planet was 99% correct on the complicated route, the 1% error being on an interchange entering comacchio. gps fixes that.
    -hostels are bike friendly, but can be overbooked more often than not. have a plan b, know your options. some days you just can't ride another mile, and have to drop cash on a pension or worse, a hotel. good for the showers, but expensive.
    -every regional seat has a cycling map of their region in their information office, and every town big enough to have a train station offers cycling maps of the area. hit the information offices. i came home with five pounds of cycling-specific maps which were very helpful.
    -italian... we are lucky to be saturated with latin roots in much of our language. it's not that hard to get by. then again, i tend to be adept with languages from over 5 years of formal study and several years living abroad. italian was not one of them, but gringo spanish and an eye for word origin is enough to decode what isn't available in english. ymmv.
    -aglio. don't assume your food will come with it, you have to specify you want garlic!

  24. #24
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by eurotrash666 View Post
    ...
    -naples... skip naples unless you have family to visit, or are adept at kung-fu. it's a festering pit of crime, and you are a slow-moving target who is carrying all possessions with you on your bike, like a fish in a barrel. ymmv.
    Totally agree on Naples being a place to avoid... The most horrible place I've been to on this planet (there are places in the outer galaxy... but I won't get into that)

  25. #25
    Bike touring webrarian
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    There is a fabulous museum in Naples that has all the best stuff from Pompeii.

    I took the train there, walked through narrow streets to the museum and then walked back to the train. I can't say I felt comfortable while I was there, but the museum was worth seeing.

    I wouldn't want to bike or spend the night there, though.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

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