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Considering Road Cycling in Italy - Need Help

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Considering Road Cycling in Italy - Need Help

Old 01-04-19, 08:07 AM
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Considering Road Cycling in Italy - Need Help

I know it's Winter but a roadie has to dream and plan, right?

My wife (non cyclist) is interested in possibly going to Italy this year. She is a culture vulture so we need to find a place that is somewhat cosmopolitan and has museums and other interesting opportunities for her but has good road cycling for me.

She suggested Rome but I am guessing it's way too crowded and congested to feature good cycling nearby. True??

Any ideas on cities and/or regions in Italy that have good roads and safe/fun for cycling that also offer city/metropolitan experiences for my wife?

FWIW we went to Spain 1 1/2 years ago and spent most of our time in Barcelona with a few days in Girona, and that was perfect. Something similar in Italy would be ideal.
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Old 01-04-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I know it's Winter but a roadie has to dream and plan, right?

My wife (non cyclist) is interested in possibly going to Italy this year. She is a culture vulture so we need to find a place that is somewhat cosmopolitan and has museums and other interesting opportunities for her but has good road cycling for me.

She suggested Rome but I am guessing it's way too crowded and congested to feature good cycling nearby. True??

Any ideas on cities and/or regions in Italy that have good roads and safe/fun for cycling that also offer city/metropolitan experiences for my wife?

FWIW we went to Spain 1 1/2 years ago and spent most of our time in Barcelona with a few days in Girona, and that was perfect. Something similar in Italy would be ideal.
I would recommend Tuscany. You could stay in Florence and cycle around the area. It is amazingly beautiful with hilly, challenging terrain. Rome is also nice and the area out of the city is great for cycling as well...you may also consider Northern Italy. I live in Pordenone which is at the foot of the Italian Dolomites and has incredible cycling. As far as culture, thereís I plenty to see anywhere in Italy...
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Old 01-04-19, 08:53 AM
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Will you be renting a car for your stay? And how long?
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Old 01-04-19, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I know it's Winter but a roadie has to dream and plan, right?

My wife (non cyclist) is interested in possibly going to Italy this year. She is a culture vulture so we need to find a place that is somewhat cosmopolitan and has museums and other interesting opportunities for her but has good road cycling for me.

She suggested Rome but I am guessing it's way too crowded and congested to feature good cycling nearby. True??

Any ideas on cities and/or regions in Italy that have good roads and safe/fun for cycling that also offer city/metropolitan experiences for my wife?

FWIW we went to Spain 1 1/2 years ago and spent most of our time in Barcelona with a few days in Girona, and that was perfect. Something similar in Italy would be ideal.
Ben King, a world tour pro who happens to hail from RVA as well, lives and trains in Lucca. It's a beautiful walled city in Tuscany, I visited there about 10 years ago myself and it was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for cycling. All of Tuscany, in fact, is essentially cycling paradise. 10/10 would recommend to the Doug clan.
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Old 01-04-19, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Ben King, a world tour pro who happens to hail from RVA as well, lives and trains in Lucca. It's a beautiful walled city in Tuscany, I visited there about 10 years ago myself and it was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for cycling. All of Tuscany, in fact, is essentially cycling paradise. 10/10 would recommend to the Doug clan.
Perhaps in a similar vein, I'd consider something like this, which allows the non-cyclist to occupy themselves with learning some culinary skills (of course, there has to be an interest in such):
https://www.cinghiale.com/tours/cooking-cycling/
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Old 01-04-19, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Perhaps in a similar vein, I'd consider something like this, which allows the non-cyclist to occupy themselves with learning some culinary skills (of course, there has to be an interest in such):
https://www.cinghiale.com/tours/cooking-cycling/
That right there is my dream vacation.
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Old 01-04-19, 10:09 AM
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Florence and Lucca, Pisa is next door as well.

4 things in abundance in Tuscany, good cycling opportunities, cultural attractions, food and wine. Oh and nice people.

The Arno river valley, west from Florence has some flattish riding as does the coast. Or many, many hills north and south of the river. I loved Lucca and it’s a quick train ride to Florence for day trips.
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Old 01-04-19, 10:11 AM
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I want to respond to your concerns about good roads and safety...
Iíve been to various areas of Italy but never had the opportunity to cycle there. Iíve visited other European countries too. I lived in southern Spain for three years where I did get to ride regularly. It was always my experience and observation that motorists in Europe are much more accepting and tolerant of cyclists. Even on roads that donít have shoulders...bikes seem to be safer than what we expect in the U.S.

Dan
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Old 01-04-19, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Will you be renting a car for your stay? And how long?
No car. Will take public transportation. Would likely stay for 10 days, so likely 2 locations 5 days each. But flexible. Would rent road bike rather than take it with me.
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Old 01-04-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
I want to respond to your concerns about good roads and safety...
I’ve been to various areas of Italy but never had the opportunity to cycle there. I’ve visited other European countries too. I lived in southern Spain for three years where I did get to ride regularly. It was always my experience and observation that motorists in Europe are much more accepting and tolerant of cyclists. Even on roads that don’t have shoulders...bikes seem to be safer than what we expect in the U.S.

Dan
Yeah I rode a lot in Spain and safety was not an issue. That said, I am in no hurry to ride in Rome proper.

p.s. I would be happy to go back to Spain because I speak the language. But my spouse wants to try some place new. We are also thrifty travelers so cost is a factor, hence any touring I do would be self-guided or shop rides.
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Old 01-04-19, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
No car. Will take public transportation. Would likely stay for 10 days, so likely 2 locations 5 days each. But flexible. Would rent road bike rather than take it with me.
Probably to "remote" for the wife without a car, but I'll throw it out anyway:

Bicycle Tours in Italy

Spent nearly two weeks there in 2013. Great riding, the food is quite good and the all-inclusive nature caters to the "thrifty." You can easily take a bus/train day trip to Venice, but without a car it may be tough for the wife to get to locations other than the main town of Bassano easily.
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Old 01-04-19, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
I lived in southern Spain for three years where I did get to ride regularly.
We probably discussed this way back, but where exactly? I toured AndalucŪa for 7 weeks back in 2000. Loved it. The only time I remember having a "run in" with a motorist was outside of Sevilla, the day before I was to fly home. He pulled out of a parking lot without looking. When he realized what he had done he was most apologetic.
*
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Old 01-04-19, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
We probably discussed this way back, but where exactly? I toured AndalucŪa for 7 weeks back in 2000. Loved it. The only time I remember having a "run in" with a motorist was outside of Sevilla, the day before I was to fly home. He pulled out of a parking lot without looking. When he realized what he had done he was most apologetic.
*
Yes, down in Andalucia. In Puerto de Santa Maria not far from*Jerez. I was in the US Navy stationed at the base in Rota.

Dan

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Old 01-04-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Yeah I rode a lot in Spain and safety was not an issue. That said, I am in no hurry to ride in Rome proper.

p.s. I would be happy to go back to Spain because I speak the language. But my spouse wants to try some place new. We are also thrifty travelers so cost is a factor, hence any touring I do would be self-guided or shop rides.
Of course riding within the city limits of any city always presents its own set of challenges. Although I still found that safer than in the US, I was speaking more about riding in the suburban and rural areas.

Dan
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Old 01-04-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post


Yes, down in Andalucia. In Puerto de Santa Maria not far from*Jerez. I was in the US Navy stationed at the base in Rota.

Dan
I actually sent an email to the Commanding Officer of the hospital in Rota to see if I could get a civilian job there. Guy was super kind enough to answer but told me only enlisted jobs in my field. Bummer. I would LOVE to live there for a few years.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Probably to "remote" for the wife without a car, but I'll throw it out anyway:

Bicycle Tours in Italy

Spent nearly two weeks there in 2013. Great riding, the food is quite good and the all-inclusive nature caters to the "thrifty." You can easily take a bus/train day trip to Venice, but without a car it may be tough for the wife to get to locations other than the main town of Bassano easily.
Does it cater to the "still drives a Saturn" level of thrifty we're dealing with in this thread? Asking for a friend.
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Old 01-04-19, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Does it cater to the "still drives a Saturn" level of thrifty we're dealing with in this thread? Asking for a friend.
When I went in 2013 it was somewhere around $125/day/person with the existing exchange rate, which included lodging, three meals and wine with lunch and dinner. Prosecco was on your own dime, but it was only a couple bucks a glass.
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Old 01-04-19, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post


Yes, down in Andalucia. In Puerto de Santa Maria not far from*Jerez. I was in the US Navy stationed at the base in Rota.

Dan
Ah. Closest I got to Jerez was Arcos de la Frontera before returning to Sevilla after doing a clockwise loop around the territory.
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Old 01-04-19, 03:17 PM
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Having lived in Southern Italy in the early 1980s, I'd recommend riding the Amalfi coast. Great scenery, nice little beachtowns like Amalfi and Positano, and close to bigger cities like Sorrento and, of course, Napoli. Napoli is not Rome and certainly not Florence, but it has a lot of charms of its own (and where else would you go for pizza). Contact the folks at Milano Cicli who are in tune with the full spectrum of the local cycling scene.
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Old 01-04-19, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
I want to respond to your concerns about good roads and safety...
Iíve been to various areas of Italy but never had the opportunity to cycle there. Iíve visited other European countries too. I lived in southern Spain for three years where I did get to ride regularly. It was always my experience and observation that motorists in Europe are much more accepting and tolerant of cyclists. Even on roads that donít have shoulders...bikes seem to be safer than what we expect in the U.S.

Dan
That was my experience in Italy. We stayed in a smaller walled city in SE Tuscany called Castiglion Fiorentino. The local bike shop owner drew up some routes for me which were popular among the local roadies and cars were very accepting. They'd wait for a safe place to pass and then they'd do so without drama. It was heaven.
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Old 01-05-19, 02:01 AM
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We had a friend who lived in Vicenza (he worked for US Army, 173rd ABN is garrisoned there). Very nice town itself (home of Campy, but nothing really to see of that). Lots of cycling in the surrounding area. Via regionale train you can day trip to various interesting towns in Veneto, including Venice. You're also close to South Tyrol and Passo dello Stelvio (probably need a car for that).

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Old 01-05-19, 02:52 AM
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The trains in Italy are great. Start somewhere in the middle and you can get anywhere in 1/2 day.

How much of a "non-cyclist" is your wife?

I spent quite some time in Parma which is very centrally located in the north. Home of Parmasan Cheese and Parma Hams. The area to the north of the city is almost entirely flat. Ok, as a boy, castles were fun, and I rode to every castle within about a 30 mile radius of Parma. There is a little moated castle to the north. I forgot the name Cool prisms in the towers.

To the south is wine country (although a bit hillier). Torrechiara.

I even stumbled across Canossa, which appears in quite a few history books (also hilly).

Heading west (by train), Cinque Terre is a wonderful beach area, and a great day hike between the 5 towns (not the best for cycling).

Heading south-west one gets to Pisa.

Heading East one gets to Venice.

South East to Florence.

Northwest to Milano.

Oh, and for the car buffs, don't forget Modena.

There is something special about some of the smaller cities and away from all the tourists.
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Old 01-05-19, 09:42 AM
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There's quite a network of bike trails and MUP over most of Italy. For instance, you can ride from the Venice airport to Vicenza (55 miles) and only spend a few miles on streets. You can also cycle from Munich to Venice almost exclusively on cycling paths.

I can't post the links (new user) but if you do an internet search for "italy cycling guide", it should lead you to a great resource. Another search term is "tutto berici cycling", lists many cycling routes.
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Old 01-05-19, 09:57 AM
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Umbria. Close to Rome, and great cycling. Cheaper than Tuscany. Winter is cold though.
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Old 01-05-19, 10:42 AM
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My wife and I have been to Italy several times and two cycling in Tuscany. The most recent was 4 years ago with the Cycling House.

Rome offers a lot of culture and art such as the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Coliseum and etc, and other interests and of course there is cycling outside the city. So it would strike me a trip to Rome would require extra logistics to get out of the city to ride. Most Italian tours or cruises offer an excursion to Florence due to its unique culture and history.

The Cycling House partners with a Bed and Breakfast in that is about 10K from Sienna and about 60K from Florence. The accommodations were great and the food out of this world. The family that owns the facility provided all the meals cooked in the Tuscan tradition with fruit and vegetables provided from neighboring farms. The owner Anrea Rossi is an excellent cyclist and leads tours all over Itally including Tuscany. One rides out the door onto fabulous roads for cycling. In addition, the Strade Bianchi is about a mile away where one can do miles of gravel riding on the same course that the pros ride the Hell of the South.

I am sure that you could contact Andrea via his Facebook page and inquire what options there are for accommodations, food and cycling. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/BedAndBreak...08802&fref=tag

So the B&B is fabulous for food, cycling and romance but short on museums. However, Sienna and Florence are drivable and of course there is the local Italian wine including Chianti and Brunello.

So one could stay x days at the B&B and Y days in Florence. I cannot address the cheap or not cheap aspect since I travel and bike to feel fabulous. YMMV.
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