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Italy September 2018

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Italy September 2018

Old 01-19-18, 12:38 PM
  #26  
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I've spent about a month in Italy.

The first thing I want to say is consider some sort of GPS. I got semi-lost a lot. Goat paths got turned into walking paths that got turned into roads. So in some places, there is a lot of zigging and zagging.

The second thing, is don't sweat it. You should have a great time.

The advice about learning some Italian is spot on. We stopped in this tiny little place. It was a micro-town halfway up a mountain. Most of it was a parking lot with a long building. It was painstakingly built onto the side of the mountain by building up tons of rock, over a hundred feet tall. In any case, it took over a half an hour to find the one person in town that spoke English so we could get espressos and snacks.

I'd suggest starting somewhere interesting. You could start in Florence, they have the David there, and it really is worth seeing. You could start in Venice, get over the jet lag while taking in the sights. One of my most memorable memories is having an Americano in St Marks Square, the ambience, the sheer history of the place, I'd love to see it again, now that I know something about the Renaissance.

I would avoid Rome.

From where you start, ride across to the Adriatic, and turn South, then cut across to Naples. Spend a day or two there, and then follow the Med coast down to the boot. One place I've wanted to go to, but didn't manage to get there is Castelmezaano.
How to get to Castelmezzano,

I haven't checked on the miles, you'll need to do that. You don't want it to turn into a sufferfest. Don't go more than a few days without taking a day off the bike. You will want to do a fair amount of work finding neat little places to visit. Italy is full of them, but they often require some digging to find.

Personally, I prefer lite touring. I don't like carrying all the extra weight, and the last thing I want to do is be in Italy and eat off a little campstove. But even if you do, set some money aside for a few meals in some nice restaurants. Google is your friend here.

Last edited by late; 01-19-18 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 01-20-18, 08:19 PM
  #27  
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Last night while looking at a map I had the thought of maybe doing the three seas: start from Rome or Naples ( I haven't bought my plane ticket yet so I don't know where I will be landing) then go to the Adriatic coast towards Bari or somewhere close to there after that I would go to the Ionic coast in the arch of the boot then back to where I started. My uncle that lived many years in Europe back in the eighties told me that I have to go to the Amalfian coast so I will try to go there, he also told me that when my mother went to visit them, she fell in love with the city of San Gimignano and if it turns out that I decide to go in Tuscany during my trip I will have to go there, after all one of the reason that I am going to Italy is because of my mother's love of that country.

Maybe I seem confused but I am just thinking out loud, all I know is that I took one month off without pay in September and I am going in Italy and I will probably go where the wind blows but I really appreciate everyone's personal experience. I will probably bring my camping gear because I don't like to rely on other people and I know how comfortable my camping stuff is, that way my expectations are not deceived, once in a while I might get an hotel room for luxury.

For the ones that are interested here is a photo of my bike as of now:
-Surly Cross-Check
-Ortlieb back-roller city back panniers
-Schwable Marathon 700 X 35 tires
-Brooks b-17 saddle
I will probably change my derailleur for a long cage and my cassette for a 11-32 teeths so it will be better for the mountains and I will add a granny gear too. I have to buy a front rack, I have small old panniers for the front rack, I have a couple of dry bags that I will strap on top of my back rack. I have a mechanical background I can do most of my work myself, but I don't have tons of knowledge in the technical side of biking, all I know is I can pedal, my legs will take me anywhere I want to go.

Cheers
Paul
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Old 01-20-18, 08:51 PM
  #28  
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We are in the middle of ski season and all I think and talk about is biking.

what's wrong with me!!!

Paul
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Old 01-27-18, 11:03 PM
  #29  
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I can recommend a shop in Siena that could help you see the best of Tuscany. I mean show you on a map, not charge you for a tour. The place is D.F. Bike and the man to talk to name is Rosano. Great back roads, and gravel roads on ridges between walled cities. A remarkable place and great memories. The food and wine alone will blow you away.
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Old 01-28-18, 02:30 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post
We are in the middle of ski season and all I think and talk about is biking.

what's wrong with me!!!

Paul
The same thing that's wrong with the rest of us on this forum

Looks like you've set up a good bike there. I would not worry too much about inner tubes and tires. 700X35 is a very common size in Italy
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Old 02-01-18, 02:20 PM
  #31  
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Hey guys I have another question, I haven't bought my plane ticket yet but I was aiming to land preferrably in Naples (because of it's geographical proximity to the south) or Rome, but I read many commentary to avoid Naples probably because it is not very bike friendly. I also saw a documentary on Florence this week and it made me want to go there and admire all of the art over there, the statues and sculptures were out of this world, I am not much of an art guy but I was amazed at the beauty of those work of art. So my question is: if I land in Naples or any other big city, is it better to take the regional trane to get out of the city or should I try to bike out of there?

Last week-end I met a friend of a friend that did a lot of touring a couple of years ago and he suggested to me that since I am going in Italy I should really consider going light instead of brigning my camping gear. His argument was that there is so much choice of places to stay that the fact that it might cost me a little more credit card touring than camping but I will enjoy going up all of the mountains with a lighter bike. When I will start training with a packed bike once the snow melts I will have a better idea.

Cheers
Paul
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Old 02-01-18, 03:54 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post
Hey guys I have another question, I haven't bought my plane ticket yet but I was aiming to land preferrably in Naples (because of it's geographical proximity to the south) or Rome, but I read many commentary to avoid Naples probably because it is not very bike friendly. I also saw a documentary on Florence this week and it made me want to go there and admire all of the art over there, the statues and sculptures were out of this world, I am not much of an art guy but I was amazed at the beauty of those work of art. So my question is: if I land in Naples or any other big city, is it better to take the regional trane to get out of the city or should I try to bike out of there?

Last week-end I met a friend of a friend that did a lot of touring a couple of years ago and he suggested to me that since I am going in Italy I should really consider going light instead of brigning my camping gear. His argument was that there is so much choice of places to stay that the fact that it might cost me a little more credit card touring than camping but I will enjoy going up all of the mountains with a lighter bike. When I will start training with a packed bike once the snow melts I will have a better idea.

Cheers
Paul
On my three month tour of Italy last summer I cycled through Naples. I did not find it particularly unpleasant or bicycle unfriendly, it's just another big city, no big deal. Naples is close to Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, both excellent destinations, it's up to you if you want to see them or not.
Yes Florence is a wonderful place with tons of things to see, as you will find out soon enough major museums and galleries in Italy aren't cheap, choose carefully and buy your tickets in advance online. Florence has two campgrounds both an easy bike ride into town.
As for camping vs credit card touring, that's up to you. Go online and compare prices between Airbnb and campgrounds ( most have websites). That will give an idea of what to expect as far as cost goes - pay what you want.
FYI I camped pretty much the whole trip, I used Airbnb three times with success.
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Old 02-01-18, 11:16 PM
  #33  
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The advantage of flying to Rome you will be able to get a direct flight from the Canada.
Sounds like you're getting overwhelmed and trying to take in too much. You're young, you can always do a tour of the north at another time.
There will be plenty of art in the south as well
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Old 02-01-18, 11:26 PM
  #34  
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This is such a great thread! I'm super new to this forum-style community information outlet. I am also going to be touring Italy next summer and I am going to be starting in Venice. My partner and I would like to go down the Adriatic coast and back up the Mediterranean coast, stopping in Rome, and Florence on the way back up. Any tips that you have gathered from this thread that you might share would be wonderful. Have a wonderful trip! Italy is amazing, you will never want to leave.
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Old 02-02-18, 06:39 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by violinsturner View Post
My partner and I would like to go down the Adriatic coast and back up the Mediterranean
May I suggest riding in the opposite direction to be on the 'sea-side' of the road...
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Old 02-02-18, 06:30 PM
  #36  
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OK so today I just bought a MSR Hubba NX 1 person tent so I will be camping during my trip. After seeing how light and small it was I figured it was my best option. Like I wrote previously I prefer to sleep in MY tent that I know how comfortable it is than to have a surprise every night and have a crappy bed or whatever. I am only 43 years old but one thing I have learned in life is to no rely on others and you will not be disappointed. I am really happy with my decision to camp instead of doing the credit card touring I will have more freedom and have more money to do whatever I wish to do.

Originally Posted by imi View Post
May I suggest riding in the opposite direction to be on the 'sea-side' of the road...
That is a good heads up, at first I was going to start from Venise and go down the Adriatic coast but I never thought of that.It is much better to be on the sea side of the road. Thanks imi for the heads up.

How are Italians with beer? I am not much of a wine connaisseur but after a hard day of biking I really enjoy a nice cold beer. Are they insulted if we order beer instead of wine?

I don't know if I can do this, and I wont be leaving until September, but if you want to follow me on twitter my addresse is @paulthepyke I don't have many followers and I follow mostly hockey news stuff but during my trip I plan on posting most of the places I travel to on Twitter so follow me if you want to it would make me happy. I am French Canadian so if you want me to translate my stuff on Twitter just let me know and I translate anything you want happily.

Thanks everybody for the replys and like I said before I take note of everyones commenbts on this thread and your feedback is very much appreciated.

Cheers
Paul
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Old 02-02-18, 08:30 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post

That is a good heads up, at first I was going to start from Venise and go down the Adriatic coast but I never thought of that.It is much better to be on the sea side of the road. Thanks imi for the heads up.
Last summer I rode down the Adriatic from Venice. I have no idea what "sea side of the road" refers to, or what difference if could possibly make.

Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post
How are Italians with beer? I am not much of a wine connaisseur but after a hard day of biking I really enjoy a nice cold beer. Are they insulted if we order beer instead of wine?
Beer? No problem, you'll be drinking Peroni, Moretti or Nastro Azzurro, available everywhere in 500ml cans for about 1.50 euros.
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Old 02-02-18, 09:18 PM
  #38  
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Paulthepyke,
Great thread. My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in Sept and Oct. We are planning to start in Tuscany, head to Florence, and then head north to Venice and eventually going through Slovenia. we'll take trains in much of Croatioa and then the ferry to Italy and into Rome. Putting together a trip is a lot of fun.
How are you planning to pack your bike for the flight. I started ahead a ew days ago on that topic and got some good information.
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Old 02-03-18, 12:44 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by gerryl View Post
Last summer I rode down the Adriatic from Venice. I have no idea what "sea side of the road" refers to, or what difference if could possibly make.


I have no idea how someone can't know that. The sea side of the road is the side of the road the sea is on. Being on the sea sea of the road means that you get a great view as opposed to looking at the side of trucks a good deal of the way. It also means pulling off to the side with the great views is a lot easier.

But one thing to consider before choosing a direction is prevailing wind.
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Old 02-03-18, 08:36 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post

How are Italians with beer? I am not much of a wine connaisseur but after a hard day of biking I really enjoy a nice cold beer. Are they insulted if we order beer instead of wine?

r feedback is very much appreciated.

Cheers
Paul
Not a wine connoisseur ?, going to Italy ?. The Italians are not as stuck up as the French when it comes to wine (except maybe in Montepulciano), but if you want beer, go to Germany. In the mean time get used to wine. Even the cheap stuff is better then what’s sold here and the good stuff is amazing. There are 3 reasons I’ve been to Italy more often than any other Euro country - People, Food and Wine. As well they generally are tolerant of cyclists, especially when they find out you are touring the country on a bike. And as well, the food goes better with wine, just sayin.
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Old 02-03-18, 09:31 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I have no idea how someone can't know that. The sea side of the road is the side of the road the sea is on. Being on the sea sea of the road means that you get a great view as opposed to looking at the side of trucks a good deal of the way. It also means pulling off to the side with the great views is a lot easier.

But one thing to consider before choosing a direction is prevailing wind.
I figured that is what it meant but wasn't sure. Having said that, I don't think it's really that much of an issue in Italy since 1) looking over an extra lane of road isn't really going to detract from the experience is any appreciable way, we are not talking about six lane highways with non-stop truck traffic. 2) Not all the "coastal" roads are close enough to the sea to even see the sea, regardless of what side of the road you are on.
I agree that the prevailing winds is something to consider. I would be more concerned with prevailing winds, going south to north on the Adriatic side can be extremely unpleasant at certain times of year.
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Old 02-04-18, 02:10 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Not a wine connoisseur ?, going to Italy ?. The Italians are not as stuck up as the French when it comes to wine (except maybe in Montepulciano), but if you want beer, go to Germany. In the mean time get used to wine. Even the cheap stuff is better then what’s sold here and the good stuff is amazing. There are 3 reasons I’ve been to Italy more often than any other Euro country - People, Food and Wine. As well they generally are tolerant of cyclists, especially when they find out you are touring the country on a bike. And as well, the food goes better with wine, just sayin.
Maybe it's been a while since you've been to Italy, because there are micro-breweries popping up all over the place.
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Old 02-04-18, 04:18 AM
  #43  
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Being on the sea side of coastal road even has the advantage of you not riding close up to cliff walls and associated blind corners...

Each to their own, of course, but all else being equal, I really, really prefer being on the sea-side
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Old 02-04-18, 08:45 AM
  #44  
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I rode along the Adriatic coast out of season. Other parts of Italy are more scenic and have more interesting towns, IMO. In summer, I suspect that traffic will be pretty bad along the Adriatic coast due to all of the little beach towns there.
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Old 02-04-18, 10:08 PM
  #45  
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Trains

Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post
Hey guys I have another question, I haven't bought my plane ticket yet but I was aiming to land preferrably in Naples (because of it's geographical proximity to the south) or Rome, but I read many commentary to avoid Naples probably because it is not very bike friendly. I also saw a documentary on Florence this week and it made me want to go there and admire all of the art over there, the statues and sculptures were out of this world, I am not much of an art guy but I was amazed at the beauty of those work of art. So my question is: if I land in Naples or any other big city, is it better to take the regional trane to get out of the city or should I try to bike out of there?

Last week-end I met a friend of a friend that did a lot of touring a couple of years ago and he suggested to me that since I am going in Italy I should really consider going light instead of brigning my camping gear. His argument was that there is so much choice of places to stay that the fact that it might cost me a little more credit card touring than camping but I will enjoy going up all of the mountains with a lighter bike. When I will start training with a packed bike once the snow melts I will have a better idea.

Cheers
Paul
Hello Paul,

We traveled in Italy in 2014 and Venice to Slovenia and Croatia in 2016. Florence is a great hub to use and most of the regional trains have bike cars. The high speed trains, that go over longer distances generally do not, and you would have to stow your bike. We used trains out of Florence and Venice for our trips and managed to be able to book our trips ahead of time on trenitalia.com. You can buy a ticket for the bike at the station. It was fairly easy and you either roll your bike on and leave it between cars for shorter trips, or hang it in the car with the bike logo on the side. The train schedule shows which trains have bike cars. We have bikes with S&S couplers so we can check them as baggage on a plane. Ideally, we leave the case at a hotel close to the airport we fly home from, so we are not burdened with them on our adventure. Just a couple more trips and those couplers will be paid for.
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Old 02-23-18, 05:00 PM
  #46  
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So my plane ticket has been bought and I will be landing in Naples from September 11 to October 9. After talking to some people that have been to Italy and reading on numerous travel blogues I am leaning towards biking to Sicilly and maybe Sardinia.I would like to do the Amafian coast but from what I have heard it is very full of tourists so I was thinking of maybe going there in the final part of my trip, if I have the time, since it is close to where I will be taking the plane to go back home, but for sure I will be going to Pompei and listen to some Pink Floyd because the movie Pink Floyd live in Pompei was soooooo good. I am working on my bike to make it better for mountain climbing with a new 11-32 rear cassette and a small granny gear on the front. Now all I need to do is sell my motorcycle to pay for the rest of my trip.

Ciao
Paul

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Old 02-23-18, 05:53 PM
  #47  
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Paul,

Don’t miss riding on the Amalfi coast. I did it in April when there were few tourists, as far as i could tell. I suspect that September is similar. When you tell people you want to ride on the Amalfi Coast you will be told it is suicidal. This is wrong. It is a great bike ride with plenty of room for bikes. The tour buses clog all the vehicle traffic and once they pass, it is solo riding until the next bus.

Here is an article I wrote about riding the Amalfi Coast:


Should you decide you want to ride your bicycle on the Amalfi coast, you will be told over and over again that it is dangerous, you are taking your life in your hands, and no one you talk with would ever do such a crazy and dangerous thing. I heard this so much that I was a bit scared as I rode up the road to the pass that took me down onto the Amalfi Coast. Like most information I got from non-bike riders, this characterization was completely bogus.

Now that I have ridden down the Amalfi Coast and survived, I must say that all the advice is wrong! In mid-April on a sunny day this is a far safer bike ride than riding to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, something I've done hundreds of times.

In fact, having done this on a bicycle, I would not recommend doing it in a car or a bus, though no one will take that advice. First of all, on-coming traffic is not an issue on a bike yet is a major distraction in a car. Second, the best views are from the side of the road. Car drivers are on the left side of their cars, essentially in the middle of the road, whereas on a bicycle, it is easy to stop and simply look over the cement retaining wall. Third, on a bus or in a car, the narrow, twisting road requires constant attention. On a bicycle, the road is plenty wide and the turns actually provide places for a bike rider to stop and let traffic by.

I counted around 10 buses that passed me all day. That averages out to one every 3 miles! In fact, buses are a benefit as they regulate traffic in a way that clumps it together. I would simply pull over, let the traffic mass go by and then resume my car-free riding experience.

In addition, buses can be heard long before they are near you so they are easy to avoid by pulling into one of the many little alcoves/vista points along the road. In all honesty, the perception of the "dangerousness" of the road likely comes from riding 10 feet above it in a bus.

What's more, while you can see the Amalfi Coast from a vehicle, you can't experience it! You won't smell the wisteria, jasmine, or ever present citrus blossoms growing along side the road. Neither will hear the constant bird chatter. You will also miss those views that one can only get by taking it all in while standing at the side of the road.

The tourist buses stop at the towns along the coast, yet I spent little time in them. The sections between the towns are far more interesting than endless tourist shops, in my view.


Ride it. You won’t regret it!
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Old 02-23-18, 08:13 PM
  #48  
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Thanks Raybo, I like your post, it's my type to prefer the places where there is less tourists. One of the last sentence of your post resumes my kind of touring:

The tourist buses stop at the towns along the coast, yet I spent little time in them. The sections between the towns are far more interesting than endless tourist shops, in my view.

Paul
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Old 02-25-18, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by paulthepyke View Post
Thanks Raybo, I like your post, it's my type to prefer the places where there is less tourists. One of the last sentence of your post resumes my kind of touring:

The tourist buses stop at the towns along the coast, yet I spent little time in them. The sections between the towns are far more interesting than endless tourist shops, in my view.

Paul
I am in the planning stages for a tour in Italy. I have read about tourists riding along the coast. Flat and eventually boring. Since Italy is sixty miles wide (wider at the top than bottom) I think that it would be cool to zig zag my way down Italy and loop around Sicaly (how do you spell that??) I would start the day on one side of the coast, spend the day on smaller roads, climbing up and over and descending to the other side. Just a thought.
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Old 02-25-18, 05:38 PM
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Hot springs and warm showers. When I go to Italy, I do not want to miss going to some of the amazing hot springs. (might be one near Pompeii for instance). Since I am a warm showers host, I looked up, and was amazed by how many hosts are in Italy. Like you, I am still planning to take camp gear, as a back up plan. (Only 9 pounds).
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