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Touring southern Italy

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Touring southern Italy

Old 07-08-19, 05:39 AM
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Norwegianguy
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Touring southern Italy

Hi guys,

doing our first tour with road bikes in from Catania, Sicily, and northwards towards Rome.

Hoping to get some tips on:
- Beautiful / cool places to see on the west coast of Italy including overnight stays (will be followig the furthermost western roads)
- Roads to follow and avoid (also taking into consideration road bikes)
- How to handle the god damned heat (30-35 degrees). We plan to ride in the morning / evening and bring loads of water

Thanks,
On behalf of all Norwegian
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Old 07-08-19, 06:46 PM
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raybo
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I rode the other direction from Naples down to Sicily and then once around (journal here).

I found the westernmost roads on the southern Italian Coast to be full of fast traffic along an uninteresting coast. I headed south from Sorrento (don't miss riding on the Amalfi Coast) and rode along the coast to Praia a Mare. Coast road from Scario to Maratea was stunning.

I headed inland from Praia a Mare over the mountains to Cosenza and then back at the coast at Amantea. I continued down the coast from Amantea on the SS18 (the road right along the coast). This was a bad idea.

My thought was that the E45 would take most of the traffic and I would be left alone on the SS18 with coastal views. But, this wasn't the case. The road is flat and straight and cars go fast. Like most Italian roads, there is a 2 foot or so space between the white line and metal barrier and the drivers are courteous. Nonetheless, it was a bit unnerving. Also, what coastal views there were were uninteresting.

I originally planned to ride all the way down the coast to the ferry stop for Messina. But, I bailed out and took the train, skipping a day of bike riding. Today, I'd have taken a train all the way from Amantea to the ferry terminal and skipped this part of Italy, which people in Italy advised me to do! The only thing I'd feel bad about missing by taking the train is Tropea, a pretty town above the water with a bit of history. It was the only worthwhile stop between Amantea and the ferry to Messina. If you are looking for a place to spend the night, choose Tropea.

My recommendation would be to ride away from the coast and up into the hills and come back to the coast around Praia a Mare. Also, do more research to find the best way to proceed. Riding along the south of Italy over to the eastern side for a few days and then coming back over the mountains to Praia a Mare might be a better idea then riding up the southwestern coast.
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Old 07-08-19, 09:48 PM
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Hmm, 39° C tomorrow in Catania! However most days of the route should have more reasonable weather. Much hotter than Norway of course but I think fitness & positive attitude is more important. My area has hot summers, one gets acclimated but just a bit. In my experience 31*° C is not too bothersome, over 34° is when temp becomes rather taxing & over 36° is very fatiguing & can become hard to breathe.

A relaxed tour schedule might allow for just riding in morning & evening but late afternoon/early evening not that much cooler, mostly I'd think to ride through with a relaxed pace unless heat is extreme. I wear long-sleeve jerseys & use a helmet sun-visor.
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Old 07-09-19, 11:58 AM
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Thank you very much, raybo.


We are now looking into the option to cycle across to the east cost to Bari, and over to Praia a Mare. Seems the east coast also have nice scenery, and the cross-over give some opportunity to see different scenery!


How did you find your stays - through some online portal?
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Old 07-09-19, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Norwegianguy View Post
Thank you very much, Raybo
....

How did you find your stays - through some online portal?
I use booking.com when Warmshowers or couchsurfing didn’t work. For the most part, they didn’t work and I used booking.com extensively.
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Old 07-10-19, 02:12 AM
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Sicily is great to cycle. We rode from Palermo to Agrigento (spend a couple of days so you can go to the valley of the temples) via Corleone, San Stefano Quisquina, Cianciana. We then rode to Gela which is a bit ordinary but from there up to Ragusa which is fantastic and then across to Noto. Would have like liked to ridden around here more but weather was really bad so we caught the train to Syracuse and then to Catania. We did a tour up to Etna from Catania which was well worth it. Toarmina is well worth a visit when you ride north from Catania. Don't take the first turn off though (like we did) unless you like riding up a 20% climb. Take the second which is only about 8-10%. Lots of great scenery from there to Messina. The ride from Villa San Giovani isn't the prettiest so we caught the train to Paolo and rode north from there which is really good. The Amalfi coast is pretty and the drivers will give you room but the traffic is intense. It's worth riding down into Positano for a look and a cup of coffee with a great view. The climb back out is only 8% and it didn't take us that long.
We didn't want to ride through Naples and Rome so we caught the train from Sorrento to Grossetto so we could have plenty of time to ride around Tuscany.
We used booking.com for accomodation. Sicily is really cheap. Positano? Just ridiculously expensive. We kept riding until Sorrento.
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Old 07-10-19, 12:34 PM
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Thank you very much for your answer, geoffs!

We land in Catania, and will have short stay in Taromina (which looks nice) - before cycling to Scilla. We will definitely check out the view at Taromina when there! Positano looks great! Taking the train to Tuscany is not a bad option, when we are tired of the coastal line...

Our route is developing every day, tentatively looking like this: bit. ly/2xJbAHb (remove the space between "bit." and "ly")
We are planning to use train for example from the east coast to approximately Paola on the west coast to avoid the hillclimbing in the heat.

Any tips on the key experiences during the trip is appreciated, or how to find them. Sicily is known for their wine, a rumor states that the first ever pizza place is located in Naples, Atna/Vesuv are good bets for us at the moment

This forum is great!
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Old 07-10-19, 12:36 PM
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Thanks again.

Then we probablys hould stick with booking/airbnb/hotels ect for unnecessary risks!
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Old 07-10-19, 12:37 PM
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Thank you very much DropBarFan,

These are good tips - much in line with our thinking.
The long-sleeve jersey is packed, thanks for that, and also bought an undergarment promising to cool me down (through pushing out the humidity)
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