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A week (or so) in Italy

2oldnslow2oldnslow Posts: 313
edited April 2012 in Tour & expedition
Never cycled in Italy before so some guidance would be appreciated. In June I'll arrive in Salerno with my car (via a ferry from Cyprus) and will be driving to the Bonn area of Germany. Naturally I'll stick a bike in the back of the car so I'm looking for some advice on areas to explore. A quick look on Google maps suggests a route passing close to Rome, Bologna, Florence and Verona before heading over the mountains to Munich and on to Bonn.

I'm thinking of taking a week(ish) to do some cycling can anyone kindly provide some advice on a particular area I should base myself in and explore?

Posts

  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    What are you looking to do? Base yourself in one place for a day or two and do day-rides?

    The Dolomites around Cortina are a good bet - and from there you could take the Reisen pass over to Austria. Or you could go to the Sud-Tirol- (Alto Adige)/Trentino or even the Lakes (eg Lake Lugano, Lago Maggiore).

    I would also head north-east from Salerno towards the chain of national parks that run along the Appenines, lots of interesting places to see and ride and would probably be a more interesting drive.

    That's the trouble with Italy - too much choice.
  • 2oldnslow2oldnslow Posts: 313
    many many thanks to you both as andy points out there really is way to much choice but as I'm moving to live in southern Germany I think I'll be going back on numerous occassions
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,708
    Stop at Gaiole in Chianti, around Siena, south of Florence and follow the "Eroica" permanently signed course. It's 50% on white roads, but beautifully kept. Possibly the best cycling experience you will ever have. You can do the full course in two days (or three), it's about 125 miles, quite hilly. Siena is of course very beauftiful too and worth a visit together with San Gimignano, as you are there.

    There is a famous event for vintage cycles in October, if you want to have a look, but too late to register for 2012.

    http://www.eroica-ciclismo.it/italiano/home.asp
  • 2oldnslow2oldnslow Posts: 313
    "Stop at Gaiole in Chianti, around Siena, south of Florence and follow the "Eroica" permanently signed course. It's 50% on white roads, but beautifully kept. Possibly the best cycling experience you will ever have. You can do the full course in two days (or three), it's about 125 miles, quite hilly. Siena is of course very beauftiful too and worth a visit together with San Gimignano, as you are there."

    Did someone say too many choices. I've always wanted to "do the Eroica" even looking to build up a vintage bike to ride it on. Just in the process of packing up my bikes to be shipped ahead to my new home in Germany and was pondering which bike to take with me. I reckon my Focus Cyclo cross bike might be perfect for a recce of those white roads.

    Think my week is fast turning into 2 :D
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,708
    2oldnslow wrote:
    "Stop at Gaiole in Chianti, around Siena, south of Florence and follow the "Eroica" permanently signed course. It's 50% on white roads, but beautifully kept. Possibly the best cycling experience you will ever have. You can do the full course in two days (or three), it's about 125 miles, quite hilly. Siena is of course very beauftiful too and worth a visit together with San Gimignano, as you are there."

    Did someone say too many choices. I've always wanted to "do the Eroica" even looking to build up a vintage bike to ride it on. Just in the process of packing up my bikes to be shipped ahead to my new home in Germany and was pondering which bike to take with me. I reckon my Focus Cyclo cross bike might be perfect for a recce of those white roads.

    Think my week is fast turning into 2 :D

    The white roads are well paved, with the odd deep gravel pit. Take it easy on the steep ascents/descends around Asciano and you'll be fine with any bike... but yes, the CX bike is the better one. In true Eroica spirit, start before dawn
  • 2oldnslow2oldnslow Posts: 313
    CX bike it is then and many thanks I'll probably stick a pair of 28mm Conti 4 Seasons on to make things a little easier on the paved roads I usually run Schwalbe Rocket Rons on it but that seems like it might be a bit OTT.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,708
    2oldnslow wrote:
    CX bike it is then and many thanks I'll probably stick a pair of 28mm Conti 4 Seasons on to make things a little easier on the paved roads I usually run Schwalbe Rocket Rons on it but that seems like it might be a bit OTT.

    28 are the way to go... I am so envious.
    All you have to do is follow the brown arrows" L'Eroica", is dead easy
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,534
    so jealous !
    I've stayed in a few areas so would just add in my experiences in case they are of any use to you.
    San Gimingano area : stayed there a couple of times, don't recall any brilliant rides so whilst good not exceptional ? Took part in a fondo here which was great fun - not overly testing roads generally.

    Lago di Castigliano - Stayed near here, recall having a decent choice of windy, up and down rides to various locations.

    Lake Garda - Stayed at various places around the lake. On the SW tip, near Pesciare del Garda some rides were really good, some not so. Just heading up the Western lake side wasn't the best - bit too much traffic and not as attractive as other areas. Heading away from the west side of the lake was better. The East side of the lake can be pretty busy but once away from the main road it's good. From Torbole I recall heading NE towards Trento and hitting big hills, eg Passo Folgaria is a memorable beast of a climb to the NE of the Lake and it's hilly to the NW also - there are some major Giro stage roads to the N of the lake.

    Visited but never rode, in the Northern Tuscany area, up from Pisa and that was pretty hilly, not as touristy. Seem to recall that it is an area that has hills which the Tuscan pros test themselves on which might give an indication.
  • 2oldnslow2oldnslow Posts: 313
    thanks andyrr I'll be passing through the "Italian Lakes" on my way to Germany so might well stop of in that area as well. Ahhh the joys or being single (again) and having taken early retirement LOL
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