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Old 10-26-2010, 08:29 AM   #16
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Awesome report. Thanks for sharing
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:43 AM   #17
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Awesome report, looks like an awful lot of fun. I absolutely fell in love with Italy last year while visiting my wife's family there, can not wait to go back. Hopefully I'll get some bike time on the next trip.

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As I was leaning against a building on the street, I suddenly felt a PLOP glance my neck and land on my shoulder, as a pigeon decided it did not like me standing beneath its perch. The wife got quite a chuckle; I wish I had a gun.
Birds crapping on you is considered good luck amongst Italians. Don't know why, but it is!
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:23 PM   #18
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OK lots of old buildings and beautiful scenery, BUT, that is only a small part of our motivation to travel to faraway lands. My main motivation is the ROADS. All I can say is if there was a Basilica of Saint Motorrad , it would contain likenesses and statues of Italian sheep, goats and cows. As these were the architects and engineers that plotted the path of Italian roads. From the Dolomites in the north, and this area in central Italy, I have to say they did a fine job of laying out the twistiest , gnaralist roads you can imagine.

Here are my GPS tracks, total of about 3250 km (2000 miles)




This is where I will give more Kudos to Beachs, and where the value from a tour organization comes to light. Rob not only provides a book with history of each area and 2-4 routes each day, but now provides preprogrammed GPS units with as many as 8 routes each day!! And the routes have been ridden and developed over their many years in business. Anyone can find a few good roads, but it takes experience to link those roads into an all day great ride, and exponentially increases the smiles/mile.
I hate straight roads, and consider myself a corner junkie, but after about 2000 km, I was truly mentally exhausted by the unrelenting turns and twists. The Alps at least give you a short rest at times, but many of the roads in this area of Italy did not have a straight longer than 1/4 mile! I did not keep track, but I will bet I never got into 5th or 6th gear on 10 of our 16 riding days. Many hours were spent in 2nd and 3rd gears, even thought I was running a spirited pace. Wonderful, just wonderful in my book.
Pavement on some of the small narrow local roads was a little rough, but a lot of new blacktop existed too. All in all, the roads were similar to the pavement quality in NY and New England.


I took several videos, but if I was to take videos of all the good roads I would have had HOURS of footage. I know watching riding videos is like getting stuck at someone’s house when they get the slide projector out, but I did post a couple, just to give you a flavor of the riding.










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Old 10-27-2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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Great report, just wish you had more pictures including your ride
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:28 PM   #20
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I love seeing the Italian countryside.
Nice trip.

I embedded the video for you,
That truck at 1:47
Also good to see no "lollipops"



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Old 10-31-2010, 12:15 PM   #21
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O.K. some time to catch up this weekend.

Friday Oct.9
On the road again, it’s nice not to have to load up the bike every day, just roll the suitcase down to the lobby and be assured it will be waiting in your room the next night, and gives you more time to ride and the ability to travel light. Wife and I were again taking the long route (surprise, surprise), and the California couple, Brad and Kate, were again riding along. Regardless of being tagged the “Harley” couple, they could ride very smooth and VERY swift, no foolish moves or what looked like “oh ship” moments when we rode together before, so there was no worry of something bad happening, because they were riding above their heads. It is always a concern when riding along with someone new.

It was a good combination, I had my detailed Michelin regional maps that showed every horse path and a good handle on operating the GPS and modifying routes if we desired, and Kate had done her homework and read the large stack of information Beach’s provides, but also had another tourist book further detailing interesting places and history of the area. This actually made it more enjoyable for my wife, as I would just ride for 8 hours straight every day, and miss much of the interesting sights and rich culture that only complements the enjoyment of the trip.

Actually out of Tuscany, the last three days have been primarily in Umbria, and today the ride would take us through Parco Nazionale Monti Sibillini and over the spine of the Appinines, into the Marche regions. Weather was again great, cool in the mid 50’s at the start, up into the 60’s. Made lots of tracks in the AM, had some heavy fog for a few minutes as we got to the top of the ridges that are over 2000 meters in elevation. So we really didn’t stop until lunch time when we came into the small hilltop village of Castelluccio, the highest town in the Appinines at about 4700’ and overlooking the high plane basins on both sides.










Central Italy is full of wild boars, and they use it as a tourist attraction for sure.





It was about lunch time, but we just saw a couple of little café’s , so after gathering the wives from a small shopping spree we figured we would hit the road and look for a place for a quick lunch. As we were pulling out, in rides Rob Beach and the two other couples, we stop and he says there is a great place to eat just up the hill from where we were wandering around. So we followed them up to a little unassuming building with a few tables out front.

We went in to an almost empty place and the young waiter came out and promptly seated us and gave us some recommendations. Several of us had the soup trio, consisting of a barley, a bean and a lentil zuppa, as some started to eat, the waiter comes over and stops us and says , you must add oil, from the ever present olive oil bottles to the zuppa to enhance its flavor. I never added oil to soup, but he was correct, it added a whole new dimension to the taste.

One of the guys ordered Fish, and when it was served he asked the same young waiter for a little grated cheese, and was promptly told no, as he explained cheese would spoil the taste of the fish. Even at small establishments that we would almost call a diner, they take exceptional pride in their foods and preparation. And another advantage of using a tour company , you get to pick the brain of someone that knows the area and the best places to stop.

We headed back out bellies full and had a great ride up, over and down the spine. Later in the afternoon we ran into Rob and Gretchen again, and so the 3 of us teamed up again for the ride to Villa Vomano for the night.

We arrived in time to shower before dinner, in our meager accommodations. Nothing like showering in an Italian marble shower in a marble bathroom.





Yet another 4 or 5 course meal, I stopped counting, after Champaign and appetizers, and finished off with Grappa and Limoncello.

We went back to the room to retire after admiring the hand painted ceiling in our room.



I could get use to this REAL quick.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:32 PM   #22
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Saturday Oct 10th
This was another double overnight so we didn’t HAVE to ride, yea like that is going to happen. We were only about 20 miles from the beaches along the Adriatic coast. But no sense in going straight as the road from the north we came in on the night before was 10 miles of sweet twisty pavement. The California couple again rode along.

About a mile from the Villa, I made the only potentially serious mental error of the trip; I was fidgeting with my visor as we rode along and not paying full attention to the road. There was a small road straight off a right hand hairpin that I misread as the main road, when I realized the error, I gave a quick glance to make sure there was no oncoming traffic, and rather than spike the brakes with another bike following just shot across into the secondary road, and just got another u-turn practice session. Reminders like that are good to get on occasion as they whack us back into reality.

As we deviated to the east and the coast, we came upon another picturesque city on a hill, so we stopped to take some pictures, of course, as that is what you do when you see something picturesque.



We got to the coast the sun was shining bright and it was probably in the lower 70’s, a great beach day in upstate NY, but evidently the locals and tourists don’t agree, as the beaches were deserted. No need to reserve your beach chair now.





We continued down the beach road trying to find a seaside café for a cappuccino with a view, most of the places were buttoned up tight, but we finally found one and grabbed a table in the sun. There were a couple women from England that were sitting there soaking up the sunshine too. Evidently this would be a great beach day in the U.K. too.
We had had enough of flat seaside roads, so as soon as we finished the cappuccinos, we headed back to the twisty inland roads. We quickly gained elevation but stopped to take a couple of goodbye pics of the Adriatic.





We looped south and found some nice twisty bits that were devoid of traffic, even though it was a weekend. As we swung back north we caught a glimpse of the Gran Sasso as the low clouds lifted for a few moments.



We were getting close to the villa and decided we had too much daylight left, so we decided to head north again to Ascoli Piceno, a city NOT on a hill top! The Greeks inhabited the area as far back as 500 BC.
The Piazza del Popolo rimmed by buildings dating to the 13th century.





And the Piazza Arringo and the Duomo full of beautiful Italian art and sculpture.




A little Gelato to tie us over until dinner and we were off again.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:10 PM   #23
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very nice! include a few more bike shots/riders too if ya have them
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:47 PM   #24
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Sunday Oct 11th.
DAMN, the trip is half over, and no time machines in sight, to back the world up a few days. Back on the road, we were headed to Norcia, another walled city, but not on a hill this time. When we rode to our present location, two days ago, we were within 15 miles as the crow flies of Norcia, but today’s route would take us about 150 miles to get back, got to love twisty roads.

The route would take us around the Gran Sasso and the highest peaks in the Appinines, at 9,500 feet. We were headed UP all morning, on MORE beautiful twisty roads.










Rob, or rather Gretchen advised us that after we stopped climbing and came into a high flat plateau with a small building out in the middle of nowhere, to stop and get the best hot chocolate in Italy. Sure enough, ou can’t miss it , we stopped and the proprietor unlocked for us, it IS after season after all, but he said he had no chocolate, so we settled for cappuccino, while soaking up the warmth of the sun in the cool mountain air.




As we were finishing our drinks, in pulls an SUV pulling a generator on a trailer, and out comes a couple of people carrying supplies, including the chocolate. They parked and hooked up the generator and low and behold the interior lights came on. So what the heck, we ordered some of Italy’s best hot chocolate. Why we were drinking/eating what is btter described as warm chocolate pudding, the others on the tour rolled in, so we sat and conversed, before Brad, Kate and us decided we were going to ride up to the top of Campo Imperatore, where the Italians imprisoned Mussolini, in 1943, before the Germans came to rescue him. It is now a resort and ski slope, with breathtaking views,







We descended to the lowlands and to a local “ricky racer” road on the north shore of Lago di Campotosto, another fine piece of Italian live stock engineering. We stopped at a small place overlooking the lake, and had another fine Italian lunch, served by the families kids that were all of 8-10 years old.
View at lunch



And if you wonder if the food is fresh, this area is adjacent to the place. Full of chickens and turkeys,


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Old 11-02-2010, 08:09 AM   #25
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Great stuff. Can you tell me the road or route number where you had the great chocolate liquid? That will go on my to do list.

Regards, Paul
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:34 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Roadscum
Great stuff. Can you tell me the road or route number where you had the great chocolate liquid? That will go on my to do list.

Regards, Paul
I wasn't as impressed as others, to me it is basically chocolate pudding served warn in a coffee cup. Good just the same.

BUT the road to get there and scenery is reason alone to ride there. Clink the link below the map to enlarge it and make it interactive


View Hot chocolate in a larger map
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:29 AM   #27
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O.K. getting some time to continue the travelogue.

Sunday Oct 11th continued.

After a fine lunch of pasta and meat ragu, and a couple of fresh pork sausage, we hit the road again, wonderful sweepers and beautiful landscape as we made our way down from the high roads.

This part of Italy is a matrix of endless serpentine pavement, a cornering fanatic’s paradise for sure. We decide to deviate from the route and ride into Leonessa, another historic town in northern Lazio region. As we got close we soon found ourselves in a traffic jam of sorts, seems that the annual Potato festival was this weekend, and traffic parked along the road restricted traffic, luckily we were on wheels and splitting traffic, sometimes at walking speeds with our saddlebags rubbing against bumpers of cars, we made it to the traffic circle, but decided a turn to the north to Norcia, our destination for the night.

We needed fuel so we stopped at a station just out of town, and noticed a walled village high on the hill above. We doubled back and found the road up to Monteleone di Spoleto.



We rode into the walled town, which was pretty well deserted. The place was inhabited, but seems that on this afternoon all were inside, probably cooking Sunday dinner. We parked and continued to climb up to the top of the town.














As we went to the wall to take in the view. up jumps a Springer spaniel, on to the 18” wide wall with a 40 foot drop off on the far side, talk about knowing your territory! As we walked the town, the Springer would be our escort, following us in and out of the small streets and happily soliciting an occasional rub behind the ears.








We wandered around town for a while under the watchful eye of our canine escort , as we headed back to the bikes our escort decided payment was due, so she ran ahead and laid down belly up, looking for the ever elusive belly rub, we obliged, small price to pay for a guided tour.


Spotted this Piaggio APE, with a spoiler and custom paint.




The APE’s are all over the place, I saw several painted in the owners favorite Moto GP or F1 pilots colors, as they zoomed along at their 30 mph top speed.

We headed to the hotel on a wonderful stretch of pavement, and arrived just before dark. The hotel was in Norcia, another walled city. We were advised in advance that we would have to park outside the city, but that we could ride to the hotel and unload/let off our pillions, before parking, so we headed into town.

GPS is a wonderful tool, but anybody that uses one knows that in urban areas they become less than effective. Now try riding up 7’wide streets and as you can guess, reception is more than sketchy. So I tried to do some dead reckoning, but with the narrow one way streets that did not help, so we wandered around until I saw the church steeple, and we headed that way. Almost all of the churches are in the central square, which is open enough to get some gps reception. So we rode into the center of the square amongst all the pedestrians, and sure enough, the GPS came to life, showing the motel just ahead.

Another wonderful food, wine, and grappa feast that night, along with a good night’s sleep.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:27 PM   #28
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Monday Oct. 12th
Monday dawned overcast with threatening skies, particularly to the south. Brad and Kate were along again, and due to weather we decided to…………. head south into the dark clouds, why? Because it looked like the longest and twistiest route, of course!

We had a few sprinkles and damp pavement but no real rain for the first hour, we headed back to the village of Leonessa, to look around. Werode into the village square to find it filled with abandon tents from the weekend Potato festival. By then it had started to rain, so they served the purpose of keeping us dry while we donned our rain gear.







We were headed to one of the highest water fall in Europe, Cascata delle Marmore. Another unique thing is it was built by the Romans about 300 B.C., thus making it the tallest man made waterfalls in the world. On top of the history, additionally the falls is shut it off at regular intervals! Unfortunately in October, they only shut it off on Friday afternoons, so we were not able to witness a waterfall “turning on”. The falls was impressive just the same.







We grabbed lunch at the base of the falls, hoping the skies might clear, but no such luck. We headed north on the little white roads, that twist and turn and are nearly devoid of traffic. We were headed to Spoleto, yet another historic city on a hill.
As we wound north the weather began to clear, and soon we were on dry roads again, allowing us to run a little more fun pace.
Spoleto has a Roman aqua/via duct that runs across the valley, and still stands.



Spoleto knows how to treat tourists, there is a castle at the top, but only a few streets running up through town. So you park at the bottom of town and take a series of Escalators up to the top of town, probably running you up 700-1000 vertical feet. We got off the escalators, and the women headed down to the Churches, and Brad and I decided we would rather hike up to the fort, so we headed up, climbing ½ mile uphill to the fort. Great views, but the place was closed so we could not get inside. After we climbed up, we found out there was an elevator near the escalators that would have saved the steep walk to the top, but instead we took it down to save time.







We walked down into town a little way and I found a store that was selling the fine Montefalco Rosso 2005, that we were served the night before, and bought a bottle. We did not see the wives yet, so we want to the Gelato shop and enjoyed a little snack. The wives finally came back to meet us at the top of the escalators, bearing gifts, more gelato! Not wanting to waste it, we had a second helping.

Back on the road and getting late we were headed to our hotel in Todi, yet another city on a hill.

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Old 11-19-2010, 08:45 PM   #29
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Tuesday Oct. 13th
We arrived in Todi last night, just in time to grab a beer before changing for dinner. Todi is suppose to be a nice historical city, but there were just too many things to fit in the schedule today, so we had to skip a visit, maybe next time. Brad and Kate were again our riding companions.

View from our room in Todi.



We were headed to the Mediterranean today, via a lot of twisting, rising, falling roads, they played out like a box of ribbon candy. And, ……… oh yea stops in Orvieto, yes, another walled city on a hill. The city has a large elaborate Duomo, and has been around since the third century B.C.!!!





[IMG][/IMG]



We could not get inside this day as they were conducting a funeral, but the building is quite impressive from the outside.
There were a bunch of small shops lining the streets, so the wife decided to shop for family and friends, while I sat in a sidewalk café and had a cappuccino.


Who said you can’t have a garden in the city?





Aside from our destination in the Mediterranean, Rob said that if we wanted to meet at a place near Monte Amiata, at 1:00, that we could get a killer meal at a place in the middle of nowhere, that served a specialty dish made from the local plentiful sweet chestnuts, that littered the road in many places we had ridden. Our lodging tonight was one of the few nights that did not include dinner, as it was a double overnight and we would have our dinner tomorrow night. We usually eat fairly light at lunch, some soup, or many days just Gelato, or a slice of pizza, because of the 5 course meals every night, but as we didn’t have to worry about stuffing ourselves tonight, we could stuff ourselves at lunch.

After the wives got done shopping we headed out, again on excellent twisty ribbons of pavement. We tried to get in as many miles as we could on some great pavement, but the GPS said we were going to miss lunch if we didn’t hustle (like we needed and excuse to wick it up ). We finally realized that we were going to be REAL late if we did not deviate from our intended route, so we headed to the place as direct as we could, on the twistiest roads on the map.

We pulled up about 2:00, a little more than fashionably late, figuring we would catch the others just finishing their meal. But I should have known, if there are fun roads we ALL have the same problem getting there on time. Rob and Gretchen had just arrived and were outside, conversing with one of the Chefs, Giorgio, who happened to be a rider as well. We talked outside waiting for the 2 other couples to show up, while we enjoyed the cool fresh air and beautiful scenery.





Like most of Europe, the Italians close shop at about 3:00, to take a break before dinner. So at 2:30 we felt we should head inside to eat without the others. Giorgio gave us some excellent recommendations, unfortunately we were a couple of weeks early for the chestnut specialty. Sadly we started with some pasta and sauce, Kate had ordered some mushroom soup, and although I like mushrooms to complement foods, I am not crazy about them solo. But as mushrooms abound in the area, I thought I would give it a shot, I also ordered some fresh pork sausage to finish the off the meal.
After the excellent pasta appetizer, the “soup” showed up, it could better be described as fresh mushroom stew in a bread bowl!!! DELICIOUS!!!



The sausage, as seen in the upper corner, was delicious too! And of course dessert to finish it off.

Back on the road, we again took the long route to the hotel, arriving after dark, but in time to gather at the bar for a few rinks and great conversation with the rest of the group, before a great night’s sleep, breathing fresh, cool, crisp Mediterranean air.

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Old 11-19-2010, 09:17 PM   #30
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Great report, fabulous pictures! Thanks for sharing it with us!
I lived in Bologna for a year back in the 80s and sorely miss the country, the people and the food. The drivers not so much!
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