Italy trip planning

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by mach1mustang351, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    IMHO...

    Milano to Andermatt - 3 to 4 hours. Autostrada to the Swiss border and backroads from there. The Italian Autostrada is pay as you go, whereas the Swiss is a yearly fee of CHF40. Plus the traffic out of Milano is nasty, but opens up nicely once across the border. If the weather's dry, take the cobblestoned old road (La Tremola) over the St. Gotthard. MUCH more flavor. The new road is rather bland.

    Andermatt isn't what it used to be, but it's still very good. 3-4 days of riding in the local area, so you could definitely saturate your riding in a day or two.

    I'd really do 2 nights in Andermatt, if the schedule allows. From there to Livigno for an overnight on your way to the Dolomites. (try to get there with as close to an empty tank as possible - cheap fuel).

    From Andermatt to Livigno. Multiple ways.

    I'd strongly suggest this route from Andermatt: Oberalp Pass to Ilanz. South from there and east to Bonaduz. LOVELY road along the Rheinschlucht (gorge). The Vorderrhein & Hinterrhein come together at Bonaduz to form the Rhein.

    South to Thusis, and then:

    * Towards Tiefencastle and over either the Julier (so-so) or the Albula (my preferred - it plays tag with the Glacier Express tracks and is a more intense experience)

    * South through the Via Mala, over the Splugen and Maloja passes and past St. Moritz. Note that the Italian side of the Splugen is tight, but a lot easier downhill into Italy. Can be slippery when wet.

    From Livigno to Arabba - Go over the Stelvio. It's trafficky, trite and crowded, but almost mandatory. At least once. Grab a wurst at the top. I prefer the guy with the orange cover, but the guy with the blue has his adherents.

    About 250km each day.

    Dolomites. I like Arabba (and I really like the Hotel Evaldo). It's right in the middle of everything, but has NO nightlife - it's a place to sleep. Corvara in Badia a bit north is more of a town with walking/shopping opportunities.
    #81
    RobF650 and mach1mustang351 like this.
  2. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    So plans have been set, and ivwas wrong about how many days we had. So we decided to go to Livigno then to Arraba.

    So if anyone has reccomendations on a route from Milan to Livigno. I'll take what I can get.

    We have a good plan already posted for Livigno to Arraba (thanks Michael).

    I'm a bit sad to miss Andermatt, but we already knew there would be so much to do and see, with out casual pace we were going to miss things.

    Thanks everyone for the help
    #82
  3. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    How much time are you allocating?

    The default route would be to head to Lecco on the SE side of Lake Como, up along the lake, past the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello del Lario, to Chiavenna and then over the Maloja Pass to St. Moritz, taking a right at Celerina toward the Bernina Pass and into Livigno. About 210 kms and an easy 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and morale/cappucino stops along the way. You'll run right by a great Chinese Restaurant/Pizzeria (Ristorante da Lin) as you enter Colico at the northern end of Lake Como. Go figure.

    A somewhat more *involved* route would be to head for Lugano out of Milano and over the St. Bernardino Pass to Splugen - taking a right over the Splugen Pass to Chiavenna and then as above. This is about 320 kms and will probably run you 6-7 hours with the above caveats. But you get to ride 2 killer passes.

    Note that you will want to be off the Autostrada when you enter Switzerland. The Swiss collect tolls by issuing a Vignette (40CHF) to be able to use their Autostrada/Autobahn/Autoroute system. Pricey for an afternoon's ride. Besides, those aren't the roads you want to be on anyway (it runs in a tunnel under the San Bernardino Pass).

    Either one is doable - especially if you have a room waiting for you in Livigno. Note that most hotels are family run and don't have a 24 hour front desk. Don't plan on checking in much later than 7 PM. If you're going to run late, be sure that they (a) understand and (b) will accommodate you.

    Most of the traffic will be getting out of Milano and Lugano or the southern end of Lake Como.
    #83
    mach1mustang351 likes this.
  4. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    While I'm thinking about it. Note that the main route north along Como's east side is the SS36 which, while efficient, spends a LOT of time in tunnels. The view in tunnels sucks. The SP72 that runs along the lake and through villages is the one you want.

    Key:

    SS = Strada Statale - a Federal road similar in scope to a major US Route
    SP = Strade Provinciale - more akin to US State routes.
    #84
    mach1mustang351 likes this.
  5. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,255
    Location:
    below the sea
    Been there, had the booking, rung in I'm running late, room still sold from under me. This is how it is, I think they have a duty to keep the room until such and such a time, then its free for all comers.
    Similar rules apply in other European countries.
    I always start as early as possible, so come mid afternoon, a beer and a room overpower my need to continue.
    The Alps and much of Europe is like that. You can always spruce up and hit the town. Walking - promenading - about town is perfectly acceptable. Indeed, deemed civilised.

    Also the check-in counter may be closed - I mean, who would be travelling during meal times...?
    #85
  6. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,490
    Two alternative itineraries :
    Milano - Dalmine - Bergamo Outskirts - San Pellegrino Terme - Passo S. Marco - Morbegno - Sondrio - Tirano - Poschiavo - Bernina - Livigno
    Eventually with a dirt deviation from Foppolo - Passo Dordona - Fusine

    Milano - Palazzolo - Lago Iseo west coast - Lovere - Edolo - Ponte di Legno - Passo Gavia (a must - pity that was all paved)
    [​IMG]
    - S.Caterina Valfurva - Bormio
    if possible make the detour to Laghi di Fraele - Torri di Fraele -
    [​IMG]
    Then Trepalle-Livigno
    #86
    mach1mustang351 likes this.
  7. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    I FINALLY made it up there and did a loop of the lake this year. Superb!

    [​IMG]

    Pic from Mavic Pro :D
    #87
    mach1mustang351 and GiorgioXT like this.
  8. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    Okay everyone. I'm on a plane Monday, rooms are booked, routes vaguely planned. I took my small pile of cash I have been saving for spending money, and I have 1800 euros. Is that enough for 2 people 10 days to have a good enough time?? I figured things would cost more, but I have zero perspective. Remember, rooms are already booked and paid and so is the bike.

    Not that I can do anything about it now... But just want to know what I'm in for

    Thanks

    Thw next post will likely be from Italy!!
    #88
  9. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,490
    Bike and rooms paid should be enough - beware of Switzerland though...
    #89
  10. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    My direct expenses run about €120/day - fuel, hotels, eats and the occasional souvenir. Typically 3 star hotels with the occasional 2 or 4 star.

    Since you've already paid for the bike and hotels, that leaves €180/day for fuel, eats & souvenirs.

    Unless I need to get someplace, I usually use between 20-25 liters of fuel daily. Breakfast is at the hotel, lunch is along the way - I often pick up something in the local supermarket for lunch and eat it at a suitably scenic spot. Dinner can be a wild card, but it's usually a light meal for me - say €25.

    And don't let GiorgioXT scare you - Switzerland is lovely. It IS pricey compared to its neighbors, but unless you plan to spend the entire 10 days there it's just a blip on the budget. Switzerland is where I'm most likely to hit the local market for lunch materials.
    #90
    RobF650 and nickguzzi like this.
  11. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,255
    Location:
    below the sea
    MichaelJ is a wise and experienced Euro traveller. Which means he probably can avoid the expensive places in Switzerland on autopilot.
    It is not always easy. Most of us have been suckered in, and handed an eye watering bill at some time - a weeks wages on very ordinary food in very ordinary surroundings. A days pay for a couple of coffees - that sort of thing. Leaves a sour taste when you are on a strict budget.
    Having said that, it is not always so bad, but I always make sure I don't "need" anything when I go through these days.

    I have no idea of your dietary needs or requirements, but Michael has posted pictures of the sort of lunches many of us buy for ourselves. Mountain areas are often rightly famous for their cheeses, but it may not be in the style of Monteray Jack. When in Rome.
    Similarly various dried sausage, in the manner of salamis. In supermarkets, you can pick up a whole one, a pack of ready sliced, or the deli counter will slice off from their selection - sound familiar? Most smaller shops selling food will have the same modus operandi.
    Street markets - sometimes - but often they sell whole, but smaller ones. Of course, usually the whole range of produce is available.
    It is likely there will be vendors offering fast food like pizza or maybe a pasta+ sauce in a bag or box.

    The top several croissants I have ever eaten have been bought from bakers in northern Italy, and some of the least interesting bread has popped up there too - not the same places though. Even the sourdough/woodfired thing has not always worked all that well. Que sera.
    I may have mentioned the bakery in Mandello before, on Via Alessandro Manzomi/Piazza della Republica - up from the Carlo Guzzi statue. The pasticceria there serves very nice minature sweet pastries and savouries. We had a plateful, also seemed very cheap. The one on the shady side is better, IMHO. The set up is quite common in Italy, it seems to be a common form of breakfast.

    Evening meals is where I like to try the best food I can find. Which is not always the most expensive. In France the Michelin Guide works very well pretty much everywhere. Most otheer countries have far less recommendations, but it is always possible to find something decent. At least, it has never let me down yet.
    There is apparently an app and desktop version of ViaMichelin. It has zoomable maps, will plan routes, find hotels and restaurants and probably more. But the restaurant function works pretty well. Enter your location and it will show you the recommended places radiating out from there. Some will be very simple - pizzeria and pasta bars. Some will be upper crust "fine dining". But most will be more mid range, mid price. The Guide gives sample prices, so you get an idea first - rather than like I have been, counting out the small change on the table to see if we have enough... phew, just made it!
    There are "star" ratings, but also "Recommended" and "Bib" slightly lower, but not necessarily in quality, maybe some other aspect is lacking - Michelin like a "starred" restaurant to demonstrate consistancy over time.
    Anyway, I have found they very often the very best value if not the very lowest prices, although many of the Michelin places I visit in France end up cheaper than the "cheap bistro" round the corner.
    Coming from lots of time and meals in France, where most restaurants offer "menus" - the fixed price meal of several courses, I find many restaurants in Italy don't do the same, and quite a few still don't have a "carte" - what anglophones call a menu - a list of dishes on offer. The waiters recite what is "on" today - OK for Italian speakers... Some on here say you can always find a place with people speaking English, well that is not my experience. And occasionally, yes, it is true. Perhaps on the road more travelled.
    It always helps to have the beginnings of a language, at least enough to make you sound polite. To ask for a beer or an ice cream.
    Una camera con bagno, per favore - my first Italian uttered to an Italian. Likely with an appalling accent.

    Have fun and a great time.
    #91
    RobF650 and mach1mustang351 like this.
  12. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    Awesome!! Thanks Nick and everyone. Looking at weather, it looks like we will get rain/snow Thursday and Friday for the Livgano to Arabba leg then Arabba down to Venice. Obviously that is nearly a week away, so things can get better... Or worse. We'll play it by ear.
    #92
  13. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,490
    In Italia , the lunch is the real bargain : most restaurants and trattoria offer "menù fisso" for 10 to 12€ each full meal with wine and coffee... because that's the max that companies will refund the traveling workers.

    In Switzerland very often hotels and mountain huts on passes are much cheaper than those in towns.
    #93
    nickguzzi likes this.
  14. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    One note. If you buy lunch in the market for later, don't leave ripe pears loose in your topbox. They get beat up.

    On the plus side, your topbox smells really good for a few days.
    #94
    High Country Herb and nickguzzi like this.
  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,255
    Location:
    below the sea
    Oh yes Michael! Same for peaches.

    I have a nice string bag that gets held by my partner after the market.
    Someone on here somewhere posted a picture of what looked exactly the same. Empty, fits in a pocket without an unsightly bulge, and will hold a weeks shopping - very stretchy.

    My scooter PoS has a hook behind the steering. Hangs on there too.
    #95
  16. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    After an enduro airplane trip, we made it to Italia!! Today was the first day on the bike went Milan to Livigano. Went straight through and direct. Nothing super fun till we got up in the mountains. Livigano is beautiful. It is supposed to spit some rain tomorrow, hoping for Stelvio pass over to Badia.

    I'm loving the California1400... Wife,.. Not so much. She thinks the back of my wee Strom is still better
    #96
    RobF650 and nickguzzi like this.
  17. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    You'll pick up two more passes out of Livigno to the Stelvio - Eira and Foscagno. They're not much, as passes go, but a pass is a pass. Disclaimer: I'm a "Pass Whore".

    Looking at my clock, you're probably having lunch about now on your way to the Dolomites, so I won't pass on any alternate routes to, I assume, Corvara in Badia (Corvara is the town, Badia is the area).

    Any way you slice it, it's a great ride. Not so much through Bolzano (trafficky), but great views.

    While you're in the Dolomites, see if you can find this (it counts as a selfie as I'm in the picture):

    [​IMG]
    #97
    mach1mustang351 and nickguzzi like this.
  18. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    Day 2: Left Livigano around 1030 to try and beat some weather. Everything held out well, stelvio was amazing. Check that one off the bucket list!!

    Now the bad... Somehow I started flowing thw wrong road signs and ended up in Brenner... Well, didnt across into Austria because at that point I figured out we messed up. Had to backtrack. Wife was pissed, we didnt stop for lunch, ( she wanted to keep going to beat the rain)... Now we are cold and glad to be in our hotel for the night
    #98
  19. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,585
    Location:
    Alaska
    And as far as my exact location... Hotel Ladinia. Nice place.

    And pics to prove I'm not a liar

    0914170709_Burst01.jpg 0914170151.jpg
    #99
  20. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    When you leave in the morning, head north and take a right in about 180 meters - the road to Passo Valparola. There's an old WW1 fort at the top that has been turned into a museum. Worth a short visit, if you're into that sort of thing.

    The road drops down to Passo Falzarego, where you can go right and head towards Arabba or go left and head towards Cortina. Lovely walkable town. Touristy, but walkable.

    If you take the Cortina option - go a bit further and head to Lago di Misurina:

    [​IMG]

    A gorgeous little lake. The restaurant in the right background has a deck over the water. Great place to have lunch. Bonus factoid - this is one of the recurring backdrops on "Wheel of Fortune".