Riding in Tuscany

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tagesk, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    Thanks for sharing a beautiful ride thru Tuscany. Have driven in a car, riding it on my GS would be super. Ciao..
    #21
  2. Bonnie Abbzug

    Bonnie Abbzug Property of Hayduke

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    I hope to visit Tuscany some day. For now, I will live vicariously through you.

    More please!:lurk
    #22
  3. Thumpercrazee

    Thumpercrazee Long timer

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    Great report and pics. Beautiful countryside!!

    Thanks for sharing,

    TC:D
    #23
  4. Frgich

    Frgich Long timer

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    We have a plan to visit Tuscany next year for 5 days,so bring out more pictures and write up :clap:clap:clap please, thanks
    #24
  5. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    Excellent ride and photos !
    And I'l like your tone, your humor.
    Your avatar was giving me clues about the way you go through life.
    Glad to be alive and "Bon Vivant".
    And without any vergogna, I will keep the places you visited in my diary.
    La via cassia... is molto interessante.
    We'll be in the vicinity for natale hence my close interest ;)
    Grazie mille.
    /thierry
    #25
  6. ladygodiva

    ladygodiva Gnocca

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    Snow place like home!
    Yes you are lucky! We are lucky, to be so close to one of the one spectacular and diverse Italian regions, sea, mountains, excellent food and wine.

    Thumbs up on the RR, pictures, Touring Club map (by far the best!), percorino e miele but your breakfast is worth special mention!!!!! Is there any other way to have breakfat in the winter???? Pandoro and caffè latte (or a capuccino ahimé), that's worth 100 points!

    We spent the weekend on the other side of the Appennini and it rained relentlessly for almost 3 days, you're lucky you got in a good day on Saturday.
    #26
  7. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    [​IMG]

    I should have started the day with panettone, cappuccino and a green map of Toscana. But some other member of my (extended) family seems to have had panettone for dinner. In addition, I feel oblidged to assist a PhD student of mine in his struggles. Now, Tuscan bread with fig-jam (from my own fig tree - only 600 grams of sugar per kilo of fruit!) isn't bad either. But rather than looking at a map I had to read a whole chapter discussing an obscure security-protocol programming-language. If a domain specific security-porotocol programming-language is your cup of tea, send me a PM and I'll send you a dissertation to enjoy.
    Anyway: The net effect og all this was that I couldn't ride off early in the morning as planned.

    Then my daugther came and complained that something I have made (computer related) didn't work. In the end it turned out that it did work, but not quite as she had expected. But then, finally, I was ready.

    The original plan called for a 100 km dash up to Aulla, over Passe di Cerreto (same as Saturday but now during the day so that I can check out the bars and trattorias up there), and back over Passo de Pradarena (the Romans used this pass and there is a Roman road on the North side - I like such things). But, alas, it is now almost time for lunch, and I better find some other desination closer to home.

    I decide that this must be a perfect day to visit the hills overlooking Lucca. It is possible, I know, to pass over the hills and down to Bagni di Lucca. Might get some nice photos of Lucca and the forests now in the bleak winter sun.

    [​IMG]

    In another thread the tough guys on the block are having fun with the fuel gauge on the GS. Mine works just fine. And as I apporach Lucca the last bar dissapear and the yellow light comes on. I know I can trust that thing: I can now ride between 60 and 80 mk, depending on riding conditions. But, this is Italy.

    This week there is a strike, and there is no petrol to be found. I haven't paid attention, so I didn't know.

    When I realize, because I can trust the instruments on the bike, I turn around and head for home. I know there won't be much fuel left when I get home, but I wil get home. And I do.

    So, the only picture I managed to take during my short trip was this one. It has been taken just above San Giuliano Terme, towards South. The big buildings you see are, from the left: Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower), Duomo (Cathedral), and the Battistero (Baptistry). Would have been even nicer somewhat later with the sun lower, but what were I to do there by the road while waiting (as I can't enjoy sigarillos any more)?

    Tomorrow is full of other engagements, but I hope to climb some mountains on Thurday.

    Have a nice day - ride carefully - ATGATT!

    [TaSK]
    #27
  8. Cloud9

    Cloud9 I was HERE?

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    Beautiful country! Thanks!
    #28
  9. chucktab

    chucktab I did what? When?

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    Those pictures bring back some great memories. My grandparents came from St. Maria del Guidice, near Lucca and I've been back to visit the family there. Beautiful area that I definitely want to visit on a motorcycle. Have done a lot of the Alps on a bike so I had better try down south next time.
    #29
  10. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    u raised my curiosity here.... what it is ?

    And about the truck drivers strike, what's the status ?
    I'm interested as I'll be probably in your area for Natale.

    grazie,
    /thierry
    #30
  11. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    oops. just took a little more attention to your photo.
    it's obol http://www.pasta.cs.uit.no/~perm/Obol/
    interesting. I'll have a glimpse.
    /thierry

    edit: just had a look. I'm always wondering why some computer geeks have the need to invent a new language. another one. kind of reinventing the wheel each time. not sure we'll gain after all.....
    I'm in telephony and it's a nightmare. they don't even master the languages and libs they have that they invent a new one.... doh !
    I should have been a computer science teacher :D

    #31
  12. strathbran steve

    strathbran steve Been here awhile

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    ive visited Tuscany 3 times now in the last 3 years, 2005 and 2006 we stayed near Camaiore in a village up on the hill called Pedona. This year we stayed at Cortona, we flew in to Pisa and hired a car, loved the roads and would love to go back on a bike

    i'll dig out some piccies
    #32
  13. planzman

    planzman commie bike rider

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    I say this with all of the antipathy I can muster. I hate you:evil .

    Why are you torturing me:eek1 .

    Don't ever have this much fun again and post such wonderful pictures, you are just plain old mean:lol3


    but really, great stuff:D
    #33
  14. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]

    (map showing where all the pictures were taken is here.)
    Wether Beijing turns out to be the place to be in the 21st centry or not remains ot be seen.
    But in the same way as New York was the place to be in the 20th centry and London in the 19th,
    there was only one place to be in the 15th and 16th centry, and that was in Firenze. In case
    you don't know what I am talking about: Some foreginers call this glorius city Florence.

    Now, to say anything exciting about Firenze that hasn't been said Ad Nauseam already simply isn't
    possible. Too many strikingly bright people have lived here, worked here, or just visited, and they
    have all said what they though - what can I add? I am a fragile soul and frequently fall vicim
    to Stendhal Syndrome thus I must be careful with what I venture to visit; there is simply too
    much beauty in the world!

    For the sake of completeness, let me give you the briefest History of Firenze that is possible; it
    goes like this: Founded by a Roman of some fame named Julius Caesar in 59 BC, it lingered as a
    small town for about 700 years before it started to grow. This growth lasted about 300 years
    before it reallly took off. From about 1.000 AD until today it has been the most important city in
    Toscana, and was for a few hundered years the place to be in our part of the world. It is most
    famous for being the craddle of the Renaissance (English version of a Fresh version of the Italian
    word for re-birth): The dark and depressing Medieval values were pushed aside for more humanistic
    ones based on a re-birth of the art and science of Antiquity. The essence is this: The richest
    private family on earth (that is, not a King, but with money earned) lived in Firenze and decided
    that art and architecture were cool things to use their money on. The result is still there for us to see.
    And that is that.

    As usual I start with my cappuccino, panettone, and a glass of water from the spring we have here in the
    village. I plan by reading in Volume 3 (out of a total of 23) of Guida d'Italia made by Touring Club Italiano.
    No ADVrider in Italy can survive without it.
    The problem is that the best way to visit Firenze is to take the train. But, give me a break - the train?
    Today I am going to find out if is possible to visit Firenze with proper means of locomotion. That is, how
    close can I get to the main points of interest without getting off the bike. Or, as a last resort, getting
    off the bike, but not walking so far that I can't see the bike.

    [​IMG]

    The Good Old Days was mostly old, not so good. The need for city walls is a stark remined of war,
    slaugther, and general unpleasentness. Here you can see Bamsefar in front of Porta Romana; the
    gate at the Southern end of the city walls. From here the road went to....Roma (don't they all?).
    The gate is simply enormous! Built in 1372.

    [​IMG]

    I enter Firenze through the Porta Romana. Inside the city walls the streets are really narrow, and the traffic suffocating.
    But we are here for the culture, so we'll just have to endure. First stop inside is Palazzo Pitti. The problem is, as you
    can see on the picture above, that evrn set on 18mm I can't get more than about 1/3 of the palace on one picture.
    You'll just have to believe me when I say that it is huge, huge, huge. Suffice to say that Wikipedia describe it as
    a severe, almost forbidding, building.

    [​IMG]

    As you might know, it is not far from Palazzo Pitti to Down Town Firenze. You only pass over Ponte Vecchio, and there you are.
    We mere mortals we walk accross the bridge while the super, super rich simply have their architect Vasari build corridor well above
    the bridge. It is the Vasari corridor you see above the bridge and on the right bank of the river, where it enters Uffici. And Uffici is
    where the offices were (and why the word office means, well, office). A few words on Ponte Vecchio: The Romans used to have
    a bridge here. Whan you see is a "new" version built in 1354. I couldn't get the bike on this picture as I had to park on teh other
    side of the street. If you look at a map of Firenze you'll see that in order to get from Palazzio Pitti to where this picture was taken,
    I was just a few meters away from the bridge. But there were not only one, but three police cars parked at the entrance of the
    bridge, and is it was forbidden to etop I thought that parking might have been too much even for Italian standards.

    Why, you might ask, are he talking about these things? I do because if you decide to travel to Firenze you'll end up bying a guide
    book. And it will ist a few things just have to see. Among them you'll find the city walls, Palazzo Pitti, and Ponte Vecchio. Now
    you know you can get there by bike.

    [​IMG]

    But we must visit one more tower from the city walls (notice Bamsefar!) before we head up ona hill to try to
    get a better view of the whole thing.

    [​IMG]

    From Piazzale Michelangelo you can see the whole city. From the left we see Ponte Vecchio, then the tower of Palazzo di
    Signora, and finally the Doumo (Cathedral). Notice that there is a copy of David just there on teh piazza; this is important
    for reasons to be explained in a little while.

    Visiting Firenze without making sure you are stunned by the Doumo is simply impossible. Firenze is the Duomo. With the
    arges free-standing coupola build since Roman times. And that without scaffolding (look at it and reflect on that for a
    moment!). But can we get there on the bike?

    [​IMG]

    Indeed we can. And rather close by I would say!

    But now to the disappointment: David. Michelangelo's David is perhaps the World's most famous pice of art.
    But, alas, I was not able to get there (that is, to Piazza della Signora outside Palazzo Vecchio) on my bike.
    Argh :(: I hope some locals can give me some hints!

    [​IMG]

    Summing up: Without getting off the bike you can safely visit Firenze as part of a larger Giro Toscana. You'll be able to
    see the city walls, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vacchio, panorama of the whole city (and a copy of David!), and the Duomo
    close up. But it is annoying with David - on the way home I find some comfort in cake and caffe americano.

    Finally, some Bike Porn. Naked bike poses for the photographer, in Chianti, as the sun sets. The wines do look more
    inviting when green, but Chianti is always beautiful so I just had to stop and snap this last one.

    [​IMG]


    Thank you for joining.

    Edit: Map is here.

    [TaSK]
    #34
  15. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    :clap
    Excellent !
    We'll be in Firenze soooooon ;)
    Some thoughts after reading you.
    I think I noticed that the name "Florence" is nearer to the original than Firenze. I believe it was Florentia. But it's a matter of spoken language. I mean how word spelling become when spoken.
    Look at how people from veneto say città.. more like zittà. quite normal Venice is Venezia.
    Rinascimiento. Renaissance. you mean French I suppose instead of Fresh. ;)
    About the tower with scala, I'm interested ! Where is it ?
    The Piazzale Michelangelo is a great posto ! Thank you, we'll try to find it !

    grazie.
    /thierry
    #35
  16. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    I added the map at the end of the Firenze story; you'll find all the photos carefully placed there.

    [TaSK]
    #36
  17. Joyseeker

    Joyseeker a biking sweetie

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    Surrey, UK
    tagesk

    you eat like mouse and i hope you get one of these for xmas. :evil

    just kidding .... enjoyed the adventure. :norton
    #37
  18. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    indeed ! perfect. :clap
    Grazie Mille, Signore TaSK.
    /thierry
    #38
  19. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
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    3,231
    Location:
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    (Today's map is here.)

    [​IMG]

    While I read and plan what to serve with the different courses during Christmas dinner, I realize that the sun i shining particularly well today, that the sky is particularly blue, no wind, the lemons are soon ripe, and what not - I simply can't work indoors today. What I need is an excuse of some kind.....I got it:

    - Listen my dear, I need to pop out a minute.
    - Where are you going - you have your riding gear on?
    -
    Eh, I'll need to pick up those two bearings at the dealer
    - We can do that tomorrow on the general shopping spree!
    - Eh, but I also have this friend Over There, and his grandpartens came from just over the hill here. I've promised to pop over and take some pictures. Today, I promised to do it today. Can't be posponed; his grandfather is very ill and he has promised to show him a picture before he dies. Will only take a minute.
    - Have you decided on the wines?
    - Eh, yeah, sure. We'll have red.
    - You won't be long, remember that we.......
    - Eh, yeah, sure, be right back.

    First I ride down to my dealer and pick up two new bearings (discussed here). They set me back a whopping 56 euro :huh Then I rode North to San Giuliano Terme and over the hill to Santa Maria del Giudice.

    The village has two parts, the new and the old. I start in the old part, outside the church. This one is about 1.000 years old. The whole front is in the shadows, but by (refraining from) taking a sigarillo I pass twenty minutes, and there is sun. White marble from the quarries in San Giuliano Terme; the same as has been used in parts of the great Cathedral in Pisa. No sun on the the bike, though. It is quiet here, just as I expect it to be outside an old church in rural Italy.

    [​IMG]


    After a while I ride over to Pieve Nouve (the new village or new church, depending on context) a few hundred meters away. The church is much newer - completely rebuilt in 1499 (fells like yesterday around here). Five cars are parked in front so I fail to get a nice picture. Instead I took one of the narrow street leading up to the church just as an old lady bicycled into it. I like that one.

    [​IMG]

    Two hours have passed, and it is time for some lunch. On the city square there is one of the million marble status with an angel holding a fallen soldior. I park and go inside the tiny allementari there; you see it behind the bike on the picture below. I'm 202 cm (about 6'8") and that creates some commotion; they call outisde and the tiny store filles up by villagers coming to take a look this Cyclop that towers inside the shop.

    I tell my story about this friend whose granparents came from here. But, alas, not do I know when they left, and not do I know their names. I must judge on dozens of suggestions, but I politely tell them that I don't know over and over again. An old lady says "But, how can we help if he doesn't know their names?". Another suggests fetching Antonio - he is 92 and remembers everything. And so on, and so on, and so on.
    Finally it calmes down, and I can ask if they could make me a panino - pane integrale per favore with some prociutto and pecorino stagionata.


    [​IMG]

    When I was sitting there in the sun, on white marble, outside a small allementari in Santa Maria del Giudice I thought that this was actually quite nice. In fact so nice that I might consider doing it again.

    So here is the deal: If you, your paretns or grandparents come from somewhere in Toscana, I will offer to go there and feel what the place is like today, and write it up here.
    It might mean that I will have to go all over Toscana just to sit inthe sun and enjoy a fresh panino, but somone has to do all the dirty work around here.

    Who's next?

    Thank you for joining!

    [TaSK]
    #39
  20. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

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    :eek1
    Indeed, quite tall for Italia !
    I wonder how it would come if you go to Sicilia ! :D

    :roflcarissimo bastardo.......:clap

    Ah, the map. perfect ! you should work in the tourism business ! ;)
    Many kudos for sharing.
    /thierry
    #40