Doc does Tuscany

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Docbru, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    After reading Tage's 'Riding in Tuscany' thread (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291799) for several years, it was time to head to Tuscany myself to see what all the fuss was about. I knew I couldn't do a trip like that without taking my wife, Sandy, along. She isn't quite as keen on riding as I am and was reluctant to spend 2 weeks on the back of a bike as I explored lean angles and traction coefficients. So, we reached a compromise: we would rent a car for the first two weeks, then she would fly home and I would spend another week on a bike. I can work with that.:evil
    So, this report will include an abbreviated opening section on our first two weeks together in this:[​IMG]


    We had been saving our points for a few years and since Toronto to Rome was about an 8-9 hour flight, we thought we'd treat ourselves and fly 'up front':[​IMG]

    It really does spoil you. It's great to be able to lay flat and get some real sleep:
    [​IMG]

    It was a great flight and we flew over Monaco on our way to Rome:
    [​IMG]

    We picked up the Mazda MX-5 at the Fiumicino Airport and headed north. Our first night was spent in Scansano, a small hill town a few hours north of Rome. We had our first of many great pizzas here. Nice thin crust, simple, fresh toppings:[​IMG]

    We also indulged in lots of 'dolce' on this trip:
    [​IMG]

    And of course, a bit of this:

    [​IMG]

    We found the house wines to be good and cheap; usually 6-10 Euros for a litre.
    The next morning we got up late. Probably a combination of the jet-lag and the fact that the shutters on our room let in no light at all. We missed breakfast but at check-out, the desk clerk asked if we wanted cafe and he quickly whipped up a couple of cappuccinos and a few cookies. Very helpful and civilized:
    [​IMG]


    On our way to Florence (Firenze), we stopped at the roofless Abbey at San Galgano:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Our first stereotypical Tuscan scene: the cypress-lined lane leading to the hilltop villa surrounded by vineyards and olive groves:
    [​IMG]

    Next stop: Firenze.

    #1
  2. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Florence was great, in so much as, if you can't be riding, you might as well be looking at great art...



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ...and eating great food...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    After 4 days in Florence we headed west to Manarola, one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre. En route we visited this:
    [​IMG]


    We had a great room in Manarola over-looking the sea...


    [​IMG]


    We did a nice hike...


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    ..and of course, had more great food...


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We left Manarola and headed to Cortona where we had a house rented for a week. On the way we got a chance to visit this old marble quarry which we had missed a few days earlier due to fog.



    [​IMG]



    The house on the outskirts of Cortona was nice...



    [​IMG]



    ...and we had a good week relaxing...


    [​IMG]




    ...exploring the town...



    [​IMG]



    ...the surrounding countryside...


    [​IMG]



    ...and doing some day-trips to nearby hill towns like Montalcino where we did a winery tour...




    [​IMG]



    After a week of relaxing and more of this...




    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    ...we headed back to Rome...


    [​IMG]



    Next...picking up the bike.
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,982
    Doc.. you sure now how to eat!! Great ride is planned, looking forward to seeing your Tuscany report :thumb
    #3
  4. DELTATANGO

    DELTATANGO Motorcyclist and Dog Walk

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    17,985
    Location:
    Alabama
    Your ride report is too civilized.

    Add some water crossings and some naked Italian women and it will be OK.

    Thanks,

    D.T.
    #4
  5. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Tango,

    Funny you should use the word 'civilized'. We toasted to 'civilization' many times on this trip. I realize this 'adventure' isn't as dirty as some, but it was an adventure none the less; especially carving it up with the traffic in Rome like a local; wooohooo!!!
    #5
  6. DELTATANGO

    DELTATANGO Motorcyclist and Dog Walk

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    17,985
    Location:
    Alabama
    :thumb I liked your report.

    Did the Italians invent pizza or did we? I've heard it both ways.
    #6
  7. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I picked up the bike, the new Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring, from CIMT (http://www.cimt.it/rome_rental_location.htm) in Rome. Francesco is great to deal with. He and Gianluca are very keen riders and have lots of good advice on where to ride in Italy. They do tours but 75% of their business is rentals.

    My friend Dave was supposed to join me for the ride but he picked up some kind of bug and got quite sick. He hung around the hotel in Rome for a few days hoping he would recover enough to join me later but instead he ended up flying home.

    So it ended up being a solo ride. I don't mind riding alone; there are advantages. Generally, the bigger a group gets, the less riding you do so in a group of 1, I covered a lot of ground.

    It was raining a little as I left Rome so I jumped on a highway to get me out of the city and headed north to Vetralla. The roads soon got interesting:

    [​IMG]




    I stopped in Pitigliano for a break. It's quite an impressive walled hill town:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]



    I continued north and went up over Monte Amiata...


    [​IMG]



    ...through the fog...

    [​IMG]




    ...and generally challenging conditions...




    [​IMG]




    I was appreciating all the electronics on the Multistrada: ABS and traction control especially.


    The sun finally broke through late in the afternoon and I had some dry road on the way to Pienza:


    [​IMG]


    These two bikes were parked outside the small restaurant/auberge where I stayed in Pienza. I'm not sure but I think they were from Germany:
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    At this point, there was still a possibility of Dave joining me so I planned to do a loop and come back here the next night. The next day was dry and sunny:


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    I considered going into San Gimignano but when I saw 5 buses parked outside of town I figured I'd rather be riding than doing the tourist thing. San Gimignano from a distance:

    [​IMG]


    There are endless photo ops in Tuscany:


    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    I even managed to find some gravel roads to test out the Multistrada's 'Enduro' settings:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Another of the seemingly endless number of hill towns:


    [​IMG]


    The narrowest 'street' I found:



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]



    The Mediterranean in the distance and what I think is a nuke plant in the foreground:


    [​IMG]




    Next: a closer look at Pienza.
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,982
    Wow!! Outstanding ride, report and pics!! Thanks for sharing the beauty of Toscana! :thumb
    #8
  9. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,553
    Really nice pics.
    BTW, that in last pic the condenser towers of Geothermal power station , no nuclear power stations in Italy now.

    How was the Multi to ride?
    #9
  10. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    GiorgioXT- thanks for the clarification on the Geoplant. That makes sense as there was a distinct smell of sulfur in this area.

    The Mulitistrada was excellent. Basically a comfortable Superbike. It's the fastest twin I've ever ridden; power about equal to my first-generation R1. It has the expected low-end grunt and mid-range torque of a large displacement twin but also a tremendous top-end rush from 6-9,000 rpm. I usually short-shifted it but when the road opened up a bit (which was rare) or I really wanted to rip, it had a big top-end. The brakes were great; the suspension was excellent as well. The riding position suited me well and the seat was comfortable enough for nine-hour days. The 4 different riding modes-sport, touring, urban, enduro- were fun to play with as well. I left Rome on brand new tires in the wet so the softer power in the urban mode was good. The enduro mode allowed for a little bit of wheelspin in the gravel. Whenever it was dry I rode in sport mode which 'tightened' everything up. I'd say the difference in power delivery between the different modes was more noticeable than the suspension changes. Is it worth the price? I don't know. I couldn't have had a better bike for one-up ripping around Italy but if it was my money, I think I'd still buy the Tiger 1050. I'd be worried about the long-term up-keep costs of the MTS and the complex electronics. Would I rent one again? Absolutely.
    #10
  11. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    834
    Outstanding :thumb
    #11
  12. kerryblue

    kerryblue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    CYVR
    Fantastic, thanks for posting
    #12
  13. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    425
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Stunning photos and thanks for the report. What camera/lens are you using? The shot of the dog and sheep is just amazing.
    #13
  14. Cooltours

    Cooltours Rider of passion

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,501
    Location:
    Zuerich, Switzerland
    We've been there in spring and that's how it looks if you go a bit closer. The rocks are yellow where the hot mist is comeing out of the earth.
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    RobBD- I guess you have a 'special appreciation' for sheep being from down under.:D As for the camera, nothing special: a Canon PowerShot SD770 IS Digital ELPH. I'm glad you're enjoying the RR.
    #15
  16. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I got back to Pienza in time to look around a little before dark. It was a nice little hill town; not too busy:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Some friends from Canada happened to be in Italy for a conference so I planned to meet them in Gubbio. The next morning it was raining so I got a late start and rode wet roads, making a short day of it. Thankfully this spot was well marked:


    [​IMG]

    I ran across a few spots like this. I guess that's the price you pay for building the roads where they do.
    I got a nice room right in the center of the old town at Hotel Relais Ducale:




    [​IMG]

    The back patio at the hotel:


    [​IMG]

    The rain just kept coming:



    [​IMG]


    Antique espresso maker:


    [​IMG]


    Next: from Gubbio to Pisa.
    #16
  17. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I had been reading Tage's thread on here for a few years- http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291799 -and wanted to meet him in person. I have enjoyed his thread and gleaned lots of good information from it on where to ride and what to see in Italy, especially Tuscany. We arranged to meet and I was to have dinner with Tage and his wife, Sissel.
    The morning I left Gubbio was a little misty again but not raining. I headed north so I could swing around Florence and head over to near Pisa. Some views along the way:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    More 'Roman Rubble':



    [​IMG]




    Tage and Sissel have a few rooms that they rent out but they were full so they sent me down the hill to their friends' B & B Agrotourismo:



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I walked around Calci a little before dinner:

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]



    Tage and Sissel:

    [​IMG]


    Nice folks. Check out their business here: http://www.sitoscana.com/intro_eng.htm

    They had me try this nice dessert wine (after the Brunello, the Amarone and the 4-course dinner of course:


    [​IMG]


    Next: The Coast
    #17
  18. Docbru

    Docbru Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I had to be back in Rome in a day and a half so I headed south from Calci. There's lots of good riding in this area. If you zoom in on Google maps I tended to ride the 'white' roads.
    The only straight road in Tuscany, possibly Italy:




    [​IMG]



    I was headed to Orbetello on the coast to leave myself a short day back into Rome. I found a great spot right on the water in Porto Santo Stefano:


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    There were lots of fishing boats bringing in their catch:



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    The local fish market:



    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]


    Needless to say, seafood was on the menu tonight:



    [​IMG]






    And of course, dolce....


    [​IMG]




    ...and cafe:



    [​IMG]



    I was back in Rome to drop off the bike by noon the next day. Had one last look around Rome and ran across this:



    [​IMG]




    so I popped in to pay my respects:



    [​IMG]




    One last look at the Coliseum:



    [​IMG]



    Going west over the Atlantic:



    [​IMG]




    Heading back into Toronto:


    [​IMG]





    The end.

















    (If you are a glutton for punishment and want to look at the entire photo gallery for this trip, click on 'Italy 2010' here: https://docbru.smugmug.com/)
    #18
  19. kerryblue

    kerryblue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    CYVR
    Thanks for posting that was great.
    Cheers
    #19
  20. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2001
    Oddometer:
    6,356
    Location:
    Great White North
    Wow, you bring back memories - THANKS

    I also rented a Duc from CIMT in Roma a few years back, met a business associate in Firenze, he toured with me for a few days and then cut me loose for the rest of the week as I wandered the goat paths.

    [​IMG]

    DW
    #20