August 1, 2017


This past May and June I managed to tick off an important point on my bucket list.
Touring Italy with my wife on my trusty '81 Moto Guzzi G5.
We kind of started last year on a mini tour through North Italy. 10 days. 10 days of rain. Beautiful places, but it didn't feel like the real thing.
This year was different. I planned a 3 weeks tour starting from my home town of Bozen, then Salsomaggiore Terme near Parma, the famous and scenic Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence (including the Italian MotoGP at Mugello nearby), Argentario, Rome, Assisi and San Marino.
Amazingly, we had 3 full weeks of constant sunshine! I guess it was a reward for last year's crap weather.

After a little test run around the Alps, we were ready for the big adventure.

First stop: Salsomaggiore Terme, once famous for hosting the Miss Italia beauty contest, is now a peaceful little town where pensioners enjoy thermal cures and relaxation.
Memorable: We went to a little osteria where we had one of the best meals of the whole trip. Torta Fritta, a deep fried pizza dough with a selection of ham and gorgonzola cheese. DIVINE!

Also memorable: The lovely couple we stayed with, Savina and her husband Pino. LINK
At this point I should mention that all our stays were booked with, which I used for the first time on this trip. Very happy with the experience.

This used to be Sophia Loren's house...

On the way to Passo della Cisa. I heard a lot about it in biker circles, but to be honest, I wasn't very impressed by it.

Our B&B near the Cinque Terre, Casa Serenella at Valle di Pino

The excursions around the scenic villages in the natural park of the Cinque Terre were really fantastic.

Some results of bad planning going on here

On the way from Cinque Terre to Pisa, by way of the Garfagnana valley. Very pleasant roads and judging from the picture, Poopae agrees.

Unmistakable Italian landmark

Day excursion to the ancient medieval town of Volterra.

A Roman water cistern
 Florence, here we come!

5 days in Florence were not nearly enough to see all the amazing art available there. We did what we could, visiting the Uffizi Museum, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Basilica.

A face only a mother could love...

Florence at sunset, seen from Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence, seen from the Palazzo Vecchio 

The whole timetable for the Guzzitaly Tour was planned around one single event: The MotoGP race at Mugello, which is about 50km from Florence. It was my first live MotoGP race and I was obviously very excited. I really hoped for Rossi to win or at least be on the podium, but such is life.
For me, it was one of those bucket list events and I'm glad I've experienced it, but in the end I think I rather watch a full race on TV. Cheaper too...

After the race there was a mass exodus. Thousands of people leaving at the same time, painfully slow. We opted to wait for 2 hours until the roads would clear.

On the way to the Argentario, we stopped at another medieval village called San Gimingnano.

My absolute favourite stretch of road of the whole trip! From Colle di Val D'Elsa to Montemassi.
No traffic, perfect tarmac, wonderful views...I couldn't stop...Someone didn't quite enjoy it like I did though...

Porto Santo Stefano, Argentario
And then the mighty Rome!

Sneaky shots inside the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum. Taking photographs is forbidden, but damage done.

The exit at the Vatican Museum

Saint Peter's

Spotted, a fellow Guzzista in the center of Rome

The Pantheon

Fontana di Trevi

Some church in Rome. Love this pic

Saint Peter's
 After 5 days of intense walking and sightseeing in Rome it was time to move on. Next stop: Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis.

A diabetic's worst nightmare

Spotted: Cafe Racer in Assisi
 The road leading from Assisi to San Marino was scenic yes, but a nightmare of potholes.

San Marino was really impressive. Especially the towers on the Mount Titan, where you have a 360% view and can see as far as Rimini and the Adriatic Sea. And the history there is fascinating. Check it out here:

Yes, that's a football field straight down there!

These are the last pictures of the 3 week trip through Italy. In reality, we had planned to stay one more night around Ferrara, but as we rode through the soul-crushing, boring straights of the Pianura Padana plains, I got so depressed that I decided to ride the 400km straight home.

Hopefully, next year we can explore the South of Italy. If we do, you'll read about it here. :-)

Safe rides everyone!

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