Cycling the Italian Riviera to Rome

by Brett Seychell on August 25, 2012

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The Italian Riviera to Rome amps up the cycling difficulty a notch, but just one. You’ll get to tackle a few more ups and downs along the coast and if you’re unlucky the temperature can soar to 48°C! Horns and rapid hand gestures are used a lot more, but that could have been because Kimmi did a lot of cycling in her bikini top. The roads are definitely more dangerous though and the French respect for the bicycle vanishes the second your back wheel crosses the border. Wild camping is still cool but the challenge becomes just finding somewhere flat enough!

On the map below you can see our day by day track. My parents flew out from Melbourne for a visit so we spent a lot of time with them in Lucca, Rome and Sorrento.

 

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What we loved the most:

  • The route between San Remo and Lucca will forever be remembered for it’s hills. Up high into the mountains over the cliffs looking out to sea, then down to the towns in between. I don’t say it in a bad way, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, but just make sure you change your brake pads after France!
  • The vineyard tour from Chianti through Montepulciano is something special, and again the hills in between stand out loud in my mind. The scenery is beautiful and the vineyards are a lot lesser travelled and visited than those of France.
  • Lucca is a beautiful place to rest up for a while. It’s a little touristy for Italians, which makes it just perfect for us internationals!

What felt like grit in the chain:

  • At times, the heat was bordering on unbearable to cycle. Complete and utter exhaustion saw us take little naps in the shade during the day as we were almost falling asleep at the handle bars! Temperatures regularly hit the 40′s during July and August, so if that is your planned travel date, don’t change it, just bring more sun screen and remember to drink more water than wine.

What we didn’t but should’ve done:

  • We spent quite a bit of time with my parents in Italy and were riding against the clock, in between Lucca, Rome and Sorrento, to spend as much time as we could.  I hadn’t seen them for three years and wanted to salvage every available minute they had. If this wasn’t the case, I think we would have liked to have couch surfed a little. Just to get closer to the true Italian culture.

What’s it worth:

  • Bearing in mind that the accommodation in Lucca and Rome did not cost us anything and we wild camped quite a bit, we still managed to spend £54.21 per day over the 19 days in this leg of the trip, but that is between the two of us.

What’s worth sending home in a box:

  • I think it’s always worth buying a couple of local cookbooks from wherever you are in the world, to get the true authenticity of a country. So we did. But if we had more money, then we definitely would have bought a brass, bad ass, espresso machine. because waking up to an Italian style espresso or macchiato every day is a life worth living.
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TownKm'sNightsWhere we slept
San Remo751Wild Camp
Savona981Wild Camp (beach)
Rapallo921Hotel
Martinello701Wild Camp
Lucca838Apartment (with parents)
Castelfiorentina501Wild Camp
Chianti561Wild Camp
Asciano721Wild Camp
Montepulciano641Hotel
Bolsena Lake901Wild Camp
Rome1094Apartment (with parents)


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