A loop of Southern Italy…
One of my goals with the-ride was to see a bit of southern Italy as, even though I have been in Italy a fair few times earlier, I have only been in the northern parts before. I think it is fair to say that I did manage to see a fair bit, covering more than 2,500 kilometers along both the eastern and western coasts, and cutting across the country twice.
There is so much to see in this part of Italy and there was no way that I was going to be able to see it all. There is so much history, along with great scenery and miles and miles of brilliant small country roads to explore.
Traveling off-season proved to be both good and bad. During the first 2-3 weeks along the eastern coast, I had unseasonably warm weather and it was very easy to find good, cheap accommodation as the tourist season was well and truly over. It also meant that a lot of tourist attractions were closed, but as I don’t generally do too much “tourist” stuff, preferring to just hang about on the streets and get a feel for “ordinary” life, that did not matter to me.
Unfortunately, the western part of my ride was not as lucky, with a lot of rain. Very disappointing, as this part was very scenic and I can only imagine what it would have been like in better weather.
Because of the weather, and the availability of lots of reasonably cheap accommodation, I did not do nearly enough camping, something that I sort of regret. But, that’s just how it worked out this time…
There were plenty of highlights, with the best, in no particular order, being:
Chioggia, a sort of mini Venice.
The Gargano National Park. Check out this video to see what I mean:
The 15 kilometer downhill, switchback road leading down into Sapri.
The Amalfi coast, despite the weather.
Seeing the start of the 2 Volcanoes Sprint and cycling up Mt Vesuvius
Rome, there is so much to see and explore there, I will definitely be coming back.
All in all, I really enjoyed my ride around Italy, but there were 2 things I was less happy with.
One, it can get a bit expensive. Not much to do about that apart from being careful to avoid the usual tourist traps.
Two, Italians throw their rubbish everywhere. Riding along the road, it is not unusual to find all sorts of garbage littering the roadside. The worst thing is that nobody seems to care and there does not seem to be any cleanups going on. There is a very egotistic mindset to communal areas, and as long as your private area is clean, nobody cares about anything else. For a country that prides itself on having “style”, it goes to show just how shallow that style really is.
But I can highly recommend Italy as a bicycle touring destination, especially if you try to get here a bit earlier than I did. Ideally just after the tourist season, but before it gets colder and starts raining.