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Have you been to Tuscany? Info needed


markgoodrich

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We're considering several options for a motorcycle trip next year. One is from a tour company which will base customers out of an "agriturismo", a rural guest house, with multiple options for guided or self-guided days. I know nothing of the area. The lodging is just south of Florence, and the daily rides are listed below. I'd like to know what the terrain is like, e.g., alp-like, sweepers, congested roads, etc. The idea is quite appealing, but I'm unsure of the riding environment. All the trips in the Alps stress things like the Stelvio Pass, which to my eyes looks like a lot of work at very low speeds, two up...but what do I know? Bupkus, as usual. The moto museums are another thing I don't really care about. As Whip loves to say, I'd rather ride than spectate.

 

1) Grand Tour of Chianti

2) Crete Senesi, Val d'Orcia and Montalcino

3) Metallifere Hills, Volterra and San Galgano

4) Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati museums

5) Casentino forrest passes

6) Abetone and Garfagnana

7) Pisa, Vespa museum and Cinque Terre

8) Cortona, Montepulciano and Lake Trasimeno

9) Eroica ride along the historical cycle racing ground around Siena. 50% tarmac 50% easy dirt roads

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The Stelvio is much oversold: not only it's not that great of a riding road but the view is not that much to write home about. Ascending and descending by the Umbrail Pass (through Switzerland) is better but hardly memorable stuff. And the famous Umbrail "dirt stretch" is really about 200 yards long amid otherwise spotless tarmac... I suspect they keep it there to make GS owners happy. ;) I rode it in the rain on my RT and hardly noticed it...

 

Tuscany... now. I've been there a few times. Mixed bag. Some roads are nice (Arezzo-Siena and Chianti for example) and during the week there's hardly a soul in sight. The others not so much: maintenance is carried out in leopard skin pattern and some roads have been pretty much abandoned for over a decade now.

Cinque Terre are not in Tuscany (just try telling the locals!) and can get really crowded.

 

But if you do care about riding, listen to me and head for Austria, France or Spain. Switzerland is not too shabby as well but it doesn't sport as many proper riding roads as these three. In Italy the best riding roads are mostly in Trentino: good stuff and outside the tourist season very little traffic.

 

If I had to pick one single country for a memorable riding experience, however, it'd be Spain.

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I have some four-wheel experience in Chianti, around Pisa, and en route to and from the Ferrari museum. Some of the roads around Chianti would be fun to ride, but they're relatively narrow, have low speed limits and are littered with speed enforcement cameras. I'd go for the wine, the food, the history, and the scenery, but I wouldn't consider any of those areas top notch in terms of the riding experience.

 

If you're focused on riding, more or less to the exclusion of Italy's other attractions, I'd head toward the Italian Alps. The Tuscany area is engaging, a fantastic place to vacation, but I think the real attraction there is the beauty of the area and the opportunity to taste that little slice of heaven by enjoying the culinary and artistic attributes of the region. A motorcycle would be a more entertaining conveyance than a cage, but that's about as far as I'd go in evaluating it as a motorcycling destination.

 

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Both your responses confirm my impression of the area. Mikko did the Edelweiss Alps deal this year and loved it, and Suzanne thinks that's a great idea. I prefer Spain, and there's a Pyrenees tour which starts and ends in Barcelona, one of the places I've always wanted to see, and gives us four days from the end to get to Bolzano for our next adventure.

 

Tuscany is off the radar now. Thanks.

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Both your responses confirm my impression of the area. Mikko did the Edelweiss Alps deal this year and loved it, and Suzanne thinks that's a great idea. I prefer Spain, and there's a Pyrenees tour which starts and ends in Barcelona, one of the places I've always wanted to see, and gives us four days from the end to get to Bolzano for our next adventure.

 

Tuscany is off the radar now. Thanks.

 

If it has the Puerto de las Coronas, the Coll de Cantò and the Coll de Boixols in it, it's well worth the price for those three roads alone.

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We're considering several options for a motorcycle trip next year. One is from a tour company which will base customers out of an "agriturismo", a rural guest house, with multiple options for guided or self-guided days. I know nothing of the area. The lodging is just south of Florence, and the daily rides are listed below. I'd like to know what the terrain is like, e.g., alp-like, sweepers, congested roads, etc. The idea is quite appealing, but I'm unsure of the riding environment. All the trips in the Alps stress things like the Stelvio Pass, which to my eyes looks like a lot of work at very low speeds, two up...but what do I know? Bupkus, as usual. The moto museums are another thing I don't really care about. As Whip loves to say, I'd rather ride than spectate.

 

1) Grand Tour of Chianti

2) Crete Senesi, Val d'Orcia and Montalcino

3) Metallifere Hills, Volterra and San Galgano

4) Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati museums

5) Casentino forrest passes

6) Abetone and Garfagnana

7) Pisa, Vespa museum and Cinque Terre

8) Cortona, Montepulciano and Lake Trasimeno

9) Eroica ride along the historical cycle racing ground around Siena. 50% tarmac 50% easy dirt roads

 

The areas around 3 were swarming with Ducatis and other sport bikes when we went through, but it was the area around 6 that really had us wishing we had bikes instead of a Golf. The main roads around 6 were congested when we were there, but we bailed and followed our noses off the main routes and were rewarded. If they do their job there is certainly potential.

 

Montalcino was one of our favorite stops.

 

If it were me, I'd rent the bike and spend nights in Lucca (favorite), Sienna, Cinqua Terre, etc. You will have a fair bit of plain riding and less time in these medieval city states basing from a single location.

 

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I think the Tuscany idea is kaput. I liked the agriturismo idea, but Spain is much more appealing, or the Austrian Alps, or Croatia etc. The one I like is this:

 

http://www.imtbike.com/tours/pyrenees-northern-spain/perfect-pyrenees/

 

Gets us all the way across the country and back, then we have four days to get to northern Italy via public transport.

 

It leaves out all the good roads... ;)

From La Seu d'Urgell both the Cantò and the Boixols are literally a stone throw away. It boggles the mind why they are not including them, given the proximity and quality, but throwing in bits of France which are pretty unremarkable (Bielsa... really?).

 

If you want to get from Barcelona to Northern Italy, board a flight: it's faster and, more critically, far cheaper. Spanish company Vueling has a direct flight from Barcelona to Verona which just fits the bill.

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I've ridden the coast from Barcelona to Toscana twice. I thought it was very nice. I also found several cities/towns in Toscana to be well worth a stop. Isn't life more than twisties in the alps? Yes, they are wonderful as well.

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I think the Tuscany idea is kaput. I liked the agriturismo idea, but Spain is much more appealing, or the Austrian Alps, or Croatia etc. The one I like is this:

 

http://www.imtbike.com/tours/pyrenees-northern-spain/perfect-pyrenees/

 

Gets us all the way across the country and back, then we have four days to get to northern Italy via public transport.

 

It leaves out all the good roads... ;)

From La Seu d'Urgell both the Cantò and the Boixols are literally a stone throw away. It boggles the mind why they are not including them, given the proximity and quality, but throwing in bits of France which are pretty unremarkable (Bielsa... really?).

 

If you want to get from Barcelona to Northern Italy, board a flight: it's faster and, more critically, far cheaper. Spanish company Vueling has a direct flight from Barcelona to Verona which just fits the bill.

 

Okay, let's turn this deal on its head, then, Kakugo. Here are the criteria:

 

We have a window of September 1-13. We have to be in Bolzano on the 14th.

 

Because we have limited time, a tour is a requirement. Edelweiss, IMT, CIMT, etc etc etc.

 

Pavement only.

 

Spectacular scenery, ditto food, ditto accommodations.

 

Tell us which one(s) to consider.

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I've ridden the coast from Barcelona to Toscana twice. I thought it was very nice. I also found several cities/towns in Toscana to be well worth a stop. Isn't life more than twisties in the alps? Yes, they are wonderful as well.

 

You obviously belong to a different nikaya than me... ;)

 

I ride to ride and extended stops just take time away from my main focus.

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I think the Tuscany idea is kaput. I liked the agriturismo idea, but Spain is much more appealing, or the Austrian Alps, or Croatia etc. The one I like is this:

 

http://www.imtbike.com/tours/pyrenees-northern-spain/perfect-pyrenees/

 

Gets us all the way across the country and back, then we have four days to get to northern Italy via public transport.

 

It leaves out all the good roads... ;)

From La Seu d'Urgell both the Cantò and the Boixols are literally a stone throw away. It boggles the mind why they are not including them, given the proximity and quality, but throwing in bits of France which are pretty unremarkable (Bielsa... really?).

 

If you want to get from Barcelona to Northern Italy, board a flight: it's faster and, more critically, far cheaper. Spanish company Vueling has a direct flight from Barcelona to Verona which just fits the bill.

 

Okay, let's turn this deal on its head, then, Kakugo. Here are the criteria:

 

We have a window of September 1-13. We have to be in Bolzano on the 14th.

 

Because we have limited time, a tour is a requirement. Edelweiss, IMT, CIMT, etc etc etc.

 

Pavement only.

 

Spectacular scenery, ditto food, ditto accommodations.

 

Tell us which one(s) to consider.

 

Post links of the tours you find and let's see what we can pick from.

No point in telling you "ride x road" if you cannot. ;)

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