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  #1  
Old 9 Dec 2007
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Italy

I am planning a two week trip down into Italy next summer, some time around June July.

We hope to end up at Lake Garda for a four to five day stay, riding down through france via the tunnel.

Any advice / good small hotels to stay in on the way down, places to see and most important any major things I need to know regarding Italy ?.

Cheers.
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  #2  
Old 9 Dec 2007
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Me too!

I'm planning a similar trip around the same time, but probably going via Geneva.

Sorry to piggyback on your post, but I'm looking for the same advice, hotels, good routes etc.

Maybe I'll see you on the road!

Cheers.
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  #3  
Old 9 Dec 2007
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Hi,

I'm currently in Italy and Loving it just make sure you lose some weight before you leave home, the foods making me fat I've gone up a pants size due to the cooking.

Don't worry about hotels they are everywhere and there is always someone with a cheap spare room in every village, just turn up at a bar looking tired order a drink and ask the barman (Don't forget to order the drink) and by the time you have finished the tasty beverage you will have someplace to stay for the night.

As for the routes choose any route that has twisty mountain roads, the excitement is worth the extra fuel consumption.
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  #4  
Old 10 Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
I'm planning a similar trip around the same time, but probably going via Geneva.

Sorry to piggyback on your post, but I'm looking for the same advice, hotels, good routes etc.

Maybe I'll see you on the road!

Cheers.
Same here, probably going in early June. Previously toured northern Italy by hire car but this will be my first time in Italy on a bike. I'm taking the Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry and probably staying near the Nurburgring for my first night.

I've got two weeks to play with so am fairly flexible. Berchetsgaden, the Grossglockner, Cortina, Trento and the Monte Bondone hillclimb route is the way into Italy I'm looking at, and returning via Timmelsjoch, the German Alpine Road, Lake Constance, the Black Forest and the Nurburgring.

Riva del Garda is one my favourite places. The youth hostel is very friendly and just off the main square in the historic centre of the town. Think I paid 18 euros/night for bed + breakfast when I was there in June 2006. Obviously, there's a few tourists though nowhere near as bad as Sirmione which is overun with coach parties. Salo is also very picturesque.

Good point about asking in bars. Stopped late at night to ask directions at a bar attached to a petrol station, just outside of Bassano del Grappa. The girl who ran the bar and her friends showed me to a hotel and invited me to their bbq. Yes, you read that right, a bbq in a petrol station! The food, drink and general hospitality in northern Italy is great.

Loads of car and bike museums in this part of the world. The Mille Miglia museum, just outside of Brescia is worth a look if you like old cars and historic racing, as is the Alfa Romeo museum just outside of Milan. Monza had an exhibition while I was there with some fantastic historic racing cars and bikes, including a Moto-Guzzi V8. Moto-Guzzi's own museum is at Mandello del Lario on Lake Como and the Bonfanti museum is just outside Bassano del Grappa. If you travel further south and want to see the Ducati museum, Bologna is a couple of hours from Riva at mostly legal speeds. The Galleria Ferrari is not too far from there but most of the cars are over-restored and the whole place is just a little too "touristy" for my liking. Saw a few prototypes running about so have your camera ready. The Italian national motorcycle museum is in Rimini though I haven't visited that one.

I'd buy the Michelin Regional Map No.562 for northern Italy. Any road that looks interesting on that map probably will be. Last time, I was travelling alone and managed to clock up quite a lot of mileage getting lost, so I wouldn't consider doing it again without sat-nav. Drivers in Italy aren't quite as mad as the reputation, well not until you start heading a bit further south anyway, i.e. Bologna in rush hour!
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  #5  
Old 10 Dec 2007
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Welcome to Italy! finally a topic I am well prepared on...

... finally a topic I am well prepared on...

Hello Wishfull Traveller and welcome to Italy,

as suggested by Juddadredd, I would avoid big towns in summer unless you are interested in museums and monuments, they are just too hot and boring.

The Garda Lake (Lago di Garda) is very nice, the small village Sirmione on the peninsula (south side of the lake) is great with plenty of small cheap family-run hotels.

I also reccommend a ride through Tuscany up&down the hills of the Chianti area: nice roads, friendly people, excellent food and superb wine, just stay in the countryside and enjoy! (although u may want to visit Florence and the tower of Pisa while you are there).

Not too far there is the Cinque Terre area which is a nice ride too, it's between Liguria and Tuscany, again: amazing scenery and camping a go-go.

Hopping to the eastern side of Italy you can ride through Umbria to avoid the summer heat: hills, small mountains, villages, (plenty of history there) and, again, incredible food then reach the east coast (Marche region) and head north toward Emilia Romagna and Veneto, avoid the flat countryside of these last two regions: it's quite boring and uninteresting.

Of course you cannot miss Venice - if you havent been already - then relax a couple of days on the beach in Jesolo Lido (very hot beaches and very hot nightlife there!).
By the way there is a small boat departing from Jesolo every hour or so to Venice, it stops right at St Mark's Square, much better this way than coming by ugly railway, or worse, bus and walk to The Square. It is about 40 mins ride if I remember correctly.

That's probably 10 days of the two weeks of yours... gone very quickly...

Points to note:
-Accommodation is widely available everywhere from cheap to luxury, 40 euro is the average price I would expect to pay for a decent double room. About camping I am not sure but there is a yearly pubblication you can buy at almost any newsagent with the list of ALL campings in Italy along with prices, addresses, facilities, ratings, phone numbers etc... it looks like a thick railways timetables book, I cant remember the name now but it's not a nice book with pictures for turists to buy, it really looks like a timetable logbook. If you buy it as soon as you enter Italy it is worth the money if you plan to camp for a bit, also remember that free-camping in Italy is not usually tolerated, authorities also get a bit funny about free camping because of the fires that usually destroy big chunks of forests in Italy every summer.

-There are zillions of hidden speed-cameras in Italy attended by the police, if you get just a flash without being stopped I wouldt worry too much, it's been two years since I go to Italy to visit my family with my UK registered bike have been done all sort of things for a few weeks and never had anything sent back home to London.
But if you get stopped they dont laugh at your jokes...

Crusty: I would not enter Italy from France through Ventimiglia-Genova in the summer, it's a mess, being on a bike will help a lot but the road is twisty and very very busy (and there is only one road).
If you are coming from Lyon-Grenoble-Gap I would suggets not to miss the Provence: try the road that goes through Barcelonnette and follow it until Col De Larche then you will be in Italy. From this point head toward Cuneo etc.

Juddadredd by the way: what are you doing in Italy in this miserable weather???? just joking: I will be leaving for Turkey in 3 weeks... wish me good luck.

Any question I am here to help.

alex - from Venice
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Last edited by alexpezzi; 13 Dec 2007 at 02:05.
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  #6  
Old 17 Dec 2007
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Some great stuff here, thanks guys.

Lots of food for thought and got me wishing I was there now, not stuck here in the freezer!

Thanks again, I may come back for more nearer the time.
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  #7  
Old 1 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wishfull traveller View Post
We hope to end up at Lake Garda for a four to five day stay.

Any advice / good small hotels to stay in on the way down, places to see and most important any major things I need to know regarding Italy?
I've stayed at Hotel Panorama in Pregasina. Thats high above the lake just SW of Riva.

You won't find big town night-life there, but it is quiet and free of traffic noise and exhaust fumes.
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  #8  
Old 6 Jan 2008
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Hi,
try this:Bed & Breakfast Cascina le Rose
is near Lago di Garda and it is very nice.
Mihai
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  #9  
Old 7 Jan 2008
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Cool Holiday time

Just remember, July's holiday time. But if you can't find any accommodation at Lago di Garda try somewhere in the mountains heading westwards to Lago di Ledro.

@ Craig, if you head for Berchtesgarden, drop me a note. I'm living just south of Munich near the motorway to Salzburg. If I'm not on the road, I'm at home ;-)

Hans
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  #10  
Old 10 Jan 2008
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Cheers mate, will do. Just been looking at the details for the HU Meeting near Heidelberg. Was already planning to head into Germany near enough that time. Just need to arrange a couple of extra days off work and hopefully see some of you there.

Another question about Italy: Does anyone know or have a link to a website with reliable, up to date information on exact dates of winter closures for mountain passes in the Dolomites? Are the figures quoted on road maps, e.g. 10-6, inclusive of the month they open, i.e. 31st June, or would they be re-open on the 1st of the month indicated. I hope that makes sense.

I've been looking at one website which says the Stelvio opens late June unless the Giro d' Italia is passing through in late May in which case the road opens early. This is the case for the Giro 2008 so the question is, would the pass be open straight after the event?
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  #11  
Old 10 Jan 2008
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If your...

coming to Italy via France, I would go to Lago di Como and/or Lago Maggiore (possibly via Val d´Aosta, near Mont Blanc)... theyre a bit similar to Lago di Garda, but I think theyre even more beautiful, and there´s plenty to do and see around both lakes (and also Lago di Lugano between them). Doesnt hurt that the whole area is filled with wonderful roads, either! Make sure you have a very good & detailed map or GPS in order to find the best of them, and you also need plenty of time. Its a paradise for motorbiking.

Another place I fell in love with: Costa Amalfitana, just south of Naples. But my experience from there is now 11 years old, might´ve changed a lot. South is very different from the north.

Italy is expensive these days, though. But still worth going, though I cannot afford to do that as much as I used to.
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  #12  
Old 10 Jan 2008
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig76 View Post
Cheers mate, will do. Just been looking at the details for the HU Meeting near Heidelberg. Was already planning to head into Germany near enough that time. Just need to arrange a couple of extra days off work and hopefully see some of you there.

Cool, I'm planning to go as well. To find me, look for a black R80GS with alu panniers, yellow fork, HPN tank and "M-RJ 36" rego for Munich.
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  #13  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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I went to Northern Italy in 2006 and toured by hire car from Bergamo airport. It wasn't as expensive as I expected it to be, but then I try to stay away from the regular tourist crowd. I ended up going on my own so had no-one to read the map while I drove and clocked up a lot of miles just getting lost. Italian road planners seem to like their one-way systems. Also seems to be a lot of advertising mixed up with official road signs which can be confusing till you get used to it. I wouldn't even consider doing it again without GPS.

Another question I have is on vignettes for Austria, Switzerland, etc in order to get into Italy. I'm guessing they're available from border crossings in Switzerland but what about Austria if there's no custom posts now. What roads can I use before I need to buy one?

Vaufi, I've got a green/black Kawasaki ZX6-R on UK plates. So I'll be the one getting stuck in the mud on the campsite.
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  #14  
Old 12 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig76 View Post
Another question I have is on vignettes for Austria, Switzerland, etc in order to get into Italy. I'm guessing they're available from border crossings in Switzerland but what about Austria if there's no custom posts now.
Be it Switzerland or Austria, you can get the vignettes at gas stations and money exchange kiosks at and near the borders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig76 View Post
What roads can I use before I need to buy one?
You can use all roads expcept autobahns or what you might call a motorway.

And even though you may have an autobahn vignette, you will still need to pay "extra" on certain roads even though they're an autobahn. For example, the A13 between Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass. I believe I paid €8 extra on that stretch of road for my motorcycle last summer.

In France and Italy, you pay to use the autoroutes/autostradas by paying at toll booths.
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Last edited by Global Rider; 12 Jan 2008 at 03:40.
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  #15  
Old 13 Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Global Rider View Post
Be it Switzerland or Austria, you can get the vignettes at gas stations and money exchange kiosks at and near the borders.
Thanks for that. I'm guessing Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the same.
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