Cycling Vacation Tips in Italy

Last Year I've visited Italy. It's a special country with so many attractions that i don't know how to start write about my trip.

I don't like those trip reports like:"It was wonderful" or "Wow" and so on...so, let's go writing about this trip to Italy and please have a look to tell me if you find these tips useful.

Most tourists before start planning their trip usually ask:
* How do I carry a Bike in the trains?
* What are the top items to bring home?
* What are the best places to visit for adventure people?
* ...

Start with the Preparation

Adventure Travelers have different needs and requests in respect to the other "mass tourists" ;-)

A - Apply for your passport at least 3 to 4 months prior to your travel date.

B - Look into picking up travelers insurance and question your medical insurance about coverage while traveling to Italy.

C - Check and Confirm your flight, accomodation and customs.

D - Pack light. Casual outfits for sightseeing and daytime, and pack a few dressier outfits for dinning in the evenings.

E - Be sure to contact your tour company and confirm your itinerary, baggage transfers and meals

We were Bikers....

As Bikers we had other requests like knowing the type of terrain, the skill level of each bicycling day, weather conditions, what type of bike to carry with us and how to carry a bike on the Train.

We booked a tour with a local company that organized all train transfers etc... but if you travel independent here some suggestions about trains:

* Look for the bicycle logo on the side of the train
* In addition to your train ticket, you will need to purchase a ticket for the bike (3,50 €). The ticket is valid for 24 hours.
* You will be responsible for loading and unloading your bike.
* In small town stations the train stops only for a few minutes, so be ready with your bike to get off.

The website http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html has a good list of trains that cross Italy. (I suggest you to search for Eurostar)

What to Visit

During our trip we visited mostly Tuscany. In details we visited:

* Day 1: Florence - Start
* Day 2: Florence – Passo dei Pecorai - 32 km of biking
* Day 3: Passo dei Pecorai – Radda in Chianti - 41 km of biking
* Day 4: Radda in Chianti - Siena - 40 km of biking
* Day 5: Siena – Colle Val d’Elsa - 41 km of biking
* Day 6: Colle Val d’Elsa - Volterra - 40 km of biking
* Day 7: Volterra - Pisa - 58 km of biking
* Day 8: Pisa - End

All the tour was a 8 days self guided we started on 15 to 22 April of 2007 for a total of 252 km of bicycling.

To have a look on what we visited you can use Wikitravel.org

For those of You interested on inspiring ideas about Adventure Travel destinations in Italy, Trip Adventure.org gives a good list:

1. Walking in the Cinque Terre
2. Explore the national park of Abruzzi
3. Winter sports in Dolomites
4. Hiking the "vie ferrate" in the Dolomites
5. The grand canyon of Sardinia
6. The lake district in Lombardy
7. Biking the Gargano in Apulia
8. Conquest the Europe's Tallest Volcano, Mount Etna

Some things I've learned from this trip

* If you have to transfer your bike with you by train be sure:
o To buy a ticket for your bike
o To know which trains actually allow bikes
o To know which car the bike will go in
o Trains don't wait in stations for very long

* Breaking away from a group bike tour is the only way to see Italy!

* Take care of equipment to take with you
* Verify if there are bike services along the trip
* Verify if there are super markets along the trip
* Verify if you can put your bike in a garage
* Make sure that you drink enough water

That's all...hope I've been useful.

Thanks for reading.

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