Bicycle from Sicily, 1,400 miles, to northern Italy's Piedmont region in honor of Italy's Sesquicentennial (one hundred fiftieth anniversary). In part we'll trace the route of Giuseppe Garibaldi who in May 1860 gathered an army and sailed from Genoa to Marsala in Sicily eventually conquering the island. He then crossed the Strait of Messina with the help of the UK's Royal Navy and marched north taking Naples. We'll head north by bicycle towards Rome, where Garibaldi eventually surrendered all of his territorial gain to the Piedmontese. Our bicycling journey continues along the coast of Tuscany, and over the Apennine Mountains to Emilia Romagna. The finale of our ExpeditionPlus! bike tour comes with our arrival in Turin, designated the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the home of the House of Savoy, and the leader in uniting Italy under one flag. Along the way we'll learn about the unique features and customs of 9 of Italy's 20 regions as we pedal along quiet roads through country towns, medieval and renaissance castles and cities. Of course there will also be ample opportunities to sample some of each region's finest wines and foods. Join us for this special bicycling expedition.
Day 1: May 7: Arrive in Marsala, meet the group
Highlights: Benvenuti to the Italia 150 Expedition!We'll meet in Marsala, Sicily this afternoon to fit bikes and go for a test ride. Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in the port of Marsala on May 11, 1860 with his "thousand red shirts," and began the liberation of southern Italy from the Bourbon monarch in Naples. We'll enjoy a welcome drink with the mayor and tourism board members before dinner at the "trattoria Garibaldi" together.
Day 2: May 8: Bicycle the interior of Sicily
Highlights: Greek Ruins in Sicily, SegestaIt's national bike day in Italy today, and we've been asked to honor the city with our presence at the start line of their inaugural ride after our safety talk. We then depart toward Calatafimi and Segesta today then on to Alcamo. Calatafimi is the site of the first significant battle of Garibaldi and his red shirts against the Bourbon army. Segesta was home to one of the three indigenous people of Sicily who took up the Hellenic way of life and architecture. We'll have a chance to visit the ruins of this ancient city on our way to Alcamo. Dinner together this evening. Approximate Mileage: 65 km (40 miles)
Day 3: May 9: Bicycle to Alia
Highlights: Rock of BusambraOur route today takes us through vineyards and orchards first and then through pasture lands that have been grazed for thousands of years. We pedal through the evergreen oak forest of Ficuzza underneath the limestone massif of the "Rock of Busambra." Dinner together this evening. Approximate mileage: 100 km (62 miles)
Day 4: May 10: Pedal to Troina
Highlights: Spectacular landscapes of central SicilyWe pedal through the spectacular landscapes of central Sicily today on our way to Troina ("Truina" in Sicilian). Truina was a Greek town, a Roman town, and a central city throughout the history of Sicily including in July and August of 1943 when the allied forces pursued the German and Italian defenders here during their invasion to liberate Italy from the German occupation. Be sure and take a walk to the main square at the top of the town for great views of Mount Etna. Dinner together this evening. Approximate mileage 127 km (78 miles)
Day 5: May 11: Bicycle around Mount Etna
Highlights: Views of Mount Etna, Giardini Naxos,Our ride today takes us around the west and north side of Mount Etna with spectacular views the entire way. You'll want to stop for a late lunch to explore the Gorge of the Alcantara River cut deep in the basalt that flowed out of Mount Etna in ancient times. Approximate mileage 115 kms (71 miles)
Day 6: May 12: Taormina and Ferry across the Straight of Messina
Highlights: Roman Theater in Taormina, the mainlandWe pedal to nearby Taormina this morning for a view of Mount Etna from the Roman Theater and then we continue on to Messina where we catch a ferry to the mainland later this afternoon. We'll sleep in Calabria tonight in Villa San Giovanni. We'll have options for those who want to avoid the more busy sections of today's route. Approximate mileage 55 km (34 miles)
Day 7: May 13: Pedal to the coast of Calabria
Highlights: Two options today to rideYou have two choices today as we head north in Calabria. You can pedal into the rugged interior of Calabria with a climb up to the "Aspromonte," literally, "Bitter Mountain." Take your time on the climb and enjoy the long downhill to Gioia Tauro. Alternatively, avoid the climb and pedal along the coast through Bagnara Calabra and Palmi to Gioia Tauro. The two routes join here and continue on to Tropea, a delightful village on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Dinner is together tonight. Approximate mileage: Option 1 - 96 km (60 miles) Option 2 - 130 km (80 miles)
Day 8: May 14: Rest day on the beach
Highlights: TropeaThis is a rest day in Tropea. Take a swim, enjoy sitting in a seaside cafe and writing postcards to the friends at home! The Giro d'Italia happens to pass by Tropea today on its eighth stage from Sapri to Tropea (214 km total), so stay tuned for possible racer sightings!
Day 9: May 15: Bicycle the Toe of Italy
Highlights: Bicycle Calabria's mountainsWe follow the coast for a bit today and then head into the mountains of Calabria on the flank of the Piccola Sila (the "Little Sila"), one of four major limestone massifs that make up the mountains of Italy's "toe". Dinner together. Approximate mileage 88 km (55 miles)
Day 10: May 16: Bicycle to Cosenza
Highlights: Bicycle back to the beachOur ride today takes us through Cosenza, a provincial capital and major cultural and educational center in Calabria. We'll cross a coastal mountain range back to the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea today and we'll be on the beach this evening again. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 125 km (78 miles)
Day 11: May 17: Pedal Basilicata and Campania
Highlights: Bicycle the coast to SapriWe pedal along the seashore today to Sapri crossing another regional border and entering the region of Campania. We pass through a small part of the Region of Basilicata and the lovely town of Maratea on our way. By the time we reach our hotel tonight we will have crossed our 4th region of Italy! Approximate mileage: 90 km (56 miles)
Day 12: May 18: Bicycle the coast to Paestum
Highlights: Bicycle the Cilento of ItalyWe pedal one of the most spectacular coastlines in southern Italy today as we ride the Tyrrhenian coast of the "Cilento". The ride here, through an important part of Magna Grecia, reminds of bicycling in Greece. And indeed, we end the day in Paestum, home to some of the finest Greek ruins in the world. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 122 km (75 miles)
Day 13: May 19: Bicycle to Pompeii
Highlights: Visit Paestum and bicycle to PompeiiOur route this morning takes us through the ruins of Paestum. We'll stop for brief walk together before heading north to Salerno and Pompeii, perhaps the most famous and important archeological site. Approximate mileage 86 km (53 miles)
Day 14: May 20: Rest day to visit Pompeii and shuttle to Naples
Highlights: Ruins of Pompeii, NaplesWe'll visit the ruins of Pompeii today with a guided tour before shuttling into Naples. Our hotel is in the pedestrian area of beautiful downtown Naples. Take a walk, relax and rest up today. We'll enjoy a great pizza dinner together tonight as we are in the region best known for pizza and buffalo mozzarella. No bicycling today
Day 15: May 21: Shuttle and then bicycle north
Highlights: Small town, quiet roadsWe shuttle today to the plains of Campania north of Naples. Then we ride to Teano, where Garibaldi passed the symbolic key to southern Italy to Vittorio Emmanuele II, King of Savoy and future King of Italy. We continue on to the small town of Mondragone. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 52 km (33 miles)
Day 16: May 22: Pedal to Montecassino
Highlights: AnagniOur route today provides a view of the famous Abbey of Montecassino where one of the most famous battles of World War II took place. We continue on to Anagni, an important Medieval town. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 124 km (77 miles)
Day 17: May 23: Pedal the ancient Appian Way
Highlights: Rome!We pedal through the Colli Albani, south of Rome, today and along the ancient Appian Way for a short distance. The ancient Roman paving stones are almost impossible to pedal without a full suspension mountain bike so we'll regroup for lunch and shuttle to our hotel. You'll have time to enjoy Rome later this afternoon and evening (and tomorrow!). Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 61 km (38 miles)
Day 18: May 24: Rest day in Rome
Highlights: Guided walk of Rome, relaxThis is a rest day in Rome. We'll take a guided walk together in the morning and you'll have the afternoon to explore on your own.
Day 19: May 25: Bicycle out of Rome
Highlights: Ride along the Tiber River, TuscaniaOur ride out of Rome takes us on a bike path along the Tiber River from the Vatican. Enjoy the views of this great city as we head north to Tuscania for the evening. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 100 km (62,5 miles)
Day 20: May 26: Bicycle the Etruscan Coast
Highlights: Pedal back to the beachWe pedal across the "Tuscia" today, a remote part of Italy that formed the southern part of Etruria. This is a horizontal landscape with layers of airborne volcanic ash. Our destination is Talamone where Garibaldi docked with his ships to prepare for his final push to southern Italy in May of 1860. Approximate mileage 104 km (65 miles)
Day 21: May 27: Bicycle into Tuscany
Highlights: Enter another region of Italy, Etruscan Coast of TuscanyThe southern coast of Tuscany has always been difficult of access so our route takes us first into the hills, then through Grosseto and back to the coast. The Etruscans traded throughout the Mediterranean from ports along here. Tonight we are in San Vincenzo near the beach. Approximate mileage 134 km (84 miles)
Day 22: May 28: Bicycle to Lucca
Highlights: Walled city of Lucca, vineyards of TuscanyWe continue north along the first line of hills on the Tuscan coast today through vineyards and wheat fields full of poppies. Our destination is Lucca, a wonderful medieval town that still retains an intact 17th century wall. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 130 km (81.5 miles)
Day 23: May 29: Rest day in Lucca
Highlights: Enjoy Lucca, or take a side trip to PisaLucca was a Roman town and one of medieval Italy's most prosperous city-states. Today, Lucca retains its medieval charm with its small shops and sidewalk cafes. Take a day to relax, or if you feel the urge we can organize a trip to Pisa for a visit to the leaning tower. No bicycling today.
Day 24: May 30: Bicycle the Garfagnana north of Lucca
Highlights: Pedal the foothills of the AppenninesWe ride into the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. We'll spend a good part of the day in the Garfagnana, a vast chestnut forest north of Lucca. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 91 km (57 miles)
Day 25: May 31: Pedal over the Appennines
Highlights: Cross into your 6th region of Italy, Emilia RomagnaWe have flirted with Italy's Apennine Mountains for over three weeks now without crossing them. Well, today we head up and over to the north side of the Apennines. We leave "Mediterranean" Italy and head into the Po Valley which enjoys a more subcontinental climate. Approximate mileage 141 km (88 miles)
Day 26: June 1: Bicycle North towards Turin
Highlights: Rolling hills and flat ridingOur ride today takes us through the foothills of the "Oltre Po Pavese," south of the Po River through the foothills of the Apennine Mountains and out onto the flat Po Valley. Dinner together tonight. Approximate mileage 130 km (81.5 miles)
Day 27: June 2: Asti
Highlights: Enter Piedmont RegionWe follow the flat Po Valley for the most part today on our way to Asti, Piedmont. We end in one of Italy's most up and coming wine regions where vineyards produce many of the famous Piedmont wines, including Barbera d'Asti and Asti Spumante. Approximate mileage 97 km (61 miles)
Day 28: June 3: Bicycle into Torino
Highlights: Finish the Italia 150 with a reception in TorinoOur final ride is relatively short today and it takes us into Torino, the seat of the House of Savoy and the first capital of a unified Italy beginning in 1861. We'll have a reception and lunch to celebrate the end of our expedition and journey through Italy. Approximate mileage: 75 km (47 miles)
Day 29: June 4: Farewell
Highlights: DepartureMille grazie for joining us to celebrate Italy's 150th birthday. Buon viaggio!
HighlightsBicycle the length of Italy on country roads, Marsala, Segesta, Paestum and ruins of Pompeii, Naples and Rome, Etruscan Coast of Tuscany, Lucca, Pisa, Emilia Romagna's Culinary Delights, Piedmont Wines, Slow Food and Torino
IncludesUse of a 24 - 27 speed quality bicycle; 29 days, 28 nights in comfortable 3 and 4 star hotels and country estates; 28 breakfasts, 17 dinners, some lunches; van support; bilingual tour leaders; cultural activities as described in itinerary
Begin/EndMarsala / Turin
Arrive/DepartPalermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO) / Turin Caselle Airport (TRN) or Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Total Distance2100 - 2250 km (1300 - 1400 miles)
Daily Distance55 - 135 km (34 - 84 miles) average of 98 kms (60 mi) if you don't include rest days in the average.
What to ExpectVaried terrain throughout, mostly back roads with little traffic. Shuttles into larger cities and back out. Extraordinary bicycling routes and travel companions as well as local events.
This is an ExpeditionPlus! bicycle tour. We'll average 60 miles per day with 3 rest days.