Sunday, May 1, 2016 | Domenico Schiano Moriello | Europe
Last riding day of the first ever "Southern Italy Extreme" tour, today we went back to Naples but first we had to cross the Basilicata region, so we could also see Castelmezzano and the "Small Dolomites" before entering Campania through nice twisty roads. Near Salerno Salerno, to avoid the traffic of the metropolis and, before reaching the hotel, we had time to take the last pictures in Naples with the beautiful view of Mount Vesuvius dominating the bay.
Thank you Alisa, Yoshio, Steven, Ralf, David, Roger, Jörg and Bert, for a great time together! Ride safe!
Since the weather forecast in the inland was not good, today we decided to ride towards the Adriatic coast of Apulia... so now we can say that we rode Italy "coast to coast"! But before reaching the beautiful Polignano by the sea, we could also see the enchanting trulli buildings in Alberobello, and feel like being in a fairytale.
This morning we said goodbye to Ralf, who went back to Naples to meet his wife. We will meet him again at the end of the tour. Leaving the hotel, we rode around the extinct Vulture volcano and even entered its crater to see the beautiful and peaceful Monticchio lakes. After that, we reached Venosa for the first coffee break and then entered Apulia to see see the imposing medieval Castel del Monte. But the highlight of the day was of course Matera, one of the oldest continuosly inhabitated settlements in the world, where we could take advantage of a guided walk through its incredible historical centre!
Weather forecast was good for today, but we spent the first part of the day in the rain, until we left the beautiful Matese mountains. A good pizza for lunch in Telese and then we headed to Melfi to see its beautiful historical centre and the castle dating back to the 11th century!
A backlash of the winter, what else can I think? I rode in this area around 3 weeks ago and the spring had arrived, green and flowers everywhere... and now snow again! The ride was anyway amazing, especially in the morning, when we rode the Passo Godi and the Sagittario Gorges with blue sky and white all around... are we really in southern Italy?
What do you normally imagine when you think about Southern Italy? Most of you will think about sun, warm weather, nice beaches... well, that was not the case today! We left our hotel under the rain and reached Pescasseroli under the snow! In between we could anyway enjoy also good weather and we had a great riding day! After leaving the traffic of the city behind, we reached Sperlonga on the Thyrrenian coast, a very nice and picturesque medieval centre located on a rocky promontory. It was the perfect spot to say goodbye to the coast and to the sea, because after that we hit the Aurunci mountains and perfect curvy roads took us to Isola del Liri with its beautiful waterfall. The last challenge was to climb the "Forca d'Acero" pass in order to enter the Abruzzi region and its famous National Park.
Welcome to Napoli, Naples, Italy's third-largest city as well as one of its oldest and most artistic. A tour through southern Italy has to start from here, the former Capital city of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, that extended over the southern part of mainland Italy and the island of Sicily and was the largest of the states of Italy before the Italian unification in 1861.
At the crossroads of civilisations for millennia, southern Italy is littered with the detritus of diverse and gilded ages, from Greek and Roman to Saracen, Norman and Spanish. It is home to no less than 13 Unesco World Heritage cultural sites and we can't wait to start exploring!