Our tour is almost over but we still have a few more miles to go before our final destination. Leaving the traffic of Agrigento in our dust we head east and back into the mountains of central Sicily. After an excellent espresso in a small market square we reach ou highlight of the day, the Villa Roma de Casale. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage, this palace has some of the best preserved Roman mosaics in the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into the art and culture of the Roman empire. From here we ride a total of one mile to our excellent lunch of antipasti and and handmade pasta! A few more mountain roads and the we hit the highway for the final stretch into Catania, where we end the tour with a tradtitonal Edelweiss Boot Beer. Our last evening together is a mix of exchanging adresses, laughter and a few tears as we say goodbye after a fantastic trip through the heart of Southern Italy!
We're riding coast to coast as we head south, deep into the remote heartland of Sicily. There are no more highways, only narrow, extremly twisty roads leading to small, quiet villages perched high up on mountain peaks. Bur the riding is not the only highlight today as we stop for lunch in a hidden valley where Malcolm has prepared our second Edelweiss picnic of the tour. A few more hours of very twisty roads and we arrive in Agrigento just in time to see the sun set over the famous Valley of the Temples.
We head inland and soon we are the only traffic on the road, the odd Fiat 500 being the only exception. A quick picture stop at the Norman fortress in Sperlinga offers us a chance to catch our breath. Hidden mountain roads take us towards the north coast of Sicily before we stop for lunch in Gangi, one of the many almost deserted mountain towns hidden away from the main tourist routes along the coast. Our destination is the beautiful town of Cefalu, one of the most "Sicilian" stops of our trip.
What to do on a day off in Sicily. We for one, decide to ride. Mount Aetna, one of the most active volcanoes in Europe has some of the best riding so far and we take full advantage of the beautiful bands of asphalt that wind their way up towards the crater. When the road ends we have climbed almost 1500m and all of southern Sicily lies spread below us. Heading back to the hotel we arrive just in time to lounge by the pool, explore the old town of Taormina or go for another ride. Dinner is spectacular, with some of the finest sea food in Italy served high up on a cliff side above the ocean.
It's our final day on the mainland and the coastal road offers some of the best twisties so far, with tiny fishing villages hidden in secluded coves offering a welcome break from our frenetic pace. As we head south we arrive in the the town of Scilla, named for the famous monster that feasted on Ulysses' men, and with it the first proper view of the island of Sicily. A short ferry ride later and we have arrived in one of the best motorcycle regions in Europe. Landing in Messina we split up, with one group choosing to stay along the coast and one heading inland for the first fantastic mountain roads one this beautiful island.
The weather gods are on our side with a beautiful sunrise over the mountains behind the hotel. Our first highlight is just a few short milesup away as we ride a corkscrew of a road up to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, perched high above the sleepy coastal town of Maratea, for one of the best picture stopsof the trip. We split into two groups, on heading into the the twisty valleys of the mountainous hinterlands and one closely hugging the coast. The day is seemingly never-ending series of twisties as, briefly interrupted by stops for Spaghetti alla Vongole, strong espresso and luxurious Gelato. Arriving in Tropea we take a quick break to check into our hotel before climbing up the 40m high rock face from which the town of Tropea rules over the surrounding coastline. What a view!
It's a beautiful morning as we leave the the Roman ruins of Pompeii behind and hit the highway on our way south. After half an hour of slab we leave traffic behind us and visit the ruins of Paestum, an old Greek colony which has remained virtually untouche for 2000 years. After feeding our culture vulture it is time to feed our stomachs. Malcolm, Alan and Tony have prepared a classic Edelweiss picnic in a truly unique location, a working buffalo mozzarela farm! We feast on some of the best mozzarela in Italy and finish it off with some fantastic Italian espresso. From here we along the coast as we ride onto one of the most beautiful coastal roads on the planet before arriving in Aquafredda, our stop for the night.
It's our first rest day on our Tour and what better way to spend it than to visit the excavations at Pompeii, a must-see on our visit to Italy. But this isn't all Pompeii has to offer. The world famous Amalfi coast is just a few short miles away and offers one of the most picturesque roads of the trip. In the evening we decide to head into Naples for one of the most iconic Italian dishes, Pizza!
It's our first day on the road as we set out from the Eternal City and slowly adapt to the Italian driving style (anything goes). Leaving the main roads behind we dive deep into the forests and hills south of Rome, who would have thought that you could find such twisty roads close to the biggest city in Italy? After a break for lunch on the shore of the Mediterranean we hit the slab for the last few miles towards Pompeii.