Wednesday, October 24, 2018 | Ursula Peter | Europe / Italy
On the last day we didn`t ride - we cooked with the Chef of Villa Pitiana Mario Perone. Jillian`s wish was to learn how to make pasta and gnocchi - the rest was on the chef.
After 50 km on the famous “Strada del Sole” Highway, which brought all the sun-hungry Germans in the late 60th to the Adriatic beaches a beautiful, twisty road awaits us.
Before the famous race courses, like Mugello and Imola, were built, the passionated Italians closed public roads on Sundays and raced there. 80 km of this old race track will lead you up to Passo Muraglione. You should stop at the bar on top, which is a well-known meeting point for motorcyclists anyway, and watch the pictures on the walls which telling stories from the wild old days.But unfortunately it was closed today.
Time was flying! It was so much to do, so much to see, such good riding.al the "best lunches and dinners"
But it only was a taste - there is much more out there. Maybe you have to come back to this paradise.
San Marino is known as the oldest republic in the world, San Marino offers breathtaking views, charming cafes and little shops that will catch your eye. The center of San Marino is situated on top of a fascinating rock formation, which we will reach by riding up and enjoying several switchbacks. There is no border between Italy and San Marino. We will only notice that we have just entered a different country by the different look of license plates and the fancy uniforms of the San Marino guards.
We had to leave Assisi and our beautiful Nun Resort Hotel. After a short ride on the highway we climbed up to Cortona, the old Etruscan town. Il Grillo served us good lunch and after many curves we reached Urbino, the birthplace of Valentino Rossi. But... there are some dark clouds coming in
heavy rain, thunderstorm and wind on our way to San Marino - but we made it
Despite the millions of tourists and pilgrims it attracts every year, St Francis’ hometown remains a beautiful and tranquil refuge. From Roman times, its inhabitants have been aware of the visual impact of their city, perched halfway up Monte Subasio. From the valley its pink and white marble buildings shimmer in the sunlight.
And if anybody looks for special location to stay, the old Benedictan monastery just at the southern city walls could be one of them: https://www.nunassisi.com/
Jillian and John decided not to ride today, but exploring the city and enjoying the Nun Resort, our outstanding hotel in Assisi.
This is a riding day at its best! Hopefully you are well rested. We leave Siena with a lot of new impressions. Only a few miles down the road we are overwhelmed by new ones. To the average Italian tourist, an itinerary that includes Siena, Montalcino, Assisi sounds like a cultural overkill. Tonight these names will have a different meaning to us. The riding is spectacular here!
Through the Crete Senese we touch the Via Cassia, a former Roman North/South main road. We turn west to the thermal spa region of Bagno Vignoni. The water of this health resort has been well-known since the Etruscs.
Le Crete – typical Tuscan hills, cypress alley along the driveways to the farmhouses, curvy roads in the Merse valley - this is on the list for today. San Galgano reminds on the powerfull monks back in the days and Abbazia di Monte Oliveto invites for lunch. There will be enough time for sightseeing in Siena in the afternoon.
On small roads we left Florence and headed into the Chianti area again. We couldn`t miss Radda and San Gimigniano, as well as our first slow food restaurant high above in the hills.
We start to enjoy riding the winding roads of the Chianti area. This region seems like it was made for motorcyclists, with its small villages inviting you for a coffee break along the way. Many castles and fortresses, most of them privately owned, are scattered along our way. This is also the area well known for its excellent wines, many of them produced in small wineries embedded in those same castles and fortresses. We found an excellent lunch place - some off road riding was necessary - but it was worth it.
This charming town with its triangular Piazza Matteotti has two claims to fame: Antica Macelleria Fallorni (butcher`s shop), known for its meat cuts since 1729; and Giovanni da Verrazzano, the local-boy-made-good who discovered the New York harbour. Verrazzano was commemorated there by the Verrazzano Narrows bridge, linking Staten Island to Brooklyn which is well known by every runner who has ever done the New York marathon.
the black rooster - icon of the Chianti
After a little rest and a shopping tour through Florence we had Florence by night!
We will explore three provinces of Italy: Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche and one other country: San Marino, maybe the oldest republic in the world.
We started Villa Tolomei, a former old convent at the southern end of Florence in the middle of olive and wine yards
We leave busy Florence and enjoy the twisties of Passo della Consuma. Arezzo, an charming, old, typical Italian village, belonged in Etruscan times to the "Union of the Twelve". Nowadays it is the center of the Italian jewelry industry.