On Our Way to Apulia - Early spring in southern Italy - CycleBlaze

On Our Way to Apulia

Via Florence, Assisi and the Gargano Peninsula

May 4


After a long hard winter, we look forward to sunny Italy. Actually, the day we leave Munich the weather is better on our side of the Alps. We're taking a long car trip to find the sun and it's here? As we approach Campitello in the Dolomites where we will visit friends, the weather is anything but inviting. But South Tirol isn't Apulia, we still have a way to go.

Spring in the Dolomites
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May 5 - 7


When we get out of the mountains and reach the Po Valley the air is mild. We drive to "Camping Michelangelo" in Florence, situated on a hill overlooking the historic city with a view of the Duomo. It's impressive. At this time of year the campground isn't empty but it isn't crowded either. In the summer it is overrun.

View of Florence from Piazzala Michelangelo, a few minutes on foot from the camping grounds
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It's a short downhill ride to the city by bike. In the old part of town the streets are barred to motorized traffic and biking around the city is a pleasure and certainly the best way to get to see as much as possible.

Rubbing the nose of the wild boar brings good luck.
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May 8 - 9


Today we continue only as far as Assisi, thus cutting up the car trip into small manageable portions. We spend two nights at a campground a short distance outside of Assisi and welcome the transportation by mini-van they offer into town. Assisi is small and best seen on foot - so why bike its steep cobblestone streets in the rain? We spend most of our time here looking at the marvelous frescoes by Giotto, Assisi's main attraction.

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May 10 - 11


Today we reach the northernmost part of Apulia and are the only guests at a large campground near the town of Rodi. The season hasn't gotten underway yet.

On the coast near Rodi
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The next morning it is again raining so we resort to the car for a tour of the mountainous Gargano Peninsula, the spur on the heel of the boot, a national park with long, sandy beaches, coves, craggy limestone cliffs and great forests of pine, oak and beech. In spite of its natural beauty, I don't think we would have toured this part of Apulia by bike in the best of weather - too many steep climbs.

Gargano coast
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Vieste, on the Gargano coast
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