Overview: Italy - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

Overview: Italy

For a change, we haven’t planned out in detail our whole route through Italy, but we have a pretty good rough itinerary in mind.   We’re budgeting about seven weeks to the country, making it the largest component of the tour.  The tentative route we have mapped out feels ambitious enough - 900 miles with 60,000’ of elevation, plus day rides.  It traces an arc that roughly follows the country’s northern border: from Trieste we’ll head northwest to the Dolomites; continue west through the Lake District; and then drop south to traverse the Piemonte to the sea, crossing into France in early November.

Partway through this stretch of the tour we’re going to change our model of recent years, and figure out our destinations and lodging as we go rather than locking ourselves in by booking all our lodging in advance.  There are several reasons for this: we want to pace ourselves, taking longer breaks here and there when we find someplace especially attractive or feel the need for some time off the road; and we want to build in more flexibility to work around late autumn’s weather, which we expect will bring more wind and rain our way than we’ve gotten used to.

You’ll note too that the profile gets significantly easier midway through Italy.  After we leave the Dolomites we expect we’ll keep to fairly low elevations all the way to Barcelona, in deference to the late season.  That big spike in the middle of the profile?  That’s Stelvio.  We’ll see.

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Jen GrumbyGlad you'll have more flexibility in this section and look forward to seeing how interesting towns, weather, energy levels, etc. guide your daily decisions.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/Grampies
Do you think you might run in to or arrange to meet the Classens?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI don’t think so, Steve. We’ve been talking about it, but I think we’ll arrive in the Dolomites about a week too late. They’re moving east into Slovenia next, and we’re going west. I think we’re just going to have to come up to BC one of these times and see folks at home.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyWe’re looking forward to seeing how it goes also. We’ve always run such a full agenda on our tours, but we have some significant slack built in this time.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonYes, for example we have been following the Grahams around Europe for seven years now and have never actually laid eyes on them.
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2 months ago
Kathleen ClassenHi Scott - regarding the Stelvio. We dumped our gear at Prato and went up and down unloaded. I did carry a panier with some clothing, snacks, tools etc. It was very tough the last few kilometers ... I was pretty out of gas at the top. I would not recommend you try this loaded although the Bike Fridays are probably lighter than our bikes. If you did another option is to book a hotel somewhere up the pass (there are a couple) and make it a 2 day affair.

Just finished the loop around the Stella Ronda. You are either going up or down. Lots of roadies passing us today on their light bikes. Its a very cool ride over 4 passes. Getting here from Cortina involves another pass at 2100 meters. Heading back to Cortina tomorrow and then to Toblack.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen ClassenWe’ve had a lot of discussions about this topic, alright. We made it up Mount Ventous loaded, but I think the days when we could do that again are past. We still have the option of going south from Bolzano and skirt the western Dolomites, but assuming we go by way of Stelvio we plan to hire someone to transport our panniers across to Bormio so we can bike without them.

We’ll be so close, but it sounds like we’re going to miss each other by a few days. Btw: on your way from Cortina to Toblach you might go by Misurina or even stay overnight there. Really a beautiful spot. We cross country skied there years ago, when it was frozen over. This time we’re planning to stay there and bike up toward Tre Cime (unloaded) on our way to Toblach.
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2 months ago
Keith KleinHi Scott,
I see that you will be passing through Piemonte in the vicinity of Asti. I have a friend that runs a B-n-B/ restaurant near Acquaterme whom I highly recommend. Guido Rapetti at Cascina Marcantonio offers rooms with a view over the vineyards (some his own) and cooking by his mom. He is a cyclist himself and speaks good English and it might be worth your while to check him out. We have visited and its really charming.

Cheers,
Keith
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonHey, Keith. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m pretty sure we’ll be stopping over in Acqui Terme because it looks like the easiest path down to the coast. I don’t know when we’ll be passing through yet but I’ll make a note of it. If we stop in we’ll let them know you referred us.
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2 months ago