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The itinerary covers the most scenic sites of five Italian regions at once: Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Toscana and Lazio.
We have selected the roads passing through a wide range of terrain. You’ll see the mysterious wooded mountains of Emilia-Romagna, breathtaking serpentines on the Ligurian coast, amazing hills and vineyards of Toscana, the lakes and ancient Roman pavements of Lazio. Get ready to enjoy the ride on your scooter!
You’ll get a chance to visit dozens of fascinating sites, natural attractions and historic monuments. Majestic mountains, lakes, waterfalls, magnificent beaches, ancient temples, little towns and villages treasuring ages of historic past, famous and little-known wineries, and much more.
We offer you visits to places rarely seen by “conventional” tourists. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy absolute freedom and privacy—two things that motorbike enthusiasts value most.
Nearly all our scheduled dates coincide with some local event, be it a festival, fair, concert, or traditional celebration. Chances are, you’ll witness some really unique proceedings.
And, finally, this is the route for real Vespa fans, since you’ll be offered a visit to the Piaggio museum.
Important: you can take this route in two directions, from Piacenza to Rome or from Rome to Piacenza. Just choose the available dates, and off you go! The description that follows covers the Piacenza to Rome route. Rome to Piacenza trip is identical, but the days are in reverse order.
For each day of your trip, we indicate approximate distance (since you can always make a detour to see a site you like) and net travel time (not taking into account the lunch stop and sightseeing). To get an idea how long you will be on the road in total, add at least another 3-4 hours.
Distance – 100 km
Travel time – 3 hours
On this day, you'll be arriving in Piacenza, taking our introductory course, coming to know you scooter, and getting a taste of Italian roads and their traffic. This is why you'll cover a relatively modest distance of about 100 kilometers. However, we guarantee that you'll have plenty of impressions, anyway.
Around 10 a.m. our group will be meeting at our Piacenza office. We'll offer you a cup of coffee accompanied with excellent Italian bakery and tell you how our trips work. At about 11 a.m. we'll be hitting the road. Picturesque little streets of ancient Piacenza and the first stretch of the route, covering straightforward and free of heavy traffic roads, will help you to get accustomed to your scooter and navigation aids. And about 40 kilometers in, our route will lead straight into the mountains. Believe us, the winding turns and magnificent views will get you excited straight away.
This will be the final day of your journey. After arriving in PIacenza, you'll probably be moving on to Milan, Bergamo, Bologna, or Venice. We'll take this opportunity to thank you for joining us, and wish you a nice and safe trip back. Since this day's route will be relatively short, you'll have plenty of time to catch the evening train.
The main attraction of the route is the road per se. It is going high over the hills separated by scenic valleys with their tiny towns. Here are some of the most remarkable among them…
Piacenza is one of those numerous Italian towns that have been completely ignored by tourist industry, and shame on them! We'll offer you a quick ride around the town, so that you can get used to driving your scooter, while seeing the main attractions of the place.
You'll rarely find information about Castello di Groparello in popular travel guides—the more's the pity. Everything about this castle is authentic, real: its strong thick walls, the draw-bridge, its interiors with huge firesides and knights' armour, but, even more important, the atmosphere that was preserved by the efforts of the owners and people working here.
Bardi is a little homey town lost between the hills. Any tourist here immediately becomes the center of attention. Not surprising, since only the real Italian history connoisseurs come here to see with their own eyes the ancient Castello di Bardi, a magnificent castle rising from the rock. If you’re lucky, during you tour of the castle you’ll see some ghosts – there are plenty of them around.
In Вedonia you'll find everything that the real explorer hits the road for: quiet streets, lots of smaller, but really old cathedrals, stores trading in local fare, and friendly locals, ready to educate a guest with the history of their town, which dates as far back as the Neolithic age. Here you'll already sense how close we are to Liguria: a sure sign are the multi-coloured walls of old houses in the town centre.
In Bedonia you'll be spending the first night on our journey. But first, a magnificent dinner on an open terrace in one of the jolliest restaurants in town.
Distance – 140 km
Travel time – 4 hours
On this day you'll cover almost 50 per cent more distance, 140 kilometers. But what kilometers are they! Serious mountains and mountain passes, wild forests, and then, almost without a pause, the sea with its gorgeous beaches and the distinct beauty of the Cinque Terre region. You'll need all your composure so as not to get carried away by the stream of impressions raining on you.
This mountain pass, part of the legendary Giro d’ Italia race, is located at an altitude of nearly 1 000 meters and is a real Mecca for anyone riding a two-wheeler. You'll need all of your riding skills to master the sharp turns and the road, going high up and then suddenly diving deep into a valley. OK, this might be a trying experience, but generously rewarded by terrific views and the well-earned pride of someone who could conquer "the mountain high".
From high up in the mountains we’re heading straight down, to the sea. Just mention Ligurian coast, and you’ve said it all. Clear turquoise waves, dark volcanic sand of its beaches, almost menacing cliffs and the lively coloured houses along the waterfront—you name it. If you’re feeling like it, don’t hesitate to pick a beach of your choice and plunge in.
A narrow, winding road passes high over the sea level, revealing with each turn striking panoramic views. We suggest that you take an exit to any of the coastal towns, such as Vernazza, Manarola, or Portovenere, and see with your own eyes the views that you no doubt have looked a dozen of times in sundry travel brochures. You’ll learn that in real life, they are even more impressive.
The final point of the day’s journey is another town known for its picturesque views, widely covered by press, on television and the Internet. Here we’ll offer you dinner in an authentic tavern right at the waterfront.
For the main course, to be sure, you’ll get some local seafood. And the desert will feature a real treat, Sciacchetrа wine. This majestic drink is produced in small quantities exclusively in the Cinque Terre region. If you'd like to take a bottle or two home as a souvenir, we'll be happy to show you the way to the wine store. The owner can give some valuable advice on your purchase and offer a good deal, since you are traveling with Motoragazzi.
Distance – 140 km
Travel time – 4 hours
This is the day of adventure and discovery. Ever wondered where marble comes from? You'll find out. Want to take a piece of the most expensive marble to put on your mantelpiece back home? As good as done. Want to know how modern sculptors work? You'll see it with your own eyes. And, to top it off, the billionaire town of Forte dei Marmi and its striking beaches, ancient Lucca with its fortress-wall-turned-boulevard and amazing theater square, and, finally, Pontedera, the birthplace of Vespa.
This is the last Ligurian town on our route. And one of the turns of the road descending to La Spezia is, perhaps, a perfect place to stop and say goodbye and thank you to this blessed region. And a spot like this gives you a magnificent view of the town and its surroundings. From high up, enjoy the bird’s eye view of the old port and the waterfront; watch the grey battle ships docked at the NATO naval base and admire the marble-white slops of surrounding mountains.
They say that Carrara marble is the most expensive in the entire world. However, this might not be entirely accurate, since over twenty varieties of this noble is stone are quarried here, each with its own price tag. After a visit to the quarries, you’ll learn which kind of marble Michelangelo used for his masterpieces, and how the quarrying techniques evolved over the centuries. We’ll also visit a sculptor’s studio, where the host will showcase his works and reveal some interesting facts about the way sculptures are carved in our days.
And, then, of course, lunch. It’s hardly worth visiting Carrara and missing the famous Lardo di Colonnata, salted spiced lard produced only in this region and awarded the DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or protected designation of origin) status. In a little restaurant facing the mountains, you’ll be served a pizza from a real European pizza-making champion, chef Daniel Favero.
The beaches in these two coastal town are the most luxurious in Italy, and maybe even entire Europe. Perfectly clean sand, endless rows of sunshades and beach chairs, expensive seafront restaurants and… the smell of big money. This is where true billionaires from around the world live. High fences and thick tree branches are hiding luxurious villas. If weather allows, do plunge into the sea, although you’ll probably have to do without an umbrella or a beach chair—renting them can ruin almost anyone’s budget.
You’d think that from Viareggio any visitor should head straight into Pisa. How can one possibly miss the famous Square of Wonders with its leaning tower? Alright, go to Pisa if you want, but be warned: the main attractions waiting for you there are tourist crowds taking snapshots in stupid poses, annoying souvenir sellers, and tedious searching for a parking place.
Why not visit Lucca instead? It’s one of Italy’s most ancient towns. They say that its unusually oval-shaped market square is a former Roman amphitheatre, rebuilt during the ages to become a ring of houses. Such magic transformations are quite characteristic of Lucca. For instance, the thick walls built for protection have become a nice boulevard here. And the top of a rather high tower is now an oak grove…
Pontedera is the location of Piaggio factory where the very scooter you are riding has been built. Those traveling with Motoragazzi are always welcomed guests here.
Distance – 130 km
Travel time – 4 hours
Tuscany... An amazing land whose beauty dozens of poets and writers, from Dante and Petrarca to Stendhal and Henry Morton, tried to describe. Tried and failed, for sheer lack of words. The hills, the forests, the boundless fields, the vineyards and ancient towns—everything about this place is breathtakingly adorable. The visitor is overwhelmed with a torrent of majestic landscapes, sounds and smells. Never-ending admiration, taking up every second and every breath, is quite the norm for anyone visiting these parts for the first time.
We hope that you have saved enough space for this storm of feelings and impressions. But, never mind. This day's program features the most unusual theatre in the world, medieval skyscrapers, the world's officially best ice-cream, the really outlandish landscapes and one hundred and thirty kilometers of terrific roads!
Lajatico can be considered an ordinary Tuscany town. Narrow streets, houses with green window blinds, and a tiny square with the ubiquitous bar where local grandpas are sitting around all day long. It was, in fact, the famous singer Andrea Bocelli who really made this place stand out. On a picturesque hill boasting an incredible view of its surrounding siblings and Volterra, he created an open-air theater, Teatro del Silenzio, where twice a year, aided by his friends, singers and musicians of very diverse styles, he gives incredible concerts. A ticket to one of these performances can cost up to two thousand euro.
But the place is amazing even without its stage and artists appearing thereon. The set designs, changing every year but staying through until the next performance, can impress even the most seasoned spectators—an enormous human head, a gilded overripe pomegranate, a naked giant watching his reflection in a pond... Do take a picture—just to be able to show it to your friends and hear the gratifying “Oh my God! Did you really photograph this?!”
This town overwhelms its surroundings. Sitting on top of a huge hill, it demonstrates its power over the neighbouring villages and fields. And for a good reason. Volterra is one of the oldest towns in Tuscany; its walls were first erected by Etruscans, and the initial settlement dates back to the Iron Age. If you are a history-loving type, here you'll find plenty of interesting stuff: an ancient amphitheater, and archeological park, the oldest Gothic Palazzo in Tuscany and the local dwellers, descendants of ancient Etruscans, who differ from most Italians both in appearance and character.
However, some tourists (especially when the sun's out and it's really hot) prefer just to walk throught the narrow shady streets of the town and enjoy a glass or two of ice-cold spritz in a cozy bar. The souvenir of choice for these places are artfully crafted alabaster fruit replicas, looking amazingly like real ones.
For once, this is the place where it's really worth the trouble to overlook our principles and pay a visit to one of the most tourist places in Italy, the City of Ancient Skyscrapers. At least to be have fun examining the boards of two gelaterias (ice-cream shops) that are desperately contending for the World Champion title in ice-cream making. Let's be fair, the ice-cream is, indeed, delicious, and the list of flavours can make your head spin. Securing the coveted multi-coloured ice-cream cone, it's good to take your time and walk into a small olive garden, where you can enjoy your gelato in perfect calm and shade.
Our electronic guide will tell you the way and point out a few attractions unbeknown to most tourists: an unusual monument to St Catherine, a little tower giving you the best view of the surroundings, and a narrow street doubling as balcony. So what about the famous towers, you might ask. Sure, you can climb the tower, if you like. But, just between us: we really believe that towers are best enjoyed from a perspective.
…pero` che come su la cerchia tonda
Montereggion di torri si corona,
cosi` la proda che 'l pozzo circonda
torreggiavan di mezza la persona
li orribili giganti, cui minaccia
Giove del cielo ancora quando tuona.
Because as on its circular parapets
Montereggione crowns itself with towers,
E'en thus the margin which surrounds the well
With one half of their bodies turreted
The horrible giants, whom Jove menaces
E'en now from out the heavens when he thunders.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today Montereggione is not so menacing as in Dante's times. Perhaps, this is due to the peaceful look of its surroundings: vineyards, tidy olive gardens and the busy Florence-Siena motorway with rapidly flowing multi-coloured stream of vehicles. From a distance, the small fortress founded in early 13 century is, indeed, looking very much like a crown placed on the summit of a high but slanting hill. A circle of towers and walls, designed to protect the town from Fiorentines, has also sheltered the tiny settlement from the ticking of time, it seems—little has changed over the past eight hundred years here.
Take any book brushing upon Siena. Hear the words of those who've been here. You'll agree that hardly any city in the world is receiving so much warm and heartfelt praise. To wit:
«Among all other remembrances of Italy recollections of Siena remain the most cheerful and dear to my heart. Away from Italy, the image of this most noble Tuscany town makes you pine for the happy voyages of the past like nothing else. This image combines everything that makes your heart race when you hear the word 'Italy'--the holy antiquity, blooming art, reflections of Dante’s words in the speech of the locals, the sense of air, the intricate forces of the land for ages producing the peaceful olives and the heady grapes.
In Siena, all this has been melted together with a unique force and harmony. It has preserved its medieval look better than many other Italian towns. Its artistic prosperity is an example of striking unity and wholeness; the creations of various generations seem but different manifestations of its single genius. The Italian speech you here in its streets is the language of the golden trecento. The airy spaces are never so open as seen from the edge of its three hills. And the soil of Siena, brown and red from the forces of creativity still burning in it, seems to belong to the higher Nature, to be the soil used as mateiral for the first shell of human spirit.
Life in Siena is full of impressions comprising the ultimate joy of an Italian journey. Many of this you can encounter in other towns, but only Siena has this deep purity of images. Its crystal-clear soul has managed to pass through the ages untarnished».
Pavel Muratov, «Images of Italy»
What can we add? The only thing that remains to be said is that instead of a usual night, in Siena you'll be staying for two. And we believe even this won't be enough.
Distance – 130 km
Travel time – 4 hours
No, Chianti is much more than just endless rows of vines, olive groves, the famous wine and oil. It’s a complete world, compactly placed in a triangle between Siena and Florence. Everything here is special: the air, the sky, the roads, the people. This is the reason we decided to dedicate an entire day of our Italian journey to this region.
Chianti has around 600 wineries — an almost unbelievable number. About 260 of these are producing wine under their own brands. Of course, you can visit any of the vineyards to taste their produce and buy some wine; you'll always be a welcome guest. But just for our guests we have selected one of these, Terrabianca, a small, but completely unique winery hidden in the very heart of Chianti. What’s so special about it, you may ask? You’ll learn the answer from Terrabianca proprietors.
Did you think that in Chianti they only produce the eponymous wine? If you did, Terrabianca will shatter this stereotype to pieces. Here you'll taste a whole range of delicious wines, as well as grappa, olive oil (original and flavored with pepperoncino, rosemary, truffles), several varieties of honey, and, of course the famous Chianti itself. By the by, did you know that there are different kinds of Chianti, as well?
Those who are travelling with Motoragazzi will, of course, get attractive prices and discounts on all produce.
Shhh! This is our secret place. We'll show you an ordinary-looking parking spot that reveals a terrific view that will simply blow your mind away. Of course, other attractions of this ancient town are always at your disposal as well. Incidentally (still thinking of wine), here you'll find several shops that sell wine in any quantity and packaging—you can even buy it by canister. We strongly advise you to taste the local rosé.
If you get carried away challenging the sharp turns of the serpentine roads, its easy to miss the exit to this town. And that would be a real shame, since it's the place where Dario Cecchini, the world's most famous butcher (no kidding!), lives. Hi shop and restaurant are the main attractions of Panzano in Chianti.
This is a place of a never-ending fest: the guests are gorging on meat by the ton, and wine is flowing from dawn till dusk. Some of the luckiest among you may even witness Dario reciting fragments from the Divine Comedy, which he knows by heart. But his fame lies, of course, outside poetry. Dario is one of the bravest defenders of our right to enjoy a juicy pork cutlet or an amazing Florence steak (Bistecca Fiorentina) at any time. Let us tell you, that no one was able to escape from signor Cecchini's hungry or sober. And you will be no exception.
This is one of the most famous wineries not only in Italy, but worldwide as well. It is here, they say, that the famous Chianti recipe was created. And today, the descendant of Brolio castle's owners Francesco Ricasoli is one of the world's major Chianti evangelists. If you wish, you can pay a visit to the excellent tasting hall and, getting through the tourist crowd, taste any of the wines produced here.
But we have an even better idea in store for you. Just climb an incospicuous path up the hillside, and you'll be rewarded with a chance to visit the ancient and formidable castle. From its walls you will get an incredible view, centered on a small, but very special house. It is here that Bernardo Bertolucci filmed many scenes from his famous Stealing Beauty, a real cinematographic hymn glorifyng Tsucany.
Tourists are rare visitors to this place, although this is, in fact, one of the most interesting nooks in Chianti, especially for those interested in winemaking. San Felice is a small village situated traditionally on top of a hill. It leaves an impression of being a cozy apartment, rather than a community. Each street is a corridor, a couple of tiny squares—the rooms. On the edge of the village you'll find a small but very expensive hotel for those who value secluded and peaceful rest in complete privacy. On its opposite end resides the winery, readily recognizable by the huge old wine barrels stacked in the yard. If you visit during vendimia, you'll see the grapes arriving, weighed, and taken for procssing—this is all happening on one of the village squares. In a tiny passage there's a small boutique where you can taste the superb local wine and grappa.
But the most important attraction here are, of course, the hillsides covered with vines. San Felice is a real laboratory where different varieties of grapes are studied. The so-called Vitiarium houses dozens of grapes cultivated throughout Italy. And getting to see the grape galleries stretching for hundreds of feet along the hillside, will live you with one of the most incredible impressions of your life.
Distance – 170 km
Travel time – 5 hours
On this day you’ll have to rise early, since in addition to covering one hundred and seventy kilometers of one of the world’s most beautiful roads, you’ll also be ascending mount Amiata, visiting thermal springs, seeing mysterious sculpture groups and the famous Crete Senesi.
Crete Senesi exemplify a landscape that will surprise you at any time of the year. Here you can’t get rid of the feeling that you were somehow beamed to another planet, mind-striking and immeasurably beautiful. Turning into an ordinary looking side-road, you’ll arrive at Leonina fortress, looking almost as if it were a toy castle, and then, taking a secret path, you’ll reach, perhaps, the most beautiful place in the world. It is a hill with a really striking view stretching for miles around—fields, ponds, groves, and winding roads only ever used by local farmers on their tractors. And in the middle of all this, Site Transitoire, an amazing installation created by a sculptor named Jean Paul Philippe.
You can only guess what the stone figures erected by the artist amidst Crete Senesi symbolize, but better spend the time settling down into a stone seat, closing your eyes, and keeping silence for a minute or two. You will undoubtedly feel the time swirling into a tight knot around you and then stopping, bathing you in absolute serenity.
This town has its very own, unique and almost indescribable charm. Our best piece of advice would be just to walk through its streets, buy a postcard, then try to describe whatever you feel in a sentence or two, and send to your best friend. You’ll find everything you need close at hand: a postcard stall, a mailbox, and the café run by our friends, where you can take your time working on the text over a cup of coffee or a spritz.
This is the mother-house and the main monastery of the Olivetans, a Catholic order. Here you’ll find frescoes painted by the famous Luca Signorelli, the ones that Pavel Muratov described as “one of the grandest fresco series of all Italy”. Dark cypress trees, stern outlines of Gothic buildings—everything here is full of austere calm.
Most of the photographs titled Toscana that you might have seen on postcards and in travel magazines, have been, in fact, captured here. Remember: the unbelievably beautiful hills, cypress groves and alleys, intricately winding roads… An ideal world pictured in a glossy booklet. You’ll be surprised to learn that it exists in reality and is even more striking than even its greatest photo. It is here that you’ll, perhaps, realize: your dream of visiting the very heart of Italy has finally come true.
Cinema aficionados will remember this little village from Andrey Tarkovsky’s “Nostalgy”. Nearly half of its plot is taking place here, in the rooms of Le Terme hotel and around the St Catherine basin filled with thermal waters. Bagno Vignoni is a perfect place to get some hard-earned rest and indulge in a meal. Oh, if only words could describe the amazing porcini mushroom soup they serve here…
The thermal source of San Filippo is located right at the base of mount Amiata. Long before arriving you’ll notice the smell of brimstone, emanated from hot waters gushing out of the bowels of the earth. The salt crust, accumulated for thousands of years on the surface, forms extravagant and grand snow-white shapes all around. You can take a bath if you want; the water is hot and clean all year round.
An ancient volcano rising over 1 700 meters over the sea level has been silent for more than two thousand years. To reach the summit, where a chiseled cross is installed, you’ll have to brave a thrilling serpentine capable to excite any real biker.
As the day draws to an end, you’ll descend from the mountains into a valley that hosts the Saturnia thermal source. Here you’ll have a choice of spending the evening in a luxurious (and quite expensive) SPA, or next to a foaming waterfall, sitting in a natural bathtub formed by the residue from the warm waters rushing by.
Distance – 160 km
Travel time – 4,5 hours
On this day we will be leaving Tuscany and entering the Latium region, to find ourselves right at the gates to Ancient Rome. But rest assured: there will be plenty of ancient stuff along our route, as well. The main focus of the day will be Etruscan heritage.
The town itself, as well as its surroundings, are full to the brim with the remnants of ancient civilizations. Some scientists believe that the famous vie cave – prehistoric ritual paths literally carved into volcanic rock – have been created long before the Etruscan times. Our route will pass through the Etruscan necropolis of Tomba Ildebranda, the only Stonehendge-like megalithic complex in Italy, as well as a number of other fantastic places.
The town, as if growing straight out of the rock, is one of the most popular features with photographers travelling around Italy. In fact, the country has quite a few other towns similar to this, but Pitigliano is no doubt the most impressive of them. You'll walk around the narrow town streets, visit the ancient Jewish quarter, enjoy a tasting of unique sweet treats, and, of course, admire the panoramic view of Pitigliano, which leaves no one untouched.
The scenic shores of this lake provide an ideal spot to kill the engine, have a break, and, getting out of your scooter's coffer some tramezzini and a coffee flask, have a leisurely meal. We bet this will be one of the best luncheons you've ever had!
This is one of Italy's most ancient towns. Here the history afficionado will find wonders aplenty: ancient statues, elegant underground crypts, towers, cathedrals and fortresses that were witnesses of the times long gone.
We are timing the arrival at the finish line of our journey in such a way as to enable our guests to reach Rome on the same day, if they wish so. Those deciding to stay, though, can spend the night in a comfortable fattoria and enjoy the final dinner, al fresco or around a fireplace.
Those of you starting the journey in opposite direction, Rome to Piacenza, will come to the starting point on the morning of Day One. A healthy breakfast, short briefing, and you’re on the road!
Time's precious, so why lose it? Make up your mind and book right now!