Roma - Assisi
After our welcome reception and tour briefing in Rome, we depart for Umbria—old-world Italy of gentle hills, wildflower meadows, and timeless traditions. Highlights include the Marmore Falls (the highest in Europe) and the perfectly preserved medieval hill-town and religious center of Assisi.
We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Assisi, chock-full of ancient sites: from the Piazza de Comuna, with its Roman Temple of Minerva and Roman Forum to the Basilica di San Francesco, the 14th century Rocca Maggiore castle, and splendid Renaissance palaces.
Assisi - Firenze
Our exhilarating ride today leads north through Tuscany and a check-list of stupendous bucket-list sights, including Siena, one of the most celebrated jewels in Italy, renowned for its black-and-white Duomo and Il Palio horse race. No matter how many times you may have seen it, it’s impossible to escape this architectural jewel’s magical charm.
This afternoon we follow the classic Chianti Wine Route’ through the most beautiful of all Tuscan landscapes. Our leisurely pace guarantees time to enjoy the panoramas of soft green hills, and romantic honey-hued hamlets famous for their robust Chianti wines and gourmet cuisine, which we’ll savor. Our scenic route through the Arno valley finally leads us to Florence -the utterly romantic cradle of the Renaissance.
Firenze - San Marino
Enjoy the morning exploring Florence, with its 15th and 16th century palazzi (palaces), Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo, frescoed basilicas, haute-couture boutiques, and world-class museums—such as the Uffizi Gallery - teeming with Renaissance treasures by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and more.
We then climb curlicue along SS67 - a favorite of Italian bikers - into the Appenines, The route unfurls a grin-inducing, non-stop combo of tight corners and whirling twisties before corkscrewing downhill to San Marino. The fifth smallest nation in the world (and the sole survivor of Italy’s ancient city-state network), this tiny nation is pinned by the 13th century Cesta Castle atop Mt. Titano. We’ll ride to the summit for an indelible view.
San Marino - Ravenna
After sightseeing in San Marino, our short but sweet ride today aims for Ravenna, one of Italy’s least-known gems. Repository of one of the world’s most astounding collections of mosaic artwork, its Byzantine core was a nexus of post-Roman power and is justifiably a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll arrive with plenty of time to explore the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare and Mausoleo di Gauda Placidia, among other sites ablaze with astonishing frescos. Dinner tonight will be a delight of Romagna regional cuisines, including crudo (fresh raw seafood), truffle-laced tortellini, and piadina romagnola (a delicious flatbread).
Ravenna - Venezia
Today we cross the delta of the river Po, largest river in Italy.
The vast estuarine wetland is renowned for its huge numbers of migratory birds. We stop in Comacchio, an enchanting, gaily-colored lagoon town coined “little Venezia” for its maze of canals crossed by quaint bridges. Comacchio provides a foretaste for our ultimate destination and then the world capital of canals: Venezia.
Our full day is dedicated to exploring this signature romantic city of lagoons and canals, gondoliers and show-stopping architecture, as we shovel up culture and history in spades. You’re spoiled for choice! The Grand Canal… Piazza San Marco with its jaw-dropping Basilica di San Marco and Palacio Ducale… The Ponte de Rialto and Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)… And, of course, heaps of memorable museums.
Venezia - Cortina D'Ampezzo
We escape the traffic congestion around Venice with a brief rocket-burst highway transfer to Belluno, a lovely town set dramatically against the Dolomite Mountains like a Hollywood stage set. We’ll thrill to whiplash-sharp coils as we claw up into jagged high alpine terrain considered among the most beautiful in all Europe. Crossing the Falzarego Pass, we’ll pass through three sublimely pretty alpine villages - Selva di Cadre, Pieve di Cadore, and Auronzo di Cadore - and marvel at the “Three Peaks of Lavardo.”
We finally arrive in Cortina d'Ampezzo, called the “Pearl of the Dolomites” and the “supermodel of ski resorts” for its sensational setting surrounded by mountains of irresistible beauty. Tonight we dine like VIPs on the best of regional fare.
Cortina D'Ampezzo - Garmisch
Another exhilarating day of writhing hairpins as we cross into the Austrian Tyrol through an archetypal landscape of lush green meadows munched by cows wearing cowbells, quaint villages pinned by church towers, and chalets adorned with pink and purple geraniums. The grandeur builds like a Mozart concierto as we ascend a spectacularly panoramic road to reach the Grossglockner glacier, hemmed spectacularly by razor-sharp mountains.
Finally, cross into Germany for overnight in Garmisch Partenchirchen, the fabled and aristocratic ski resort beneath Germany’s highest peak—the Zugspitze.
Garmisch - Livigno
The kaleidoscope turns full tilt today as we dip and twine through four countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. This truly is the “best of Europe!”
To begin, we spiral up and over several alpine chains to reach Glorenza, a walled medieval town that whisks us back through the centuries. The afternoon then brings the crème-de-la-crème of motorcycling experiences: the iconic Stelvio Pass. This classic of two-wheel touring is the highest road pass on the Italian-Swiss border. The ultima thule of zigzags, voted by ‘Top Gear’ as the finest driving road in the world, it features 48 hairpins one on top of the other.
Exhilarated after our snaking climb up… up… up the north face, we then corkscrew down to the Italian ski resort of Livigno.
Enjoy a full day relaxing in Livigno, a duty-free town with great shopping. Or indulge in a spa treatment, or get your exercise Nordic walking in the high mountains.
Livigno - Chiavenna
On the eleventh day, we cross the Italian Alps via the Gavia and Aprica passes - yet more thrilling steep-angled twisties and hairpins - and descend through the Valtellina valley, famous for its unique gastronomy and cherry-scented Rosso di Valtellina wines. We arrive, elated, in Chiavenna, a delightful old mountain town with a time-warp of medieval cuteness. Famous for its crotti-food cellars built into rockfalls - Chiavenna is a gourmand’s Nirvana: local specialties include black cherry soup, chestnut dumplings in chicken broth, and polenta taragna.
Chiavenna - Andermatt
Another dopamine day leads up and over five magnificent alpines passes that together serve up a delicatessen of great mountain roads as we make our way north into Switzerland. We’ll lean through hairpin curves, scroll through sublime arcs, and gasp at breathtaking mountain panoramas. Talk about an unforgettable roller-coaster!
At the end of the day, we arrive in Andermatt. A famous ski resort surrounded in summer by vast green meadows and snow-tipped peaks, it has all the charm you’d expect of a Swiss alpine village.
Andermatt - Milano
Our final day to enjoy classic mountain contours takes us up and over the Gotthard Pass (2.016 m.); the southern side - the Tremolastrasse - is cobbled, the road writhing downhill in tight coils like a snake. We’ll then ride through Bellinzona, famous for its hat-trick of medieval castles, Renaissance churches, and charming piazzas.
We’ll reenter Italy and ride along the shore of Lago Maggiora to Stresa and Arona, with their gorgeous belle époque mansions. From here, it’s a short ride into Milan and the end of our fantastic adventure.
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