Vignettes in Tuscany

After crossing the Cols from France into Italy (http://piecemealadventurer.com/2022/09/06/three-col-passes-to-italy/) I headed south to the Mediterranean coast and then east to Tuscany as I had a little time before I wanted to be at Lake Como.

From Savona to Lavante the road winds from coastal Mediterranean and over the headlands and through the sprawling city of Genova.

How lucky was I when this lovely young Swiss couple couple asked my to join them for dinner in Trigosa.

Next day it was a long ride along the coast to Tuscany and the village of Altopascio.

Murals around the town mark that the village is a stop on the pilgrim trail with many walkers in the village.

A day in Florence gave me a taste of the beautiful city and a plan to return.

Over the mountains from Altopascio is the other iconic Tuscan city of Bologna. Famous for inventing Bolognese sauce, lasagne and mortadella so a city famous for its food and for its porticos.

And towers

Bologna is on of the oldest cities in Europe and home to Europe’s first university. In many ways Bologna is still a university city.

But it’s history shows through with Roman artefacts all around like this statue in the corner of the entrance to the University Law School.

And of course Bologna is the home of Ducati. The other great Marque in the north of Italy.

From Tuscany it was a pleasant day ride over the mountains to Lake Como

And the story from Lake Como you have already read.

The 100th Anniversary of Moto Guzzi at Mandello de Lario

Dear friends and followers this post is an unabashed dedication to Moto Guzzi. My Brevas have carried me faultlessly for near on 200,000km in Australia and 100,000km in Europe over the last 10 years. Many of you have followed those adventures.

Coming to Mandello in many ways is the culmination of my European Adventure. An adventure that started in 2016 and has taken me from the west coast of Ireland to the Romanian coast of the Black Sea and from the Actic Circle in Norway to the edge of the Sahara in Morocco. And so many places in between.

It was a huge celebration in Mandello. The official estimate is that 60,000 people attended the party.

A celebration of the great marque Moto Guzzi and motorcycling in general. The party had been delayed a year due to the pandemic so everyone was ready to celebrate.

A must view part of a visit to Moto Guzzi is the refurbished museum.

There is even a mighty Breva in the museum.

But the main action was in the streets.

And of course Mandello put on the food and wine.

Absolutely amazing gelato cups

Local wine and Pizza with my mechanic mate Baldrick

And a spit roast oven big enough to roast a whole cow!

Saturday night the music played loud. As the locals and visitors alike tucked into the cow with polenta.

Five amazing years travelling Europe, meeting beautiful people who are now friends. Falling in love in Europe with Europe, guided by the goddess Europa.

Thank you Moto Guzzi the motorcycle marque on the Lake Como, the Lake of Dreams. Happy 100th Anniversary!

In and around Lake Como

I arrived at one of northern Italy’s nicest camp grounds Rivabella in Lecco a couple of days before the start of the Moto Guzzi 100+1 anniversary.

What a view to have every morning.

And every night.

The Moto Guzzi factory is in Mandello del Lario on the shores of Lake Como. The 100th festival ran from 8-11 September. But that’s for the next blog. This one is about the setting.

Lake Como and Mandello del Lario are just beautiful. This was my fourth visit here 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 and each time I’m taken by the beauty.

The Lake is surrounded by high mountains. Mount Muggio is just under 1800 metres high and provides spectacular views of the Lake of Dreams.

It’s a bit of a climb from the carpark. 4.4km return trip and 260 metre elevation climb. But as the video shows worth every step.

My dream to come to the 100th anniversary in Mandello del Lario was the impetuous of 5 years of motorcycle touring adventure in Europe and Morocco.

On my last morning at the camp site it was grey and still and the reflections were sharp on the still water. It’s my last time here. So goodbye Lake of Dreams, dreams can come true!

Three Col (passes) to Italy

From Gorge du Verdon the choice is to head to the French Mediterranean or into the Alps.

I chose the Alps a big U turn into the Alps before crossing to Italy and on to Tuscany.

Before there big passes including the biggest in Europe I couldn’t resist this little one. Every Michael should visit it!

This little Colle sits above the Vale du Verdon

I had followed the Verdon River north toward its source and found a beautiful valley and and the La Colle St Michel.

It’s a remote farming area in France and negotiating the mobs of sheep took me back home to Australia

Then I was up.in the Alps at the Col d Allos

The source of two major rivers in Provence.

And the view!

The next Col though was La Bonette the highest pass is Europe.

Enjoy the view

The weather was looking threatening so it’s was a quick ride with a short stop to take inthe view from the Col de Lombardy, which sits on the France/Italian Border.

I found a little camping in the tiny village of Forani. They had a caravan for hire.

It rained all night, I was snug in a caravan and woke in Italy to amazing views.

The run across Southern France toward Italy

From La Rochelle my next planned destination was Gorges du Verdon. There is a lot of France in between these landmarks.

So let’s have a quick look

I had a card I had picked up years ago for Camping Moto Dordogne. A camping site targeted at bikers.

Lovely shady camp sites amongst the great roads of the Dordogne Region.

There I met Marco (@marcochopperkingz) a French easyrider who marked up my map with a route to the Verdon.

The south of France is beautiful, the small villages, the rivers and the Gorges.

There is a series of 9 motorbike focussed camping places in France my next stop was in the Drome at Le Camping Moto. Another beautiful part of France for riders.

But the best ride in the area was the Combe Laval. An amazing shelf road cut into the cliff face. What a ride.

Then over a misty Col du Machine

And back to Le Camping Moto where a huge BBQ awaited the hungry bikers.

Next stop was Gorge du Verdon and you dear followers have been there with me already.

It was another great ride getting there!