Across Italy, April 2023 −  Travels −  Captain Tom

Across Italy, April 2023

A plan that has been in the works for a long time is finally being implemented.

In 2020, we fell victim to the pandemic and now we are finally on our way.

We want to cross Italy lengthwise from Palermo in Sicily in the far south to Genoa in the north.

We will travel to Genoa by van, then take the motorbikes on the ferry to Palermo and then back to Genoa through the provinces of Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Abruzzo, Marche, Umbria and Tuscany. All in all, we ride 2500 motorbike kilometres through very different landscapes and do not spare tourist highlights like the Amalfi Coast.

Especially in the south, hardly a stop goes by without us being addressed in German. Many Italians there have connections to Germany. Most of them worked in Germany for several years, came back and then built up their own existence. Whether it was a bar, restaurant, shop or petrol station - we often got into conversations.

The four of us Tom, Axel, Thomas and Otfried are involved.
1The journey to Genoa

It is a long way from Schwedt or Berlin to Genoa. We travel in two vans. Otfried and Axel together in one and Thomas and I in the other. We make the journey to Genoa in two stages. The stopover is near Nuremberg in Lauf an der Pegnitz.

Thomas and I also make a short detour to the Via Mala gorge in Switzerland.

On the way, we find out that the ferry to Genoa doesn't leave at 11 pm, but rather at three in the night. This delays our arrival in Palermo. In the end, we will arrive in Palermo at three o'clock in the morning and fall into bed at four o'clock in the morning.

All in all, it will take us three days to reach the starting point of the tour near Palermo in Sicily.

We meet Otfried and Axel on the motorway
Weißes Lamm Inn in Lauf an der Pegnitz
We are in Austria
We are in Switzerland
Via Mala Gorge
On the San Bernardino pass we have rain, snow and fog
In Genoa, the motorbikes get unloaded and we get ready for the journey.
At the ferry
Our ferry arrives around midnight
We wait anxiously
The next day we pass by Corsica
Palermo in sight. It is three o'clock in the morning.
2Sicily - Targa Florio

The day belongs to Sicily and the legendary Targa Florio road racing circuit, which is also said to be the source of the Porsche Targa's name. We first visit a museum and then drive larger parts of the race track.

The roads are good but very undulating. The island is a volcano and constantly in motion. There is often road damage. Overall, it is noticeable that there are often restrictions to 30 or even 20 km/h on the country roads. However, hardly anyone obeys them.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_22

Hide map
Visit to the Targa Florio Museum
The owner has a lot to tell
Signs indicate the course of the Targa Florio
First coffee break in the morning. This becomes a fixed routine
Green beautiful landscape on Sicily
Road closed unexpectedly
Lunch in a small village
Sicily - Green beautiful gentle landscape
Nice mountain towns are there
We reach our hotel Agritourismo Borgo Furma. Very simple but also very nice and comfortable
And there is very good food there
3Enna (Sicily)- Scilla (Calabria)

We pass Mount Etna in the north and head towards Catania. From there we continue along the coast to Messina. We take the ferry across to Villa San Giovanni on the tip of Italy's boot in Calabria. We spend the night in a small hotel in Scilla.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_23

Hide map
Morning coffee on a Sunday in a small town in Italy
Smooth scenery
On Sundays, there are also some motorcyclists on the road in Italy.
Mount Etna comes closer and closer.
Lemon tree
Lunch - it is quite warm
We get to the coast
On the other side you can already see the Italian mainland
Ferry arrives
On the ferry
Just before arrival
We enjoy a magnificent sunset in Scilla
View towards Sicily
Stromboli in a distance
4Scilla (Calabria)- Acri (Calabria)

We drive north first along the coast and then into the Sila National Park near Acri.

The endless rows of olive farms, some of them very old, are impressive. In the Sila National Park it becomes surprisingly mountainous and at an altitude of 1500 metres we still discover remnants of snow.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_24

Hide map
Morning flight in Scilla - the town is very conveniently situated on a cliff
Along the coast we start
In an olive farm
Olive farm
We find a great spot for morning coffee. Through a tunnel of leaves...
... under a canopy of flowers
We stay close to the coast
Olive farms everywhere
Lunch with a funeral party
The hearse looks great
In the Sila National Park on Lago Avro there are endless curves
The petrol station attendant has worked in Germany for many years
Italian pizza for dinner
5Acri (Calabria)- Potenza (Basilicata)

We leave the tip of the boot and continue through the Pollino and Appenino National Parks to Potenza in the province of Basilicata.

The weather is moderate but it does not rain. The highlight is certainly lunch. It is a bank holiday and we unexpectedly find ourselves in a banquet with a ballroom, band and dance floor. We are completely misplaced there, but are welcomed nevertheless and get good Italian pasta for lunch on the side of the party.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_25

Hide map
High mountains in a distance
Morano Calabro
People watching us leave after the coffee break. An elderly lady had her photo taken with us and we were also addressed in German in this village.
Road blocked due to landslide
Ballroom for lunch
We get first taken to a table in the ballroom....
...but then moved to an adjoining room...
...and get best Italian food
In the evening I notice air loss at the rear tire. It gets repaired immediately
The glass shard was the culprit
Dinner in Potenza is rather simple - The cook of the pizzeria speaks to us again in German. He has spent some years in Hannover
6Potenza (Basilicata)- Mercogliano (Campania)

Out of the Apennines and towards the Amalfi Coast. We first drive through the Monti Picentini Regional Park, then past Salerno to the Amalfi Coast. Then we cross the ridge towards Naples, look at Vesuvius and immediately turn inland again.

The day brings quite a lot of town crossings and plenty of traffic. But we are compensated by magnificent views.

The roads are surprisingly slippery. Several times my ABS kicks in when braking in stop-and-go traffic in the suburbs of Naples (Pompei and Agri).

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_26

Hide map
At the beginning a beautiful mountain town Muro Lucano
Otfried is impressed too
We get into Campania
In the Regional Park Monti Picentini the road becomes narrower and narrower
Here it becomes a bit inappropriate for us. Otfried explores the further course of the road and we decide that a continuation is possible. The road quickly gets better again.
To the Amalfi Coast
Magnificent view
Mittagessen im Freien
The dachshund wants to play. He is well trained to catch the lemon and bring it back
Austrian Goldwings go ahead on the Amalfi Coast
Portofino looks beautiful...
... but is totally overcrowded and it goes only stop-and-go
Portofino from a distance
Nice view
Fruit stand with huge lemons
Stop-and-go in the suburbs of Naples (Pompei and Agri)
View of Vesuvius and the places in front of it
Vesuvius and to the left the island of Capri
The hotel in the evening is very luxurious and offers great dinner.
Main course
7Mercogliano (Campania)- Popoli (Abruzzo)

It continues through Molise into the Abruzzo more on the right side of the boot.

Highlight of the day is mom, who cooks in a small mountain town especially for us and powerfully serves up. This is a great experience.

The Hotel Bellavista in the evening turns out to be a Bed&Breakfast. No dinner. We let deliver and enjoy the great rooms and the actually beautiful view.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_27

Hide map
Morning coffee in a somewhat special bar
Illegal parking also works with police
Bagnoli del Trigno ahead. Here a surprise awaits us for lunch.
Mom cooks and serves up...
...and serves up...
...and serves up...
...and serves up.
We have had enough of the bumpy roads and change road class. Here it goes briskly forward into the Abruzzi
Bellavista in the evening
8Popoli (Abruzzo) - Perugia (Umbria)

We stay away from Rome in the west and continue to Perugia.

In the morning we pass L'Aquila, which was badly damaged by an earthquake a few years ago. Fortunately there is hardly any damage to be seen. This is different a little later in the mountain villages below the Forca die Presta, a surprisingly beautiful pass in the Monti Sibillini National Park.

Perugia surprises on the one hand with the hotel and on the other hand with the old town on a mountain. The Chocohotel follows the theme of chocolate consistently and very opulently. Already at check-in you get a small bar of chocolate and everywhere there are references to the theme. Very nice. The old town of Perugia on the mountain can be reached by moving staircases. We find a small pizzeria there and have a good dinner.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_28

Hide map
Breakfast at B&B Bellavista
The nice view
The nice view
We come to the area of L'Aquila
High mountains ahead
We visit an ancient amphitheater
Earthquake damage in the mountain villages below Forca di Presta
Earthquake damage
Forca di Presta
Forca di Presta
Italy as a wood
We move from Marche to Umbria
In this village there are some restaurants and we stop there for lunch
View to the mountains
Chocohotel in the evening. Chocolate everywhere
Chocolate shop
Chocolate shop
Bed cover
On the way to the historic center of Perugia
Perugia Market Square
9Perugia (Umbria) - Pisa (Tuskany)

We move on to Pisa in Tuscany. Relatively much traffic but gentle and beautiful landscape. Just Tuscany.

The evening belongs to Pisa and of course we look at the leaning tower and the old town.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_29

Hide map
The morning in the Chocohotel
Breakfast offers
Breakfast offers
Breakfast offers
We first drive through the Lago Trasimeno Regional Park and drive around the lake
Smooth scenery
Show-off car in Pisa
Piazza di Miracoli with Battistero di San Giovanni, Cattedrale di Pisa und Campanile (Leaning tower of Pisa)
We are approaching the tower
Medieval characters
The four of us on the city wall (Otfried, Axel, Thomas, Tom)
View to the piazza
We decide to walk along the city wall. A mistake. The next descent is quite far away and we have to walk a lot.
Along the wall
Dinner in the old city
The tower at night
10Pisa (Tuskany)- Genoa (Liguria)

We touch Carrara, famous for its marble, and enter Liguria. After La Spezia we drive above the coast of Cinque Terre on the extremely winding and beautiful road SS21 and see many Italian motorcyclists.

In the early afternoon we are back in Genoa and pack the motorcycles back into the vans.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Karte 2023_04_30

Hide map
Marble everywhere
Orange trees on the side of the road
We have some fun with the owners of the bar where we drink the morning coffee
Above the coast in the mountains
We find a small restaurant La Pecora nera (The Black Sheep)....
... and get a last time good Italian food for lunch
Back in Genoa the motorcycles get loaded
There was still a bet open.
Axel drinks prosecco out of his boot
He does that quite bravely
Well done
11The journey back

While Otfried and Axel drive the Genoa-Schwedt route without stop, Thomas wants to spend another week in the Italian mountains.

We continue to a very nice hotel near the French border. The next day he drops me off at the airport in Nice, where his wife arrives and I board a flight to Berlin.

In the early afternoon both I and the bike are back in Berlin.

Great hotel in the mountains
From the outside
Princes room
Restaurant (very fancy)
Good food
Good food
Guide Michelin mentions
Departure from Nizza
View to Nizza
View to Monaco
Arrival in Berlin
Motorbike is back as well

Find here a summary of the routes taken

Karte 2023_04_italien