Cycling Italy

it-lgflag.gif Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro
Population: 58.1 million
Food: Pizza, pasta
Drink: Morning espresso

Italy is right up there with France as one of those classic cycling destinations.

There are so many areas to explore and each one has its own flavour. From the German-speaking areas in the north to the beach resorts on the Adriatic, from the heart-pumping Dolomite mountains to more relaxed pedalling around the flat rice fields of the Po River Delta, there really is something for everyone.

Nearly at the topWherever you go in Italy, one thing is guaranteed: fantastic food, coffee and wine. Staying well nourished in Italy is a cyclist’s delight with so many good pizzas and pastas to choose from, followed up by a cold gelato for desert.

Our journey took us from Briancon in France, over the Col de Montgenevre and into Pinerolo. From there, we cycled through corn and rice fields to Pavia, before turning north through Milan and up the side of Lake Garda. There we joined a marvellous cycle path all the way to Bolzano and across to the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy briefly in early summer 2007. Then, after going through eastern Europe, we returned to Italy from Austria in August. From the largely German-speaking area of Trentino Alto Adige we rode all the way down the Adriatic coast to just south of Ancona and the very traditional area of Le Marche.

Our Italian ‘Must Pedal’ List

1. Dolomite mountains
2. Via Claudia cycle path
3. Ancona to Portonovo
4. Le Marche
5. Ravenna and Verona, gorgeous cities

And to avoid…
1. Adriatic coastline in August
2. Expensive Lake Garda and its busy roads
3. Po Delta during hot weather

Cycle lanes in BolzanoGOOD ROADS, FREE MAPS
Italian roads are in good shape but it’s sometimes difficult to find low-traffic routes. Even roads that looked to be secondary routes on our map sometimes turned out to be filled with bumper-to-bumper cars and heavy trucks. There are a few cycle paths around, notably the Via Claudia which is signed all the way to Verona and a dedicated cycle path for almost the entire distance from the Austrian-Italian border to just south of Trento. On the Adriatic coast the traffic was heavy but there were good shoulders for most of the way. We were travelling in the peak holiday season so off-season cycling might be more tranquil.

We used free maps from tourist bureaus for the first few days. In Milan we picked up a 1:300 000 atlas covering northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of France. It also has helpful larger scale maps of Europe and Turkey. Campsites are marked, helpfully quite close to their actual locations (not just as a general sign next to a town name, as Michelin maps mark campsites). The map is published by Studio F.M.B. Bologna. We also had the Lonely Planet cycling guide to Italy, which gave good ideas for routes but is now a bit outdated in terms of prices since it was published in 2003.

Amazing view from Seiser Alm

What we didn’t like about Italy was the price. We were frustrated by expensive campgrounds, hotels that rarely if ever had rooms for less than 75 euros a night and internet access costing up to 9 euros an hour! Only coffee made us smile as it was possible to find a good espresso or cappuccino for just over a euro. A meal in a pizza restaurant would run about 15 euros a person. Self-catering is a must if you want to do Italy on a budget. We also had a few experiences with tourist bureaus who maintained it was “impossible” to get places by bike.
A mountain top lake
Finding water was another concern. Water fountains in the Alps coming over from France didn’t seem to be as common as in other parts of Europe. We had an almost daily hunt for water. Tourist bureaus often offered to fill our bottles from their private bathrooms, however we had to time our visits with their slightly irregular hours! A water filter would be handy in the mountains, when you also need to take extra water for the climbs and stock up on food too, especially if you are travelling outside the peak months of July and August. We found many businesses closed and towns deserted in June in the Alps and Dolomites.

Although wild camping is illegal in Italy, we camped without problems a few times. This was easiest in the mountains and we also had luck camping behind the numerous chapels alongside the road. Campgrounds are only common in the very touristy areas like Lake Garda and like everything else in Italy they are pricey. Count on 15-30 euros for a tent and two people, depending on the season and area.


  1. Rowena
    11th July 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi Friedel & Andrew
    We’re about to head over to Italy in September – but with only 5 weeks, we’re trying to cram alot into a short time so we’ll be using the trains quite a bit to cover major distances between cities.

    In your experience is it worth booking the trains ahead of time via the web?

    It sounds like we’ll be stuck using only regional/local trains which accept bikes – and since we need to buy the bike ticket locally it hardly seems worth the cost of a Eurail pass.

    Any reccommendations tips re booking our bikes on trains?

  2. friedel
    11th July 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    You can take some night trains, and I know they go to Italy. Google for ‘City Nightline’. That would let you cover a big distance in one overnight trip. Most of them take bikes. The earlier you book, the cheaper the prices. If you just want to slowly ‘hop’ across Europe, there’s probably not much point in booking ahead. Most local and regional trains will have several departures a day.

  3. Jordana
    8th August 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Hi guys – Thanks so much for all the helpful advice regarding Italy. Your site is great.

    So i have about two weeks to cycle from Pula, Croatia to Toulon, France for a wedding.. I plan to cycle as far as I can, then take a train if necessary.

    Do you have a good route recommendation? I’m really wondering the best way to get across northern Italy and into France.

    Thanks for any advice!


  4. J and C
    21st August 2013 at 2:56 am #

    We are planning to cycle from southern Germany to Florence. Anyone knows about a free road map?

  5. Giovanni
    13th September 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Living myself in the Italian Alps since birth but having extensively travelled for business and pleasure in many foreign countries I was amazed reading of your problem with water .
    You can find public fountains in every Aplne village in Italy as in France or Switzerland.
    Cows was the main income source for mountain people until few decades ago when tourism industry boomed.Every alpine village had at least one water fountain originally built for the cows.
    This is easily confirmed by the fact that most cyclists here carry just one 500 cl water bottle on their bikes.
    Yet I agree camping sites are expensive here.

  6. Gabriele
    29th January 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    I think it’s wonderful to visit italian cities by bike. We have one of the best country in the world, incredible sea, sun and lovely people. That’s why we decided to build, an online marketplace where people can rent quality bikes from like-minded people. So you’ll be able to meet a new friend that can give you suggests and tips to decide your next adventure!

    Italy is definitly one of the best place to visit with a bike.

  7. jordans
    9th February 2022 at 1:35 pm #

    My spouse and i were absolutely fulfilled that Ervin managed to conclude his investigations while using the precious recommendations he made from your very own weblog. It is now and again perplexing to just always be giving out helpful tips that many most people may have been selling. And we also take into account we have got the writer to appreciate for that. The entire explanations you made, the easy website menu, the friendships you can assist to create – it’s many remarkable, and it is making our son and the family reckon that the topic is exciting, which is certainly extraordinarily mandatory. Many thanks for everything!

  8. off white
    9th February 2022 at 1:36 pm #

    Thanks a lot for providing individuals with remarkably terrific chance to read in detail from here. It is often very lovely and also stuffed with amusement for me personally and my office acquaintances to search the blog at a minimum thrice in one week to study the latest guides you will have. Not to mention, I’m so certainly fascinated considering the good opinions you give. Certain 4 facts in this article are definitely the most suitable we have all ever had.

  9. off white hoodie
    9th February 2022 at 1:41 pm #

    I simply desired to appreciate you again. I am not sure what I would have created without these strategies provided by you relating to such a concern. It had become a very troublesome circumstance in my opinion, however , seeing your skilled tactic you treated the issue took me to cry for fulfillment. Now i am happier for this support and even hope you recognize what an amazing job that you’re providing instructing other individuals thru your websites. I know that you have never encountered all of us.

  10. hotshot bald cop
    26th April 2022 at 5:46 am #

    I didn’t know that.

  11. cheap curry shoes
    24th July 2022 at 9:39 am #

    I want to show my thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular circumstance. Right after surfing around throughout the the web and getting tips which were not pleasant, I figured my life was well over. Existing minus the answers to the problems you’ve solved by means of your good posting is a serious case, as well as the kind that would have negatively affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered your website. Your ability and kindness in playing with the whole lot was valuable. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a thing like this. I am able to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot very much for the professional and result oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to recommend the sites to anybody who needs and wants direction on this subject matter.

  12. bape sta
    1st August 2022 at 8:17 pm #

    Thanks for every one of your efforts on this site. My aunt really loves conducting investigations and it is easy to see why. We notice all about the compelling way you deliver very helpful tips via the website and therefore inspire contribution from other ones about this situation plus our favorite girl is without question starting to learn a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You are conducting a useful job.

  13. kyrie irving shoes
    1st August 2022 at 8:18 pm #

    I precisely desired to say thanks all over again. I’m not certain the things I might have used without the type of suggestions provided by you on my topic. It was actually an absolute depressing crisis for me, nevertheless encountering a new expert form you solved the issue took me to leap over gladness. Extremely happier for your work and thus expect you realize what an amazing job you were doing training some other people using your site. I am certain you’ve never come across any of us.

  14. supreme new york
    26th October 2022 at 7:15 am #

    I truly wanted to make a simple message so as to express gratitude to you for those remarkable items you are giving here. My time intensive internet investigation has finally been paid with incredibly good facts and techniques to share with my family and friends. I would express that most of us visitors actually are quite blessed to dwell in a wonderful place with so many awesome professionals with insightful principles. I feel quite fortunate to have discovered your entire web pages and look forward to some more exciting minutes reading here. Thanks again for all the details.

  15. off white nike
    26th October 2022 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m also commenting to let you understand of the remarkable discovery my friend’s girl obtained reading yuor web blog. She even learned many details, most notably what it’s like to have an amazing giving mindset to have certain people clearly fully understand specified extremely tough things. You actually exceeded our own expectations. I appreciate you for displaying these beneficial, trusted, informative and cool thoughts on the topic to Jane.

  16. westbrook shoes
    28th October 2022 at 8:02 pm #

    Thanks for your entire hard work on this site. Gloria take interest in conducting research and it’s simple to grasp why. We know all relating to the dynamic means you present great tricks via the website and in addition inspire contribution from some other people about this situation and our own daughter is now learning a lot. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. Your doing a powerful job.

  17. off white jordan
    28th October 2022 at 8:04 pm #

    I have to get across my love for your kind-heartedness giving support to individuals that really want help with this subject. Your special dedication to passing the message along came to be particularly beneficial and has in every case enabled most people much like me to get to their dreams. Your own informative help and advice indicates this much a person like me and substantially more to my peers. Thanks a ton; from everyone of us.

  18. kyrie 9
    30th October 2022 at 6:17 am #

    I have to express my appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this type of circumstance. Right after browsing through the search engines and meeting strategies that were not productive, I was thinking my entire life was done. Existing without the presence of answers to the issues you have resolved as a result of your post is a crucial case, as well as the ones that would have in a negative way damaged my career if I hadn’t discovered your website. Your understanding and kindness in taking care of almost everything was useful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a point like this. I’m able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thank you very much for your skilled and results-oriented help. I won’t be reluctant to refer the blog to any individual who ought to have care on this topic.

  19. supreme hoodie
    3rd November 2022 at 7:14 am #

    I’m writing to make you know what a awesome experience my friend’s child obtained viewing the blog. She came to understand several things, including how it is like to have an excellent teaching style to make many more effortlessly know precisely certain hard to do issues. You undoubtedly did more than her expectations. Thank you for giving the beneficial, trusted, educational and also fun tips about your topic to Tanya.

  20. paul george
    3rd November 2022 at 7:14 am #

    I simply wanted to appreciate you once again. I do not know what I would have undertaken in the absence of those secrets contributed by you relating to that subject. It seemed to be the horrifying dilemma for me, nevertheless observing your expert form you processed the issue took me to weep over contentment. I am grateful for your support and in addition sincerely hope you comprehend what a powerful job you are providing training many others using your blog. Most likely you haven’t encountered all of us.

  21. kd 14
    5th November 2022 at 9:54 am #

    I wish to voice my respect for your kind-heartedness supporting those people who really need guidance on this important concern. Your real commitment to passing the solution all-around appears to be quite powerful and have enabled people just like me to arrive at their aims. Your warm and friendly advice entails much to me and substantially more to my mates. Thanks a lot; from each one of us.

  22. supreme clothing
    6th November 2022 at 10:53 am #

    I have to point out my love for your kindness giving support to those people who absolutely need help on your idea. Your very own commitment to getting the solution throughout came to be unbelievably valuable and have frequently encouraged individuals much like me to get to their aims. The useful publication signifies much a person like me and somewhat more to my colleagues. Regards; from all of us.

  23. bape official
    9th November 2022 at 1:27 pm #

    I want to show my love for your kind-heartedness in support of those people who really want guidance on this one idea. Your special commitment to passing the solution all around had been amazingly informative and have continually helped girls just like me to realize their pursuits. Your personal warm and friendly guide indicates much a person like me and further more to my mates. Warm regards; from everyone of us.

  24. kd12
    15th November 2022 at 10:29 am #

    I want to express thanks to you just for bailing me out of this scenario. Just after looking out throughout the online world and meeting methods that were not powerful, I figured my entire life was well over. Being alive without the approaches to the issues you’ve solved by means of this guideline is a serious case, and ones that could have adversely affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed your website. Your personal skills and kindness in touching the whole thing was crucial. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t encountered such a thing like this. I’m able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for the impressive and amazing help. I will not hesitate to recommend the sites to any individual who should receive guidelines about this topic.

  25. ggdb outlet
    15th November 2022 at 10:30 am #

    I have to point out my respect for your kindness giving support to people that require guidance on this particular idea. Your real commitment to getting the solution along became extremely beneficial and has consistently made associates like me to attain their desired goals. This important recommendations denotes a great deal a person like me and much more to my peers. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  26. yeezy shoes
    29th November 2022 at 10:22 pm #

    I would like to show some thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this type of trouble. Right after exploring throughout the the web and meeting basics which were not pleasant, I believed my entire life was done. Being alive without the answers to the issues you’ve sorted out through your entire guideline is a serious case, as well as the kind which may have negatively damaged my career if I had not come across your website. Your primary mastery and kindness in taking care of all the pieces was crucial. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a thing like this. I am able to at this moment relish my future. Thanks so much for your high quality and amazing help. I won’t think twice to propose your blog to any individual who should receive counselling about this situation.

Leave a comment