Cycling 12,000 miles from Lisbon to Shanghai
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Italy

  • Miles cycled: 741
  • Feet climbed: 16,684
  • Cycling days: 14
  • Non-cycling days: 5

Rating (1-10) and comments:

  • Road – condition: 8
  • Road – shoulders and cycle lanes: 5
    (Far and few in-between)
  • Road signage: 7
  • Drivers: 6.5
  • Campsites – Availability: 6.5
    (Get an Italian Campsite directory available in most bookshops – there’s not a lot of campsites, but they are evenly distributed throughout the country)
  • Campsites – Facilities/Value: 7
    (Most of the campsites we used have very good facilities but can be quite expensive esp. in peak season. Mozzie repellant ESSENTIAL.)
  • Hotels: 6
    (Not as easy to find in smaller towns… there are Agriturismo B&B style places but these are usually in remote areas, far away from the main roads/towns.)
  • Shops: 8
    (Lots of good supermarkets in most towns)
  • Food: 7
    (I was hoping for massive bowls of pasta, but alas, pasta is usually served as Primi piatti (first course) so you only get a small ration. Plus restaurants have a cover charge – it all adds up!)
  • People: 8.5
    (The friendliest and most helpful bunch by far… Always smiling and greeting you with a “Ciao! Ciao!”)
  • Cost: 5
    (Not helped by the fact that we were here in peak summer season)
  • Scenery: 7
  • Cultural interest: 8
    (What can I say? Florence and Venice… amazing)

Overall: 6.8

General tips:

  • Hotels and campsites were expensive compared to Spain, Portugal and France
  • Restaurants include a cover charge per head which can range from 1€ to 4€. Some trattorias don’t charge this, and in the bigger cities, restaurants waive the cover charge to be more competitive.