Thoughts on Cycling in Italy

If you are trying to decide where to ride for your first European cycling vacation, do not go to Italy first because if you ride in Italy first you will not want to go anywhere else.

Italy takes first place for the ideal cycling vacation for several reasons.

  • Italy is beautiful, rich in history, and full of both ancient and modern public art
  • The riding can be super hard and the roads are small (which is good). As a comparison, Italian climbs are more difficult than in France, but maybe not as hard as in Switzerland
  • Italians take very serious their food and coffee. It’s really hard find bad food, unlike France or Switzerland
  • The Italian are more friendly, engaging, and passionate for life than most, if not all, Europeans
  • In northern Italy, English is widely spoken; more than in France, Switzerland, and Spain

Italy presents a tyranny of options for uphill riding. The biggest climbs are in the Alps and Dolomites, but there is plenty of climbing in the Apeninnes, the Ligurian coast, and of course Sicily. The rest of Italy has great riding too but for now I’m focusing on only the most hilly parts.

Veloviewer infographic from my 2015 raid on Italy

Veloviewer of Ted's 2015 trip to Italy

Veloviewer infographic from my 2021 raid on Italy

Velo Viewer wheel 2021

Best Italian Climbs