Monday, January 20, 2014

Vineyards to the Sea Inspiration

Many will say the Giro, Tour or Vuelta are as much travel promotion for their respective countries as they are bicycle races. Who can forget the wonderful scenery shots, many of them from helicopters as they follow the race route? We were inspired by the 2009 Giro d'Italia's Stage 12, which you can see HERE via Eurosport's TV coverage.

Heather's family is from this region of Italy, Levanto to be specific and we'd always been enchanted with the cycling possibilities of the area, but were scared off due to the horrendous traffic we so often experienced when visiting the family in Genova.

After enjoying the scenery on this stage, we asked our friend Mauro Mondonico, who then worked with RCS, the Giro organizers, about these roads, specifically the level of traffic, when we met him at the end of the Corsa Rosa in 2009 down in Rome. While the roads are closed during the race, things can be quite different when the same roads are open to the public. Mauro told us these roads had been calm and peaceful every time they'd been up there working on this chrono route, not to mention beautiful. He assured us our clients would enjoy cycling here.

On our way back up to our HQ, we detoured off the autostrada to check out the roads for ourselves, armed with the trusty guide to the Giro put out by Bicisport Magazine. No surprise, Mauro was telling the truth, but we were more surprised about just how great the cycling would be here on the Ligurian coast, even better than the TV images had suggested.

The rest, as they say, is history as we returned later that season to map the routes and visit potential lodgings, eventually creating the current Vineyards to the Sea itinerary. The combination of great wine roads around Asti from our previous Paradise in Piedmont tour, lost when we revamped and shortened it to create Best of Piedmont and these roads in the Appennines down to the coast, makes a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable cycling holiday. Join us to see for yourself!

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