Italy has many well-known sights, from mountain ranges, volcanoes, valleys, and towers to magnificent coastlines overlooking choppy seas. Still, a journey into the country’s deep unknown southern region comes along with surprises.
Riding Italy’s Backbone
The pass sign indicates “Vado di Sole.” This means something like “The way to the sun.” I’m standing on a cleared road, and everything to the left and right is covered in five inches of fresh snow from the night. Behind the pass, the view opens onto a high plain that reminds me of Tibet. This is not southern Italy as I expected. Traveling 1,500 miles from Germany at the end of April, you count on a much warmer climate compared to central Europe. My Ducati Hyperstrada is even packed with swimming gear. Pure miscalculation.
Let’s go back. The Italian journey starts in Bologna, a city famous for its architecture and for red motorcycles. Bologna is the hometown of Ducati. After a visit to the factory halls to watch how this piece of high-end technology is assembled, I’m on my own. All of Italy is at my disposal. Bologna is located in the fertile and culturally rich plains of the river Po, but just south of it are the Apennine Mountains. Like a backbone, they stretch from here all the way to the southern end of the country. They will become my way.