The Museum of Vespa (and much more)

Tuscany has many symbols known all over the world: cities like Florence or Siena, areas like the Chianti, the Mugello or the Val d’Orcia, monuments as the Leaning Tower or the Ponte Vecchio, people like Leonardo da Vinci or Dante… But there is one symbol that not everybody knows that was born here, in Tuscany, too: the Vespa.

New Museum (2018)

Piaggio has made a great effort and in 2018 the new Piaggio Museum, completely restored and renewed, has been inaugurated. The museum is located right into the historical Piaggio factory in the city of Pontedera (between Florence and Pisa), a huge structure raised in the 1920’s, where the most famous scooter of the world was born and became a symbol of the industrial boom after WWII in Italy and Europe.

Even if the museum is enormous (around 5.000 sqm), very nice, clean, very complete and well maintained, (take note) the entrance to the museum is FREE! I personally think it’s a very good idea. So there are no excuses, this is an important stop when you visit Tuscany you can’t miss.

 

Vespa but not only

Obviously, the biggest part of the museum is dedicated to the Vespa scooter. You will find all kind of Vespas, old models, classics, new models, special customizations, limited editions, artistic versions from Dalì, Picasso… All presented in a very elegant and colourful way.

But there is much more, in the museum you’ll see around 250 units including other vehicles from the brands of the Piaggio group like: Aprilia, Gilera and Moto Guzzi that together have won 104 World championships in different categories (SBK, Trial, Supermoto…). A very interesting area of the museum for all the lovers of the Italian motorcycles and racing.

You will also find pieces of other important activities and vehicles produced by Piaggio such as the famous “Ape” (another Italian symbol) and projects of aeronautics and trains.

We consider this museum definitely worth a visit, you won’t regret it and will surely have good memories of it. And who knows if next stop will be a Piaggio dealer!

Be ready for the adventure!

When you make a motorcycle trip there are many things to prepare: documents, bookings, gear, itineraries, visits, etc… Nowadays there is a new factor that is absolutely important: have all the information you might need on your smartphone. Here below you’ll find 5 apps we recommend you to download before starting your motorbike adventure.

 

1-Google Maps:

Maybe there’s not much to say about it, almost everybody knows it and use it everyday. In my opinion it’s still the best map app. Remember to download the map of the area you are going to so you’ll safe mb’s and it will always work even in areas with poor coverage. I personally use it all the time, even in a normal daily use because of the real time traffic information. 

Download

2-Prezzi Benzina:

Literally “Fuel Prices”. Very useful in Italy for two reasons: 

  1. You’ll find the prices of the gas stations that are near you so you can safe money (sometimes there are huge price differences between gas stations in Italy)
  2. Often it is more important because when you have a few gas, you will find the closest gas station to your position, it saved me / my customers a couple of times!

Download

3-Storm Radar:

I knew about his app thanks to a customer. We were near the Lake Trasimeno and a storm was coming. Thanks to the app we knew when and where it was going to rain. We studied the situation and made a decision… at the end the rain found us and we got to the hotel completely wet, but it was fun! Anyway, I consider it useful in many cases, it will give you more information than just your personal feelings.

Download

4-Rick Steves Audio Europe:

If you are American you probably know perfectly him, but for me it was a great discovery! Some customers from LA showed me this app which is very nice and I loved it since the first moment. Basically it is very complete audio tours with many cities and monuments that we visit during our tours. Highly recommended to have more information regarding the places we visit.

Download

5-Relive:

A very simple and easy app that will produce an impressive result. It allows you to record the trip you are making and then it will produce a very nice video including maps, pictures you have made and information of the trip like total distance, elevation, maximum speed, average speed, etc. I love to use it for our video-souvenirs of our tours.

Download

New year, new adventures!

2018 has just ended, so it’s time to take stock of the situation. It has been a great year for us for many reasons:

  • We had many new customers who are now friends, I would like personally to thank all of them and wish you a great 2019!
  • Our customers seem to be happy with their experience as all the reviews we received are 5 stars!
  • We had many good experiences and adventures, many good things happened during the tours
  • No accidents: this is very important, there were 0 accidents, everybody got home safe and in one piece, maybe some hurt butt!
  • Some little problems but solved quickly: not always everything goes 100% perfect and we obviously had some little situation to manage, but we were able to solve them all (the protagonists will remember haha!)

 

KTM, BMW and Ducati riding on the Futa Pass

 

We are now focused in 2019 with many news:

Our tours for 2019 are already on calendar and bookable, we will offer:

 

 

Riding in the amazing Sorano area

 

Also:

We have new t-shirts you can buy now and are free if you book your tour before February 15th.
We will update soon the rental motorcycles with the new BMW and Ducati models, also we will add more Moto Guzzi models.
We have cancelled the Apennines Tour as it was the one with lower demand.
We feel that 2019 will be a great riding year, we are ready to make you discover our wonderful region, we hope you are ready too!

 

t-shirt
Our 2019 T-Shirt, now for sale!

 

Wish to rent a bike for your tour? This is for you!

When you book a motorcycle tour with us you can choose between coming to Tuscany with your own bike (option that many europeans prefer) or rent a bike in Florence through us. We have almost all the models of BMW, Ducati and some Moto Guzzis. In case you decide to fly to Florence and then rent a bike, here are 5 factors your might consider on your choice:

 

  • Your height: It is very important to make sure the bike is not too big and not too small for you. If the bike is too small, you will not feel comfortable and may have physical issues. If the bike is too big you might have problems at low speeds or during the parking / starting procedure. On our rentals page (https://tuscanymotorcycletours.com/rental-service/) you can see the detail of the seat height for each model (on “additional information” tab). This useful page can also help you on your decision: http://cycle-ergo.com/

 

  • Your riding experience: Obviously this is a very important factor. If you do not have much experience, it is important to rent an “easy” bike: light, simple and not too powerful. If you are starting as a rider it is easier to ride a Ducati Scrambler than a Ducati Multistrada 1260!

 

Tips for your rental motorcycle in Tuscany Ducati and BMW

 

  • Your “motorcycle history”: Do you own a naked bike? A Harley-Davidson? A BMW? Consider the roads we are going to ride have many curves and it is important that you feel safe and with confidence with your rental bike. Tell us what bike do you own and we will let you know which one, in our opinion, fits better.

 

  • The tour duration: Are you interested in booking a one day tour? Two days? Our one full week tour? That definitely makes a difference. For a day tour a naked bike might be a great option for the Tuscan roads. But if you book the week tour (4 to 5 riding hours per day, 1.200 km on one week), in that case we will recommend something more comfortable for you and your pillion (Ducati Multistrada 1260/950, BMW R1200/800GS, BMW R1200RT…).

 

  • Your own preferences! Let’s be honest: a bike choice has a big emotional factor. Did you always wanted to ride a Diavel? Do you dream of making a thousand of italian curves on a red Ducati? Do you wish to try the last BMW model with the finest electronic in the world? Just do it! This is made to enjoy and have fun!

 

Tips for your rental motorcycle in Tuscany – Riding Downhill

Toll and gas station tips, important to know!

Let’s start with a premise: in Italy everything is complicated and different but, once you know how it works, it is easy. So we will give you information and tips to make your motorcycle adventure in Italy easier and simpler.

Tolls in Italy

In Italy the main highways have tolls (AUTOSTRADA). There are some minor free-highways where payment is not required. In the map below you can see the toll-highways (in green) and the free-highways (in blue).

Highway network in Italy

How to recognize if you are in a toll road (autostrada)? Green Color

If you’re on a road indicated with green signs, you’re on an autostrada. If you’re not on an autostrada but are following green signs, they will lead you to the autostrada. If you’re on a road that looks pretty significant but the signs are blue, it’s not an autostrada, and it’s also not a toll road.

How Tolls Work?

When you access to the highway you need to stop and take your entrance ticket. Keep this ticket for all the journey and don’t lose it! In case of lost ticket you will be charged the cost of the highest distance from your exit point (often more than 60 euros). When you leave the highway, stop at the lane for cash or credit card payment (CARTE), insert your entrance ticket, then you will see in the display the amount to pay and then pay with cash or credit card. Either in the entrance or the exit to the highway don’t use the TELEPASS lane, that is only for vehicles that have the TELEPASS contract and machine.

When using a highway in Italy in motorcycle we recommend to have your wallet with you in a closed pocket.

Gas stations in Italy

The gas stations on the autostrada are more expensive.

Since some years in almost all the gas stations you have 2 prices for each fuel type:

  • SERVITO: which means “served”, in this case, the staff will put the fuel on your vehicle and the price is higher (around 0,20 € more per liter)
  • SELF-SERVICE (or fai da te): as the name says you do it on your own. In this case the price is cheaper (today around 1,60 € per liter)
Servito and self service gas station

Fuel types:

On the gas station you will multiple fuel types:

  • Super / Senza Piombo / 95 / 98 / Benzina: All these means the same: PETROL
  • Diesel / Blue Diesel + / Diesel Tech
  • GPL (Liquid Gas)

Make sure you only use the first type for your motorcycle, Petrol!

Payment in the gas stations

Many places will not accept credit cards and some will not even accept debit cards (even if usually they should work). So we recommend to have always with you euros in cash to avoid payment issues.

We hope this information will make your motorcycle holiday in Italy easier!

If during your tour with us you have problems or doubts, our guide will be glad to help you and resolve any problem.

MotoGP: the Best Show in the World!

MotoGP is the most important motorcycle racing championship in the world. This 2018 there will be 19 races all over the world and 2 of them will take place in Italy! On June 3rd in the Mugello Circuit near Florence and on September 9th in the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in the Adriatic coast. For the race in September we have a motorcycle tour that starts in Florence and will make you discover this great event in the best way: riding a motorcycle in the best roads of central Italy.

So, why attending this amazing show with us?

1 Stress-free:

We take care of everything: rental of motorcycle, tickets in stands with good view over the circuit, nice hotels, English speaking guide… You just need to be on Florence the departure date ready to enjoy a great experience!

2 Great roads and no risk to get lost:

The group will be led by an specialist who will make sure you don’t lose the funniest roads to reach the MotoGP circuit and that nobody in the group gets lost. We depart together and arrive together to our destination!

3 New friends:

In the tour you will meet people from all over the world. We will ride together, eat together, have fun together and live an unforgettable experience.

4 Italian passion:

Motorcycle races have a lot of tradition in Italy. Many teams and riders are Italian or are based in Italy. The people live it in a very passionate way, you will be amazed by the ambiance you will see in the track!

5 Valentino Rossi “Il Dottore” at home:

The legend Valentino Rossi is ending his MotoGP career (last year will be 2020) so, if you still haven’t seeing him live, this is one of the last opportunities! Also, the circuit of Misano Adriatico is just a few miles from Valentino’s home, Tavullia, so this is the most important race of the year for him and his fans.

6 Tavullia:

Obviously one of the must of this tour is the visit to Tavullia, the town where Valentino Rossi grew-up and where he has his famous Ranch, the Fan Club and Official Store.

7 San Marino:

We will also visit the Republic of San Marino, a fantastic medieval city in the top of a hill with a breathtaking view over the Adriatic Riviera and the countryside.

8 Arrival and departure in Florence:

The tour starts and finishes in Florence so you will have time to see this world famous Renaissance city which is one of the most spectacular destinations of Europe!

9 Come with your bike or rent one from us:

You can chose if you prefer to reach Florence with your own bike and make the tour with it. Otherwise, come by plane and here you will find a new model of motorcycle waiting for you. For this tour you can chose between a BMW R 1200 GS, BMW F 800 GS or a Ducati Multistrada 1200 (depending of availability).

10 Beach and swimming-pool:

This MotoGP race takes place at the beginning of September so the weather will still be hot. No worries, our hotel in Rimini has a swimming-pool and the Adriatic sea is just 500 meters away, so bring your swimsuit!

Riding a motorcycle in Tuscany

Tuscany is one of the most famous regions in Europe and probably in the World. In 23,000 sq km (8,900 square miles) you will find many famous and interesting places to see. Cities like: Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San GimignanoAreas like: Chianti, Maremma, Val d’Orcia, Mugello… Islands like: Elba, Giglio… Culture legacy from: etruscans, romans, renaissance…

But what does of Tuscany a special place you should explore while you ride a Motorcycle?

1 Roads:

Tuscany has a huge net of countryside roads linking hundreds of little and pretty towns. As hills make up nearly two-thirds (66.5%) of the region’s total area, these roads are full of curves which makes the ride much funnier and enjoyable.

2 Landscapes:

Let’s be honest: the sights in Tuscany are truly special. The countryside, the villas and farmhouses, the sky… They all create a special atmosphere that is unique! On a motorcycle trip in Tuscany you will feel the need to stop each 10 minutes to make a photo!

3 Nature:

Tuscany has a nature diversity known all over the world: the Chianti with its forest and vineyards, the “Crete Senesi” mounts and their grey coloration that gives them an appearance often described as lunar, the Val d’Orcia and the sweet hills with their cypresses, the Maremma and a fantastic sea… And anybody who has ever traveled in a motorcycle knows that the link between the rider and the nature around him is very particular.

4 Land of riders:

Italy and Tuscany are a place where traditionally motorcycles, scooters, riders and champions have a lot of tradition. Many of the Italian champions like Rossi or Dovizioso grew-up riding on the Apennines hills between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Vespa was born in Tuscany (and still have its headquarter). Some of the most famous Italian passes are in Tuscany: Passo della Futa, Raticosa, Giogo, Muraglione, Porrettana, Consuma, Chiantigiana, Massetana… In many of these roads take place every year some exciting road races!

5 Distances:

Tuscany is not too big and not too small. I would say perfect for visiting during a week. That’s time enough to go around all the region without having to make 2 times the same road and seeing every day new and interesting places. A must region to visit if you like nature, beauty, culture, history, gastronomy, wine and first of all… motorcycles!!

If riding a motorcycle is not easy and you need some skills, riding a motorcycle in Italy is much more complex. You need to pay extra attention to everything that surrounds you:

  1. Cars: people drive aggressively, so it is important to anticipate their moves and double check before making your moves. You need to be some kind of “mind reader” of the drivers as they will often not indicate lanes changes, turns, etc. Keep your distance with cars! In these last years the use of cellphones during the drive has become a serious problem in all the world and Italy is not an exception, so this is another reason to pay double attention.
  2. Pedestrians: some times pedestrians will act like the city belongs to them and so you can find them walking in the middle of the street or, after dropping from the bus, they will cross the street in front of the bus (pay attention when you overtake a bus which is stopped dropping passengers!).
  3. Bicycles: another “player” in this jungle. In the cities you can find bicycles on the wrong way, coming from every corner while texting on their phones and passing red lights, so if you see a cyclist on your way keep an eye on him! In the country roads you will find many professional or amateur groups of cyclists, they usually are on their right and go fast but it is always a good advice to keep you eyes open.
  4. Radars: there are MANY radars in Italy and sometimes they’re hidden quite well and they’re positioned in strategic places where you could go too fast (E.g. a road downhill). You will recognize them because normally they are on a grey or orange box on the right of the road. Sometimes, the radar on the opposite lane might work also for your lane.
  5. Roundabouts: here the rule is, the priority is to the one who gets in faster… So pay attention: check, double check, triple check and then get in. Pay attention also to the exit!
  6. Crosswalk: usually Italian drivers very rarely will stop if a pedestrian is in front of the crosswalk. If you are riding a motorcycle, are approaching to a crosswalk and have a car on your back, be careful! The car may think you will not stop, so, if you stop, the car could hit you in the back!
  7. Directions and signs: let’s be clear: signs in Italy sometimes are a shame. In some crosses or roundabouts there are too many, too small and too hidden. It is so easy to get the wrong road and to get lost. This is particularly sad when instead of riding a nice and exciting road you find yourself on an ugly road with traffic jam
  8. Scooter: I will make a post dedicated to scooters another day haha!

So, how a guided tour can make things easier?

With a guided tour many of these problems will disappear and the danger will be much lower. Riding a motorcycle in Italy freely and with no stress following an expert will give you a higher security level. Your interaction with cars will be lower, riding in group will make you more visible, an expert in the area knows almost all the radars positions (saving you potentially a lot of money in fines) so, in two words: just enjoy.