Shifting Gears in Italy: Journeys by Vespa

There are many ways to experience Italy; by private jet, helicopter lifts, and a raging convertible too. If you’re blessed with time, the ultimate Italian adventure might be just as memorable by scooter. In fact, you’ll find a wonderful collection of vintage Vespas that can be rented - and if you still prefer the stability of four wheels to hold your luggage, the original is available in a variety of colours. 

by Eleonora Betesh and Madison Hollande

 

Sicily
One of the most beautiful regions of Italy is undoubtedly Sicily, and also offers many opportunities to explore the land and its people while on the back of a scooter. It is impossible to experience the island of forgotten princes in one go, yet the south-eastern side is a great place to start. The mountaintop town of Taormina is the perfect starting point for a getaway across the countryside that extends to Mount Etna and the resort towns along the gorgeous coast. To get the most of the experience, choose the state and countryside roads as opposed to the fast-paced motorway. Each town is full of breath-taking views, Mediterranean blue waters and family-run eateries that serve authentic Sicilian food. The Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea serves a wonderful lunch menu and a selection of crisp, white wine that can be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the protected bay. If you’re in search of a unique dinner spot with true home cooking, Trattoria Il Barcaiolo is the address.

shutterstock 305701283Sicily, Italy

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Tuscany
One of the most authentic ways to experience Tuscany is by Vespa, complete with a picnic and enough space to purchase some lovely wines from the local vineyards along country roads. Don’t miss a cruise through the Chianti region through San Gimignano for amazing views. The Barone Ricasoli winery (Castello di Brolio) is the oldest in Italy, and has been under continuous cultivation for more than 1,500 years – wines produced here have passed the palettes of Romans and Etruscans. Aside from being the largest winery in the Chianti region, it is here that the Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the Chianti formula in 1892. Head south of Siena to the picturesque regions of Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza, where talented chefs run creative kitchens that serve Tuscan dishes in a rustic setting. The countryside scenery and aroma rising from the vineyards are purely intoxicating.

tuscany-1977127Tuscany, italy

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Franciacorta
Winding country roads with perfectly manicured fields and vineyards; Franciacorta is a magical destination for a trip. It is also Italy’s famous sparkling wine region, located between the lovely Lake Iseo and sophisticated city of Brescia. Franciacorta has a strong connection with the monastic institutions whose inhabitants cultivated the land before the year 1000; in fact, females from the San Salvatore monastery were the most active cultivators. We highly recommend several stops for wine tastings, tours and purchases for scenic meals. You can easily pass the weekend in this part of Italy, especially come spring, where charming villages show off their gardens and overflow with rivers. If you haven’t arranged lunch at a winery, you can book a table for lunch or dinner at either VistaLago Bistrò or LeonFelice located at L’Albereta Relais & Chateaux – feast your eyes on aesthetic dishes, linger on impressive wines and simply take in the spectacular views.

Franciacorta PhotoFranciacorta, Italy

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Campania
This region in southwest Italy is full of ancient ruins and dramatic mountain landscapes that merge with beautiful beaches. Home to more than just the Amalfi Coast, Campania offers plenty to see as you slowly tour the region by scooter. Of course, a drive along the narrow and curvy roads of Amalfi is a must-do, once in a lifetime experience. Drive inland along the country roads where Mount Vesuvius is sure to follow and creep into every photo. Head to the towns of Falerno del Massico and Sannio to try the region’s Falanghina wines, or head south and visit the gardens of Ravello. A visit to the 18th century Royal Palace of Caserta provides a glimpse into long-ago royalty, and the aqueduct park of Vanvitelli built by Charles of Bourbon boasts significant architectural value - so much so, the entire complex of palace and aqueduct were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head to the town of Nola for dinner at Bertie’s Bistrot; for the vintage atmosphere, the authentic cooking and wine list that promises to be a sensory experience.

palaceofcasertaPalace of Caserta, Campania

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