Camping in the rain is no fun, but packing up in the rain is worse. The rain continued until about 6 am and we all got up at just after 7 to pack up before it started again.
We are headed southeast to see the Republic of San Marino, but will stay in Italy in the beach town of Rimini.
The route was again on the small roads thru small villages and over the mountains. Luckily all the passes here were open!
We stayed in a great hotel recommended by Enzo. The owner is also a biker named Enzo and the staff are super welcoming and the hotel biker friendly. They ran out when we drove up and opened the gate to the parking and insisted we park inside the basement. Here we also could hang up our tent to dry out. They were so interested in the trip that by the time we had showered and headed out to get something to eat they had already checked out our web site. Thank you to Enzo, Chiara, and Cindia for making feel at home.
This place must really get crazy in summer. The umbrella stations on the beach are unreal. The seaside main drag is lined with restaurants and shops selling liquor and beach ware.
Rimini is a very historic city since it was one of the most important Roman cites. The historic centre is small, but some off the walls, the main city gate an the first century bridge of Tiberius still remain.
“The Bridge of Tiberius (Italian: Ponte di Tiberio) or Bridge of Augustus is a Roman bridge in Rimini, Italy. Construction work started during Augustus’ reign and was finished under his successor Tiberius in 20 AD; an inscription thus calls the structure as “given by both emperors”. The bridge was the only crossing of the Marecchia not destroyed by the retreating German army during the Battle of Rimini and is said to have resisted all attempts at destruction. The bridge is still open to pedestrian and light vehicular traffic.”
We had to make a short detour to get country number 45 in the Republic of San Marino. Arriving to the gates the walled city we found designated free motorcycle parking right next to the police kiosk. The streets of the capital are steep cobbles and mostly pedestrian access only. This is like most of theses enclave “countries” a money haven and full of high end shops. The views are panoramic for sure. We did a chevy chase and headed out.
“San Marino is a mountainous micro-state surrounded by Italy. Among the world’s oldest republics, it retains much of its historic architecture. On the slopes of Monte Titano sits the capital, also called San Marino, known for its medieval walled old town and narrow cobblestone streets. The Three Towers, castle like citadels dating to the 11th century, sit atop 3 of Titano’s neighbouring peaks.”
We still planned to do the small roads back to Florence, but by a different route. This was hampered by some construction and we had to back track from Poppi. It was still a nice ride on a nice day.
Back on the mountain roads towards Florence. The crazy bike guys ride up and down these steep roads! Why is the question.
We arrived to Florence or Firenze as it if known in Italian about 4. We had planned to meet a friend from Seattle who just happens to be in Italy right now. Eva changed her itinerary to meet us here. We jumped on the 800 and braved the crazy traffic of the downtown, The worst part actually is the suicidal scooter drivers who weave in and out of traffic, split the lanes, drive on the sidewalk, and generally follow none of the rules of the road. When you are on two bikes they buzz around you and will almost always cut you off, go between the two bikes, or generally be very dangerous and annoying. That said we made it with out incident and parked the bike easily since you can park a bike almost anywhere except in a crosswalk. It is pretty much a free for all. We did a bit of walking in the historic centre and down to see the Ponte Vecchio or old bridge.
“The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.”
We stopped for some happy hour snacks and some Apersol spritzes. They rain started just after dark and so we headed to base.
We are staying where we are on the public bus line that circles from us to the main bus station and back. This is super convenient and for 1.20E you can get a hassle free ride to the center of the action. Today we had planned to see two of the major sights of the city the Medici chapel and the Duomo or Cathedral.
“The House of Medici was a banking family, political dynasty and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de’ Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century.”
The Medici built themselves an incredible tomb and the chapel is not much to look at on the outside, but is incredibly ornate on the inside.
“The Medici Chapels (Cappelle medicee) are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, and built as extensions to Brunelleschi’s 15th-century church, with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscany”
Relics or very strange ornate holding the bones of the”important” person.
DAY and NIGHT
The Cathedral is the opposite as it is fairly plain inside , but the exterior is very colorful. Entry to the church is free, but to see the crypts or climb the 430 stairs to the dome is 15E. We thought 45$ we too rich for us, but even at that price the lineup was long to get tickets.
“The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completed structurally in 1436. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white.”
The afternoon we spent wandering the old narrow streets. There are certainly lots of tourists here!
On the hillside on the bank opposite the city is the Piazza di Michelangelo and is “the” spot to watch the sunset in Florence. The crowds had staked out their spot on the railing or on the large staircase several hours before, There was a party mood with people eating boxes of pizza and drinking wine and beer from the bottles. The sun set was stunning over the Ponte Vecchio. The night shots of the Cathedral and the bridge pretty awesome.
The main attraction of Florence is that it was the epicentre of the Renaissance and as such its largest museum the Uffuzi hold the Medici collection of renaissance art.
“The building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, “offices”. Over the years, more sections of the palace were recruited to exhibit paintings and sculpture collected or commissioned by the Medici. After the house of Medici was extinguished, the art treasures remained in Florence by terms of the famous Patto di famiglia negotiated by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress; it formed one of the first modern museums. The gallery had been open to visitors by request since the sixteenth century, and in 1765 it was officially opened to the public.”
There are several famous pieces, but the building itself is stunning. The painted ceilings of the great halls are incredible.
We retreated to base for a rest after so much culture. We also had found a near by self serve laundry and so today is the best day of the week “when all your clothes are clean!”. We hopped on the 800 at 745 and drove the 5 km down to the Ponte alle Grazie bridge beside the Ponte Vecchio to catch the sun setting at 820 and then get a few night shots as well.