Outdoor-Escapes & a pinch of dolce vita – Ford Weekend Adventures in Italy
Italy's landscape offers a diversity that is second to none. From the mountains in the north with the impressive peaks of the Dolomites, to the vineyards and picturesque coastlines further south, to the offshore islands with their unusual rock formations and beautiful beaches. Wherever your journey in Italy takes you, nature will enchant you and the Italian way of life will quickly put you in the right mood to enjoy the dolce vita to the full.
In this Collection, we present five small adventures which show you some of the most beautiful corners of Italy. They are all perfectly designed for a weekend trip in your own car, as each adventure consists of a slightly longer route, which you can take on a Saturday, for example, and a shorter, more leisurely adventure for Sunday. Of course you can also combine them all and make a fantastic holiday in Italy.
We also sent the adventurer Andrea Schiavina on a discovery Tour of the western Dolomites especially for this Collection. After the Corona lockdown, Andrea couldn’t wait to finally go on Tour again in his beloved Trentino. So he didn't hang around. He packed his hiking and climbing equipment and his mountain bike into the car, forgetting his tent, and set off!
On the first day he planned to visit the not so well-known Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Dolomites, and to prove that it doesn't fall down even if you climb it. After a restful night in the mountains under the clear starry sky, he got back on his mountain bike and went for a ride in the magnificent Val Venegia – the perfect end to this action-packed weekend.
The other adventures we have selected for you in this Collection will take you through the fantastic landscape of the Brenta Dolomites, where one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy is waiting for you to circumnavigate. On your gravel bike, you will ride on the world-famous white gravel roads of Tuscany where many a professional cyclist has enjoyed a good Chianti in the evening after a sweaty day's ride. In the region of Finale Ligure, epic mountain bike descents with fabulous views over the coast await. Sardinia welcomes you with a unique rocky landscape and wonderful white sandy beaches, which tempt you to take a dip in the cool water time and time again.
On all Tours there are great places to stay overnight, so you can put the finishing touches to your adventure. Whether in a safari tent on the coast of Sardinia, under the stars in the middle of the mountains or right at the source of Italy's most famous wine – the nights are at least as unique as the days.
Accommodation: Tent under the starry sky or Camping Fiemme Village, for a little extra comfort
More information on: fiemmevillage.itThe goal of this adventurous tour on the Latemar massif in the Dolomites south-east of Bolzano is to take a photo of the Tower of Pisa which rises to 2,636 meters above sea level.Of course this is not the original Tower of Pisa. The Tower of Pisa in question is an imposing rock formation in the western Dolomites, as leaning as the building located in the famous Tuscan city of art. In this corner of the Dolomites, however, you will find far fewer tourists than in Pisa: one more reason to climb to the top of the tower instead of being satisfied with a perspective photograph "leaning" against the building.It starts from the valley station of the Tresca cable car west of Pampeago, where there is a small car park. The first kilometer is quite easy and free of challenging climbs. Then turn right onto a mountain path from which the climb to the summit begins, which is always in sight from here on. This path allows you to avoid the detour to the Baita della Scofa.Once at the Passo Feudo Refuge, it is recommended to take a short break before tackling the part of the path on the ridge where the slope increases up to 30% - sure-footedness and good training are required. After about 4.4 kilometers of walking, you will reach the Torre di Pisa refuge, ideal for a last break before the final climb.The Leaning Tower of Pisa is hidden among other impressive rocks and is only a few hundred meters further along the ridge. To climb, you need professional equipment, experience and a climbing partner or companion. Of course, climbing the Tower is an extraordinary sensation, but photographing it also has its why. Here there are generally few tourists and taking the classic photo while "leaning" on the Tower will be much easier than in Pisa.Go back on the same road to the Passo Feudo Refuge. From here it is also possible to go down to the valley with the cable car to Residenza, not far from the parking lot.For the night, a tent under the starry sky is recommended. Alternatively, you can stay overnight at Camping Fiemme Village, an excellent intermediate stop before the next adventure.
In the second adventure in Trentino he gets on a mountain bike for a ride around the Castellaz. In the protected natural area of the Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Natural Park, you cycle through the beautiful Val Venegia on well-practicable hiking trails. Over 500 different plant species are found here and the mountain views are simply breathtaking.The starting point of the tour is located in a small parking lot along the Provincial Road 81 which crosses the nature reserve. From here the path heads east through the Val Venegia and follows the course of the Travignolo stream which becomes increasingly narrow with increasing altitude, and then disappears completely into the rock.Following a serpentine of tight hairpin bends, the path climbs up to the Segantini hut. If you wish, here you can eat, drink and sleep, but above all from this position you can admire the wonderful Pala Group, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Dolomites since 2009.For maximum fun, the way back to the car park is all downhill. After the Capanna Cervino refuge, another opportunity to taste the delicious Trentino cuisine, an exciting descent begins. Although the area is open and there is visibility even from a distance it is recommended to pay particular attention to hikers.After six kilometers you reach the parking lot. Near the Capanna Cervino Refuge, for those with an advanced driving technique, it is also possible to take a couple of trails to the left of the itinerary to add a little more adrenaline to the descent. At the end of the tour it is recommended to pay attention to a stretch of about one kilometer on which mountain biking is not officially permitted.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Accommodation: Campsite and bungalows on Lake Molveno
More information on: campingmolveno.it/itAfter a restful night spent in a comfortable bungalow, when you wake up you will find one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy to welcome you: Lake Molveno. For breakfast you can sip your coffee on its banks, while the sun illuminates the mountains from the east revealing the blue and emerald green shades of the lake. Behind you you will see the imposing peaks of the Brenta Dolomites, the scene of your day excursion.Starting from the cable car station you reach the Pradel plateau. Looking down from here you will understand why Lake Molveno is counted among the most beautiful in Italy. But don't get too distracted by the view, because from here to the Pedrotti Refuge, the destination of the excursion, a good 1,150 meters of altitude difference await you on ten kilometers of trail: calculate a good half day's walk.You then follow the path n. 340 in the direction of the Croz dell'Altissimo Refuge. Along the way it is possible to admire the magnificent group of the Brenta Dolomites. If you want to rest your feet and legs, it is worth taking a short break at the Selvata Refuge before climbing to the Pedrotti Refuge. There you will also find a crossroads to shorten the hike and already take the way back, in case you don't have more time for the climb. This saves a good part of the total distance and 800 meters of elevation gain.The ascent to the Pedrotti Refuge is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of this excursion. It is therefore worth gritting your teeth and plunging into the magical alpine world of the Dolomites. If time and energy allow, you can also take a short detour to the Bocca di Brenta Refuge and enjoy the view to the west. You then return on the same path to the Selvata Refuge and from there follow a forest road that descends to Lake Molveno.
The second day in the Brenta Dolomites will be a little quieter. After the difference in altitude of the first day, today's route winds completely around Lake Molveno. During this half-day tour you will be able to admire the majestic peaks that surround the lake, in a breathtaking alpine panorama.The tour starts outside the campsite and proceeds around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction. Depending on the time at which you start the walk, you can follow the course of the sun and warm up with its first rays on the west bank in the morning or admire the sunset from the east bank in the evening.On hot summer days, Lake Molveno also lends itself to a refreshing dip, ideal for a break during this eleven-kilometer hike. So don't forget to bring your swimsuit with you! Around the lake there are not many places to stop outside the village of Molveno: among these there is the Baita ai Fortini di Napoleone which is located almost two kilometers from the start (perfect for breakfast) and the Lago Park Molveno Restaurant not more than two kilometers from the end of the hike (perfect for dinner). For lunch it is advisable to organize a picnic by the lake.
Accommodation: Luxury camping and bungalows in the vineyards
More information on: sienacamping.comGolden sunbeams, aromas with spicy and fruity notes, cypresses and expanses of vineyards: this awaits you in the famous Chianti region. And if that's not enough, you can venture out on a very special bike ride on the white roads of Tuscany, following part of the permanent route of L'Eroica.In case you haven't heard of it yet, L’Eroica is a cycling event for fans of vintage racing bikes. Once a year, around 7,000 heroic cyclists, complete with wool jerseys and leather shoes, meet to pay homage to cycling of yesteryear. Although largely unpaved, the routes can also be tackled with a racing bike, as long as it is equipped with robust and sufficiently wide tires (25 mm and up). Obviously the gravel bike is the most suitable.This loop tour only partially follows the route of L'Eroica, whose original route is over 200 kilometers long. Your adventure starts and ends in Pianella, a town east of Siena. The campsite is about ten kilometers away: it is therefore possible to reach the start of the tour by bike and thus add a few kilometers to the adventure.The tour extends for about 60 kilometers north of Siena and leads to the discovery of countless villages that lend themselves to pleasant breaks. Along the way, you will be able to fully enjoy the Tuscan landscape, which has always been an icon of beauty and a source of inspiration for artists and vacationers. At sunset you can treat yourself to a good glass of Chianti or Montepulciano to end the day in the best possible way.
The second day in Tuscany will lead you to discover the landscape south of Siena. It starts from Piazza del Campo in Siena, the finish line of the famous Strade Bianche cycling race. The name of the race is not accidental: just like L'Eroica, this race takes place on the typical white roads of the region.During this tour you will ride partly on sections of the Strade Bianche race route, for example between Arbia and Asciano, and on sections of the L'Eroica itinerary, for example on the 14-kilometer segment that from Radi leads to the finish in Siena.This last stretch is particularly suggestive and represents in all respects the culmination of your adventure in Tuscany: the landscape here becomes increasingly barren and its earthy tones seem to blend with the color of the white road. It is no coincidence that this corner of Tuscany is also known as the Accona Desert.Just like in the Tour of the first day, the dirt roads are passable with a racing bike, as long as you have strong and sufficiently wide tires (25 mm upwards). Also in this case the gravel bike is the most suitable.
Accommodation: Camping in luxury tents on the Gulf of Orosei
More information on: portososalinos.it/itAfter a night enlivened by the sound of the waves, just stick your head out of your tent to feel the sea breeze that blows with its scents from the Gulf of Orosei. Today we set off to discover the Biderosa Nature Reserve in the north-east of Sardinia: sandy beaches and enchanting bays hidden among the cliffs await you.The tour starts directly from the campsite. If you wish, you can start the day with a dip in the waters of Cala Liberotto - to be repeated at the end of the tour for maximum relaxation. The bathing lake of Sa Curcurica, an area still relatively untouched by tourism, is also suitable for a refreshing break. You will meet Sa Curcurica shortly after departure.For lunch we recommend a stop at Capo Comino, located in the northernmost point of the Tour. Here you can give yourself a moment of pleasure for the palate at the Il Moletto oyster restaurant. The restaurant also enjoys a splendid view of the cliff. From then on, the route becomes more challenging, but the effort is fully rewarded by the evocative views overlooking the sea.Near Monte Ruttu the landscape becomes almost surreal: here wind and bad weather have smoothed the granite rocks to the point of making them look like sculptures. Some paths that branch off from the main road leading to Monte Ruttu are not asphalted, but can be easily traveled with a normal touring bike.Passing through Onifai, the route runs along the Cedrino River and leads back to the coast. After a few kilometers you will arrive at the campsite. Just in time for a dip in the waters of Cala Liberotto!
On the second day of the Sardinian adventure, we set out to discover Serra Orrios south of Orosei, in the footsteps of the Nuraghic civilization that inhabited Sardinia during the Bronze Age. Reaching the rock face of Sa Preta Istampata you will enjoy an exceptional view over vast plains to the sea, but if cycling uphill causes you problems you can choose to avoid this demanding section.Starting from Orosei, the Tour leads through the granite quarries located outside the city before climbing up the mountains to the rock face. Here, not only a fantastic view awaits you, but also an exciting descent to the main path. By now you have probably already exhausted your water reserves to tackle the strenuous mountain stage, but don't worry: a fountain awaits you at the side of the road a few kilometers ahead.After the Cedrino Lake, the path leads again northwards and shortly afterwards to the Nuragic Complex of Serra Orrios, one of the most important and best preserved archaeological sites in Sardinia.From here you go around the Tuttavista Mountain, which really lives up to its name: from its top you can enjoy a spectacular view. The remaining twenty kilometers towards the destination in Orosei are free of altitude. Located almost at the end of the Tour, the village of Galtellì is the ideal place for a well-deserved break in one of the delicious restaurants that are found on the road.
In Finale Ligure you can experience an unforgettable mountain bike adventure and spend a real outdoor experience staying at the AgriBike campsite. To stay here you will need your own tent. In return, the site offers a truly cyclist-friendly atmosphere: cars are in fact prohibited on the entire surface. The campsite also has a bike repair shop where you can make sure everything is in order for the day's descents.The campsite is nestled in the mountains, about nine kilometers from the starting point of the Tour in Finalborgo. To reach it you have several options: you can cycle there following a downhill itinerary or you can use one of the shuttle services that will take you to the start of the Roller Coaster trail - the latter is the recommended option to avoid having to walk a good part of the climb twice . Alternatively, you can turn near Calice Ligure on the descent towards Finalborgo (this solution will also allow you to save a few kilometers); finally you can take advantage of the shuttle service offered by the campsite. Ask for information on the spot and get ready to leave in an elegant van with a retro look!Before setting off on the trail, we recommend that you have a good coffee at the Din bar restaurant. The Roller Coaster trail has now become a cult among Finale Ligure riders and the name speaks volumes: expect a downhill track in a "roller coaster" format. The last part is very demanding, especially if faced in wet conditions.At the end of the trail, go up again on the main road to Din restaurant. With a little luck, you will be able to board one of the many shuttles that run along the road. If you go up cycling, you will have to reward yourself properly once you reach the top!From the summit you cycle along the road before taking a small path that leads to the former NATO base of Finale Ligure, a “Lost Place” where you can take a short break before the last descent of the day. After facing "Cravarezza", a very fluid S1 path, it joins the "Engineer" trail. Classified as S2, this path requires more technique and concentration, especially on the final stretch before the descent towards Finalborgo. It is advisable to be picked up by the campsite shuttle in Bricco, located at the very end of the “Engineer” path.
The second day in Finale Ligure includes a relatively simple tour around Monte Caprazoppa, south-west of the municipality. As well as having fun on a mountain bike, you will therefore also have enough time to relax on one of the beaches in the area - something of a must if you happen to be around here.The highlight of the day is the Bondi Trail, a trail that was part of the Enduro World Series in 2015 and has enjoyed great popularity ever since. After a four-and-a-half kilometer climb on the north-west side of the mountain, at 280 meters above sea level, you reach a small bar between two churches. The view towards Borgio and Loano is truly stupendous and on clear days you can even see the promontory before Andora, about 25 kilometers to the south.The path leads to the coast of Borgio. Located between S1 and S3 on the single trail difficulty scale, the route is characterized by stony and steep but smooth passages. Once you have reached the bottom, it will be time to lie down on the beach and enjoy the sea or to go back to Monte Caprazoppa to face a new descent.