Italy On A Rickshaw: Milan, Cinque Terre & Pisa
Italy is one of our favourite countries to visit and not just because of the delicious pasta! We were fortunate enough to head on the most epic adventure recently, driving almost 900km from Milan to the Amalfi Coast – all on a rickshaw and all within five days! Yes, you read correctly, five awesome, action-packed days! Our Hand Luggage Only adventure was our once in a lifetime experience to explore the beauty, culture, history and food of Italia with our new and trusted friend. Our rickshaw!
Day 1: Our Rickshaw and an Epic Challenge
Our adventure started in Milan, the fashion capital of Italy. There was little time for any Versace, Dolce & Gabbana or even a long snooze! As soon as we landed, we hotfooted it straight to ‘The Gira.it’, who hooked us up with our amazing ride, our rickshaw. At a galactic speed of 50km an hour we began our epic drive into the centre of the city where we would see some sights, plan our route and of course grab some of that famous Italian espresso. Before we zoomed off into the sunset (making a b-line for the Cinque Terre) we managed to explore a few key places in the city, including Milan Cathedral, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Sforzesco Castle. Bellissimo!
Farewell Milan, Hello Mountains
Raring to go, after our (rather strong) espresso – we parted ways with Milan and headed south via Piacenza and then a sharp right to the coast by Chiavari. We had so much fun crossing the mountains – the scenery was out of this world and there was plenty of opportunity for fun! One thing that we hadn’t anticipated was the cold. As we climbed over 1000 metres we started to become very chilly – so chilly that we took to singing some olde’ Italian songs and dancing in our little rickshaw (let’s be thankful that there is no video of that!). Passers by must have thought we were ‘crazy’, but at least the singing took our mind away from the cold.
By 9pm we had reached our Agriturismo L’OrtoBio, part of an organic farm, located a few minutes from the historic centre of Sarzana and the beaches of Marinella. We arrived too late to enjoy the beach, but our hosts had a better surprise in store! They had prepared us the most delicious BBQ, fine Italian wines and fresh oranges for dessert. It was so nice to experience a real-working farm and we only wish we could have stayed longer with the most amazing hosts in all of Italy!
Day 2: The Drive to Cinque Terre
After the deepest sleep known to man, we finally jumped into our rickshaw and headed off to the Cinque Terre. It’s best to remember that the roads to many of the Cinque Terre’s five towns are very steep, narrow and rather daunting – so take the train if you’re a nervous driver – we on the other hand decided to drive. Gulp. After a rickety ride up and down, left and right, we arrived at our first stop.
First Stop, Riomaggiore & Fresh Calamari
Riomaggiore is a spectacular village and commune that is nestled in its own little valley and within (relatively) easy reach of La Spezia. The town offers some spectacular views across the Mediterranean and Italian coast. We arrived around midday to a warm and sun-kissed town! Our travel-buddy Gabriele even decided to go for a swim in the waters. Oh, we almost forgot, don’t forget to buy some freshly caught calamari for lunch from one of the many venders in the town – they are delicious and perfect to eat while bathing on the harbour front.
A Quick Dash to Manarola and Pisa
After an hour or so, we decided to head further north to the picturesque fishing village of Manarola.
Okay, so we did cheat a little and took a five-minute train journey between the villages, not only did this save us some driving time (around 80 minutes), it allowed us to fill up on some scrumptious, home-made gelato. Yum.
After an action packed afternoon, we managed to tick off two of the Cinque Terre’s five towns before heading west to Pisa.
Our second night of accommodation was just outside Florence, nestled in the Tuscan countryside. Although our stop in Pisa was brief, we did get to look around the Leaning Tower Of Pisa and Pisa Baptistery while enjoying the history of this most amazing place. One thing is for sure, our visit has left us wanting much more of Northern Italy. L’Italia ha rubato i nostri cuori, Viva Italia!
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