Cycling Adventure Nuggets

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OUR TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

Baggage

Packing

for a bike tour 

For many different reasons, it’s best to travel light.
Experienced travelers find that one/two medium-sized rolling suitcase per person provides sufficient room for a two week vacation.
Be sure to tag your baggage with name and contact information — and include a sheet of paper inside on top of everything with the same info. Also, tie a distinctive ribbon onto the handle — or some other kind of marking — so that when you’re claiming your luggage after your flight you can easily distinguish your own suitcase from all the others exactly like it. Keep your valuable items in a small carry-on bag or, better yet, a knapsack which you can then use during your walks. 
During the bike tour, especially in self Guided, we add  Cicloposse tag with your name, so at hotel  they know you are booked with us. 

Currency

The unit of currency in Italy is the Euro € and centesimi, similar to the US dollar and cents. The coins are as follows: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, and 2 euro. The bills are as follows: 5 euro, 10 euro, 20 euro, 50 euro, 100 euro, 200 euro and 500 euro.
Note: in Europe, periods and commas are interchanged.

So our 100,000 is written as 100.000; likewise, decimals such as 1.5 are written as 1,5.

All the old ways of exchanging money are pretty well supplanted now by the ubiquitous ATM machine, called “Bancomat” here in Italy.

Bring along your ATM card and in front of almost every bank you’ll find an ATM machine — most of which also accept major credit cards for cash advances. The exchange rate is the best going, although a fee may be applied by your bank — from $1 to $3 per transaction — and there is often a limit on how much you can take out per day. Check to make sure what your bank’s terms are, and then decide if using the ATM is your best option. On most machines, after you put in your card, you’ll be prompted for which language you’d like to use. In any case, the procedure is exactly the same as in the US: enter your PIN (Codice segreto), enter the amount you’d like to withdraw, and after thirty agonizing seconds, the machine spits out your card, your money.

banks 

open time

Banks are usually only open in the mornings Until around 1pm; in the large cities, some may open from 3 to 4pm. Exchange services at airports are open for longer hours. It’s very likely you’ll need to change an equivalent couple hundred Euro immediately upon landing in Italy — in order to catch a taxi, a train, or a bus to the train station. You should be able to make an exchange at the airport, unless your flight arrives in the middle of the night. If that’s the case, try to make the exchange before your departure.
Also, keep in mind that most hotels accept credit cards, as do many restaurants and stores.

The days of overstuffed money belts are largely over, thanks to electronic money. But don’t be too overconfident; you will very likely still need some cash.

Health

insurance

A travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies, cancellations, loss of valuables, is always a good idea and strongly recommended
In Italy now there is a unique Emergency number 112.
If you need first aid, every hospital has an emergency clinic, called the “Pronto Soccorso”. The standards of Italian health care and treatment are quite high.
If you’re taking a tour with us, you will also be provided with a list of contact numbers, all guides’ cell phone and Cicloposse office, as well as all accommodation info to provide to your close ones.

Trains

The Italian train system is undeservedly reputed to be inefficient, slow, and under constant threat of strikes. Only the latter complaint holds any validity — and even so the strikes are scheduled and announced in the media well in advance. In reality, the trains generally run on time and are a bargain to boot.

Timetable and routes can be consulted, purchase  and reservation can be made on line at official web site : www.trenitalia.com  

Automated tickets machines are available in nearly all stations.. the can be used to check schedules, makes reservations and purchase tickets.

One thing to remember: Just before you board your train, VALIDATE your ticket.

You do this at one of the breadbox-sized yellow machines located on the platforms (or at the end of the platform).

PAPER Maps

google maps

Cartographically speaking, absolutely the best maps are the green covered beauties put out by Touring Club Italiano. You can get one for the specific region you’re going to, though they are huge and you’ll find yourself folding them into various new configurations in order to fit them in your car — or hotel room.
For more detailed local maps, you might want to wait until you get to Italy to look through bookstore selections.
You’ll often find small-scale maps that can be very helpful in planning out a day hike. Also, the tourist office in each town can usually provide a map of the town, usually for free or a nominal charge.

eating out

Meals in Italy follow a different course than what you are accustomed to.
You might begin with an appetizer if you like antipasto but from then on things change quite a bit. Italians prefer to eat one dish at a time, rather than having a number of items served on one plate, especially we don’t like mix pasta with other kind of food! So, after the antipasto comes the primo  (first dish), usually some kind of pasta, ravioli or zuppa. Following this is the secondo (second dish), a meat or fish dish or Cheese. You can order a contorno  (side dish) if you like — usually roasted vegetables, potatoes, or salad, but sometimes vegetables are included with second, is specified on menu.
And finally dolce dessert and/or coffe. Espresso of course
Please Don’t think Italians at home have always a meal like that! All that food is just in special occasion or for the Sunday’s lunch. Also in Italy people start to have light lunch, a dish of pasta and some vegetable or just the second plate. The well-known healthy Dieta Mediterranea

 

hotels

&

accommodations

In Italy it is common practice for the reception desk to register your passport, and only registered guests are allowed to use the rooms. This is done for security reason according with Italian law against terrorism: hotels must give list of guests to Italian police carabinieri each day.
All hotels use the official star classification system, from 5 star luxury to 1 star.
All hotels have room with bathroom – only one star hotel have shared bathroom.
Most of hotel rates include breakfast “prima colazione”. It is served in a communal room and comprises a buffet with pastries, bread with butter and jam, cereals, fruits, cheese, yoghurt, fruit juice, coffe or cappuccino. Hotel regularly frequented by foreign tourists serve eggs and cheese

Farm stays 

agriturismo

Located only in the countryside, and generally on a farm, agriturismo – a network of farm holiday establishments- is part of growing trend in Italy to honor local gastronomy and wine traditions as well as countryside traditions.
These farms offer lodging and some also provide meals prepared with ingredients cultivated on site.
the lodging could be really luxury and very comfortable. Often private pool is available for guests.