Alan and Jonna's Edelweiss Motorcycle Tour in Italy

Jonna and I did a two week motorcycle tour in Sicily and southern Italy with Edelweiss Motorcycle Tours. Jonna rode a '03 BMW F650CS and I rode a '03 BMW R1150RS.

After a flight snafu were we flew to Milan, only to find AlItalia was on strike and our flight to Sicily was cancelled, resulting in 32 hours of frustration, we finally bought tickets on another airline. The trip officially started in Catania, Sicily. The first day went through the center of the island, to Villagio Mose, just outside Agrigento. The second day went due north to the coast, then east to the city of Cefalu. The third day went back south into the center of the island, then east through the wine growing region to the town of Giordini-Naxos, just south of Taormina. The forth day was a "rest day", so we did the touristy thing in Taormina. The fifth day was across the straits of Messina on a ferry, then up the cost to Sta Domenica, just south of Tropea. The sixth day was supposed to be a long day through the mountains but rain forced a route up the coast to Acquafredda, just north of Maratea. The seventh day was up the coast for awhile, then a short shot of Autostrada to the Amalfi coast, just outside Salerno and finally to Contrada. The eight and final day of riding was to Pompei and then Autostrada to Rome. Jonna and I then spent three days in Rome doing the tourist thing.

Here are some of our photos from the trip.

1) We had a day in Catania, Sicily before the trip started. This is a photo of the Duomo at the main piazza:

2) This is another photo of the buildings at the piazza:

3) Another photo of the buildings at the piazza:

4) Yet another photo of the buildings at the piazza:

5) This is the "elephant" fountain in the center of the piazza, built in Roman times with a Egyptian Obelisk on top:

6) This is a Norman castle in Catania that has been converted into a cool museum:

7) The maze of streets across from the Castle:

8) Due to the huge catholic influence in Italy, there are little shrines like this built into buildings all over the country:

9) Another shot of the narrow, cobblestone streets in Italian towns:

10) This is a shot inside a 1800 yr old Roman amphitheater in Catania. Notice how the nearby buildings are built onto the ancient walls and how they use the building materials from the theather:

11) A close up of the walls of the Roman amphitheather in Catania:

12) We visited a Roman Villa just outside Piazza Armerina that was covered by a mud slide and then excavated more recently. The mosaic tile floors are amazing:

13) More of the mosaic tile floors in the Roman Villa:

14) A shot of one of the rooms, just to show the size of one room in the Villa and show the glass roof built over the site to protect the floors:

15) Another shot of the tile floors. Note the bikini clad women, proving that bikinis existed in 400 AD:

16) A shot showing what the landscape is south-central Sicily looks like:

17) Another shot showing what the landscape is south-central Sicily looks like:

18) A flock of sheep hanging out by the roadside:

19) A castle ruin just outside Delia, Sicily. Basically, anywhere you stop in southern Italy, you can see some kind of ruin (Greek, Roman, Medival, Renaissance) if you look around:

20) Jonna checking her map with the hill top town of Naro in the background. All towns in Sicily are built on top of hillls, with the oldest part of town on top and progressively newer buildings as the town cascades down the hillsides. All roads lead to the central piazza in the oldest part of of town:

21) One the second day of riding, we stopped at the Valley De Templi National Park (six 2000 yr old Greek temple ruins on a ridge just outside Agrigento, Sicily). Here is the Temple of Concordia:

22) A shot of the city of Agrigento and the Autostrada bridge, all just a few kilometers from these 2000 yr old ruins:

23) The most well preserved temple in Valley De Templi, the Temple of Concordia:

24) A distance shot of the furthest away temple, the Temple of Hera:

25) Jonna posing with the Sicilian coastline and a flower filled field in the background:

26) A few up the ancient wall (the rock face is actually the remains of an ancient brick wall) with the town of Villaggio Mose in the background:

27) A shot back down the ancient wall to the well preserved temple of Concordia:

28) Another shot back down the ancient wall to the Temple of Concordia:

29) Jonna standing on the main wall at the Temple of Hera:

30) A close up of the Temple of Hera:

31) A photo of the mountains and valleys in central Sicily, near the town of Raffadali:

32) Another photo of the mountains of central Sicily, this one near the town of Bivona. The road is visible winding through the valley below:

33) The area around the town of Prizzi is particularly beautiful, with lots of lakes, hilltown towns and scenic fields:

34) Another shot of the landscape near Prizzi:

35) A homemade farm vehicle in the town of Godrano:

36) A photo of the medival castle on top of La Rocca in the seaside town of Cefalu. The buildings in the foreground are the hotel rooms we stayed in:

37) Another photo of the typical Italian town streets maybe 1 1/2 lanes wide, cobble stoned and on a hill. Somehow, the Italians manage to fit two Fiats side by side and still have enough room for scooters to slip by on either side. This street is in the beautiful little town of Cefalu:

38) Medival baths built into an alcove in Cefalu. Fresh water flows in from one side and sea water comes in on the other side. There are divits in the stone where women's knees have worn the rock:

39) The duomo, built as both a medival castle and church, in the town of Cefalu:

40) Jonna on the beach at the harbor in Cefalu, modern Cefalu is visible in the background:

41) Another photo of Jonna on the beach at the harbor in Cefalu:

42) A photo of Alan at the harbor with ancient Cefalu in the background:

43) Another photo of Alan at the harbor with ancient Cefalu in the background:

44) The high mountains in north-central Sicily, near the town of Castlebuono:

45) A photo of Ken and Jonna riding into Castelbuono on their bikes.

46) Jonna on her F650CS with more incredible scenery in the background:

47) The town of Nicosia, probably the best example of how the town cascades down a hillside with the big, multi-story buildings at the bottom and te church and old town at the top:

48) Jonna having a snack while enjoying the views near the town of Cesaro:

49) The medival castel atop of the mountain at Taormina, Sicily:

50) The magnificant Greek Amphitheater in Taormina, with the volcano Mt. Etna and the town of Giardini-Naxos in the background:

51) The view north up the coast from the Greek Theater in Taormina:

52) The Duomo and main piazza in Taormina:

53) Jonna with the folks we "fell in with" and spent the most time traveling with: Peter and Eva from Austin, TX and Norman from Eugene, OR. A great group of folks with the kind of sense of humor that keeps you laughing all the time:

54) Jonna eating a delicious canoli on the street in Taormina:

55) A photo of Jonna on the balcony of our hotel in Taormina. The hotel was huge, designed to deal with busloads of German tourists, but the room was nice and the garden trees were beautiful:

56) Jonna on the balcony of our hotel in Sta Domenica, just south of Tropea. The food was lousy and a group of Italian teenagers played loud music until late at night but the room was spectacular with a sliding glass wall overlooking the sea:

57) Jonna running from the surf on the beach in Sta Domenica:

58) Jonna standing on the beach in Sta Domenica:

59) Another photo of the beach in Sta Domenica, this time showing the cliffs upon with our hotel was built:

60) A convent on a hill top at the town of Tropea:

61) Sunset from our balcony in Sta Domenica:

62) More hilltop ruins, this time in the town of Amantea:

63) Narrow, moss-covered cobblestone streets in Amantea:

64) A collapsed building in Amantea. The building had apparently recently collapsed as bathroom towels can be seen hanging on a towel rack in the uppermost bathroom:

65) Edelweiss provided a couple of great picnic lunches, this one on a rainy day at a park in Capo Bonifati with the surf crashing over a break:

66) A photo of the picnic, with all the bikes around the park and the Edelweiss vans with canopies up because of the rain:

67) A cat living in a ruined building in the town of Maratea. The inside and roof of the ruins were a virtual garden with plants, birds and small critters. Heaven for a feral kitty:

68) A photo of the mountains near the town of Maratea. There is a large statue of Jesus atop one of these ridges, but due to a road closure we were unable to visit it:

69) The road leading to our hotel in Acquafredda along the coast:

70) A photo of our hotel in Acquafredda. This hotel is a converted villa and is a virtual museum. Incredible rooms and restaurant:

71) A typical intersection, where navigation is done based on the town you are going to, not street numbers:

72) Maybe 35 kilometers from the coastal town of Sapri were the snow covered mountains at Lagonegro. More incredible scenery!:

73) The road widing along the Amalfi coast. We arrived on a Sunday and Mother's Day, which mean heavy traffic. Tour buses (some turns are so tight, the buses had to make multi-point turns to get around), Alfa Romeo's with elderly Italian mothers, cars, sport bikes and scooters all filled the road. The bikes and scooters never seem to run at anything short of full throttle making passes I thought were surely suicidal:

74) One of the typical passes on the Amalfi coast road. That is a blind left hand corner the bike is exiting and a blind sure-tight right hand turn it is starting to make while passing a car. This photo is unique because of how few cars are in the shot:

75) A typical motorcycle parking area in an Italian town, this one in the town of Amalfi. Hundreds of scooters and motorcycles fill every town:

76) The two Edelweiss guides (Thomas on the left and Axel on the right) at our hotel in Contrada:

77) The temple of Apollo at the excavated town of Pompei, with the volcano of Mount Vesuvio in the background:

78) The storage area in Pompei filled with pottery, stone work and plaster casts from the excavation. This is a Roman man that was killed when the volanic gases decended on Pompei:

79) Pillars near the Dancing Fawn villa remains in Pompei:

80) Wagon wheel tracks in the cobble stones in the streets of Pompei with the raised pedestrian crosswalk:

81) Jonna in the Imperial Forum in Rome with the Emmanuel Vittorio building in the background:

82) The inside of the Colosseum with restoration work in progress:

83) Jonna and the arch of Constantine, just outside the Colosseum:

84) Another shot of Jonna and the arch of Constantine:

85) One of the Roman Forum buildings, as seen from the Colosseum:

86) Another artsy photo of Constantine's Arch from inside the Colosseum:

87) A lady feeding the feral cats at the Colosseum:

88) One of the ruins in the Roman Forum in Rome. This was the original basilica (court) of ancient Rome and interesting because later churches took the three alcove design from this building since churches were expected to be the ultimate court:

89) The remains of the garden of the Vestal Virgins in the Roman Forum in Rome:

90) Some roses growing near columns at the temple of the Vestal Virgins:

91) A statue of the folktale of the founding of Rome with the children of Romulous and Remus being fed by a wolf:

92) Jonna sitting on the steps above the Roman Forum:

93) A photo overlooking the Roman Forum, with the Colloseum in the background:

94) The Bocca della Veritas (The Mouth of Truth) made famous in the movie "Roman Holiday":

95) Roman ruins, supposedly the location of Caeser's assassination, now a sanctuary for about 300 feral cats:

96) Two of the feral cats in the sanctuary in Rome:

97) A Roman column just off the Via Corso in Rome, carved with images of the hero's story:

98) The Trevi Fountain in Rome:

99) Jonna with the Trevi Fountain in the background:

100) Hotel Cecil near the Spanish Steps in Rome (my grandfather's name is Cecil...thus the photo):

101) A photo of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican. Photos aren't allowed but I wasn't aware of that until after I'd taken this photo and was reprimanded by a guard. Opppps:

102) Jonna sitting in a window in the Borghi apartment, now the museum of Modern Religious Art at the Vatican:

103) Jonna standing on the exit stairs at the Vatican Museum:

104) The Carabinieri (Military Police) and Polizia (City Police) BMW motorcycles at St. Peter's Square at the entrance to the Vatican. The Pope gives a public audience on Wednesday, so the Roman police were at the entrance of the Vatican helping with security:

105) St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The canopy on the steps in front are were the Pope's Wednesday address and audience took place:

106) One of the old bridges over the river Tiber:

107) Castle Saint Angelo, along side the river Tiber, in Rome:

108) The Bernini designed Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona in Rome:

109) The McDonalds across from the Pantheon:

110) The Pantheon and fountain:

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Alan Fleming