Desmo Tour Northern Italy

Summer is just over when I arrive in Milano, but that doesn’t mean riding season is over. We’re getting ready for a 1200km trip from Milano to Bologna and back.  

Well yeah, we could have chosen the boring fast way up and down, and do the whole stretch in one day. However, we  took the long and scenic road. 6 days of utter riding joy!   

Ciao Milano!

We met Giulietta - Italian blogger & founder of Half-Mag – in the Deus Café downtown Milano for the prima colazione. I explained why - as a long-term Ducati rider – I was excited to visit the Ducati Museum in Bologna; she got me up to speed about the itinerary we would take and spots the highlights of the forthcoming days.

We finished our cappuccinos and headed to Ducati Milano to collect two Scrambler 1100 they kindly had put at our disposal!



The compass pointed south as we left Milano; on the highway we quickly got rid of the traffic and reached Castel San Giovanni.

That is where the fun started. We enjoyed nice curves on the way to Bobbio. Just before reaching Bobbio we climbed Monte Penice on a super tiny road as the sun already set down while the weather turned rain!

Only 140km on the odo but we were happy to reach our hotel at Pregola for the night.

Mountains and Riviera!

The next day we woke up under a nice sun, we could not wait for more riding! We meandered along the Fiume Trebbia on the well known SS45.

On our way to the Ligurian coast we halted at Torriglia to buy and taste some of the famous Canestrelli cookies. Delicious!

Too bad we did not have panniers on the bikes, I could have filled an entire pannier with cookie packages.

We reached the Riviera at Santa Margherita Ligure at lunchtime, perfect place to have a break next to the sea and enjoy local Piadina.

But this trip was not all about eating, we still had some K’s to do! So we let the nice sea view and the tourists behind us to go to the Cinque Terre region where we enjoyed the small hillside roads with stunning views on the sea further down.


With the sun going down we needed to go back to the Apennine mountains to find our Agriturismo for the night. 60K later the night had fallen while we were riding on a tiny, totally dark mountain road; we ended up passing in front of our hotel without realising it was our stay for the night.

Sometimes GPS are handy! We quickly realised that we needed to come back if we wanted to spend the night in a decent bed. The host had all the meals ready.

Another fantastic side of Italy! Great food at every stop!

SS63 & Tuscan hills

Another day of riding started with a perfect breakfast, as soon as we were on the bike we enjoyed nice twisty roads. We quickly reached the SS63 - a fantastic road for bikers with great tarmac, nice curves and beautiful scenery up to the Cerreto pass which marks the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.

We spent the day riding in the mountains with the compass pointing south as our target for the day was greater Firenze.

Passing the highway from Lucca to Firenze we faced a completely different landscape: hills and vineyards as far as we could see.

A beautiful sight after two days of riding in the mountains.  

What better way to end the day with a beautiful sunset over those hills and vineyards?!

We did our best to avoid Firenze’s traffic and we reached our hotel for the night a bit further up in the hills.

Mugello & Ducati Museum

One more time we woke up with a beautiful view on the valley with the sun warming our skin.

But there was no time for a lazy morning: we had an appointment in Bologna to visit the Ducati museum! Hopped on our bike and pointed the compass north!

Still, we couldn’t miss a photo stop at the legendary Mugello track of course! There was no time for a tour of the circuit unfortunately! Maybe next time.

As we left the track first exit at the roundabout, we found ourselves at the SP503:  great curves and beautiful landscapes, especially on the Passo del Giogo! We savoured this part so much that we almost ran out of fuel riding up and down. 


After a quick pit-stop we reached the Ducati Museum at Borgo Panigale. Finally I could wander through the alleys and admire every single historic model. So many racing and travel stories with all those bikes in one single place. I loved it!

The visit of the Ducati museum also turned out to be the place where Giulietta would leave us as she has business to do in Milano. She gave us a few more tips on the scenic roads to take before going back to the big city.


And those tips would turn out to be precious! After Bologna I got back to the Apennine mountains; the stop for the night was a tiny village only a stone’s throw from the famous skier Alberto Tomba’s hometown of Sestola.

As we were in the middle of mushrooms season, the owner of the Locanda Zita convinced us to go for the mushroom menu.  We did not regret it!  It was the best dinner of the whole trip for sure!

Going up north

From there we took the little mountains roads and enjoyed the ever-changing landscape. We had a thrill riding the SP468R between Casa Ceccarini and Il Faldo as the tarmac had just been upgraded!


Before we hit wider roads to Milano we did one more detour around Bobbio to catch another stretch of the SS45: a super exciting road! We quickly understood why Italian journalists use it as a test-track for their bike reviews!

Soon it was time to bring back the Scrambler 1100 with which we had great fun for 6 days. So, goodbye Italy….for now!


Where next?

Explore the best roads around and plan your next trip based on those roads.

More stories

RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 2 of 2

RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 2 of 2

Ticino: snowy mountain passes, palm-lined riviera, and epic roads

Ticino: snowy mountain passes, palm-lined riviera, and epic roads

RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 1 of 2

RTWPaul: Riding 48 States - Utter Ridiculousness With 8hp Part 1 of 2