Back in 1972 ExperiencePlus! offered the first-ever commercial bicycle tour in Italy and on June 6 – 17, 2012 we invite you to help us celebrate our 40-year anniversary with a very special departure of the tour that started it all, Bike Across Italy: Pisa-to-Venice hosted by two generations of the founding family. Join co-founders Rick and Paola Malpezzi Price and their daughters Maria Elena and Monica Malpezzi Price who in 2008 assumed ownership and management of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours to ride across Italy.
In 1971, Rick and Paola pedaled from Pisa to Paola’s hometown of Forlí just for fun. The next year they ran their first commercial bicycle tour of Italy. The anniversary trip closely replicates that first ride four decades ago. It begins in Tuscany in the walled city of Lucca, stops in Pisa and at nearby Lago Massaciuccoli where Puccini wrote many of his operas, continues to Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci and includes a day off in Florence. The landscape changes after the Etruscan village of Fiesole, and once over the Apennines guests ride into the agricultural bounties of fruit trees, sunflowers and vegetables to Dante’s tomb in Ravenna and on to Ferrara, the bicycle capital of Italy. From the Po River delta the journey ends in Venice.
“No matter which direction you take it (Venice to Pisa or Pisa to Venice) we love the trip but even our own family is split as far is what the favored direction is,” said Maria Elena Price. “My sister, Monica, and father, Rick, like Venice to Pisa because you have some nice flat days to get warmed up before you reach the Apennines and the Tuscan Hills. My mother, Paola, and I prefer Pisa to Venice because ending in Venice is simply magical.”
Maria Elena added that the Pisa-to-Venice itinerary is one of “our long-time customers will remember fondly as some have done it multiple times.”
As with all of our Bike Across Italy departures this trip includes an extraordinary lunch at Paola’s family farm (our European Headquarters) and the opportunity to tour the bike warehouse, pick some cherries, or grapes – depending on the season, enjoy a pasta making demonstration, and amazing food.
One Colorado couple who have notched 15 bicycle tours with us said it best, “We think Pisa to Venice is hard to top in terms of scenery, food and wine, cities and towns to visit, the art and culture, and the wonderful people of Italy.”
You can also extend the adventure possibly our family’s second favorite tour in Italy: Bicycling Venice and the Dolomites beginning in Venice June 17 – right after the Pisa to Venice tour ends. This stunning bicycle tour explores the sights, landscapes, cuisine and cultural diversity from the Veneto region into the mountains of northern Italy and includes one of the most famous rides in the Dolomites, the Sella Ronda. This area was recently nominated a UNESCO world heritage natural region, one of only two designations like it in Italy.
For further inspiration and a walk down memory lane visit our new photo gallery page!