ExperiencePlus! Blog

The Italia 150 ExpeditionPlus! Bicycle Ride

Covers the Length of Italy

While Italians may continue to bicker over whether Giuseppe Garibaldi made a huge mistake 150 years ago in uniting the South of Italy with the North, ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, is celebrating by offering you the opportunity to bicycle 29 days from the tip of western Sicily 1,400 miles to Turin in the north.

“Turin and the Piedmont got such great publicity during the 2008 winter Olympics that when discussions began about celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy in 2011, we thought we should be a part of it,” says Monica Malpezzi Price, co-owner of ExperiencePlus! and Director of Operations in Italy. So she asked Rick, her geographer-father and co-founder of the company, to design a tour that captures the essence of Italy.

Despite the depth of history and the breadth of its rich culture and art many people don’t realize that Italy is a very young nation. Indeed, thirty-seven states in the U.S. are older than Italy. Garibaldi liberated the south in 1860 and most of the nation became united under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy, based in the Piedmont, after a national vote in 1861. But it was another decade until Rome joined a united Italy as the capital in 1871. Even so, it took the new country another seventy-seven years to move from a monarchy to become a democratic republic after World War II.

Indeed, culturally, politically and economically northern and southern Italy are still worlds apart. Milan and Turin, surrounded by the commercial and industrial regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and complemented by the mixed agriculture and industry of the Veneto and Emilia Romagna are more a part of industrial northwest Europe than they are of impoverished Campania, Puglia and Calabria in the deep south. Rome and the surrounding Latium, which divides and attempts to unite the two regions, remains a transition zone.

The Italia 150 ExpeditionPlus! bike ride crosses Sicily and snakes north partially along the coast and partly into the mountainous interior to explore Giuseppe Garibaldi’s route in the summer and fall of 1860 as far as Naples. Having taken Naples, mostly by popular insurrection, Garibaldi eventually headed just to the north where he encountered King Victor Emmanuel II, of Piedmont. In this symbolic meeting Garibaldi handed over control of the south of Italy to the king. The Italy 150 ExpeditionPlus! bicycling trip will continue on to Rome and then north along the Tyrrhenian coast to Tuscany and across the Apennine mountains. The ride ends in Turin with a special celebration.

There is still one space available on this incredible journey so email us at tours@experienceplus.com or call us at 1-800-685-4565 if you’d like to join the adventure.