Florence to Venice with a Carioche

Today we were journeying from Florence to Venice. First though, a three Euro breakfast was on offer at the Eurhotel this morning which we couldn’t pass up. It consisted of cheese, ham, salami, bread, cereals, cakes, fruit, pastries,juices, tea and coffee so all that you need to start the day riding to Venice. Overall we were very happy with our stay at Eurhotel, the girl who checked us in couldn’t have been more helpful. We were able to drop our bags in their security room and the parking was quite secure.
Heading out of Florence we chose the no pay road option on Chrissie (our satnav) which basically means pretty rough roads, but pretty scenic as well. However, this time of year it seems everyone is either using wood fired heating or are burning off olive tree offcuts because it seemed the whole country is covered in haze. No good for photos.

The road took us through some nice countryside with lots of hills, great views and a few national parks. It seems we weren’t the only riders enjoying a Sunday ride for there were heaps out. We even photo bombed some bikers filming their mates as they went through a series of twisties. As the crotch rockets came up the hill we just tagged on tail end Charlie and waved at the camera as we passed.

Once we hit the flatlands around Bologna we realised that the farming area were much more organised and larger scale. In fact the countryside reminded us of France with big fields and the way that farms were laid out.

About 1 we decided it was time for a break so as we entered Tribano, we took a detour and found a nice restaurant with a tractor in the carpark (if there’s a tractor in the carpark it’s a sign of good food).

When we entered the restaurant we were blown away, the place was almost chockas. There must’ve been a function on as there were about 50 people in one big group. The waitresses were run off their feet delivering food and drinks. We were about to leave when one came over and asked if we wanted to eat….soon we were seated deciphering the menu and ordering. I had local sausages, Michele some pork cutlets (actually enough for two people) along with chips,salad, the most amazing Tiramasu and drinks…for 27 Euros ($40.80 Aus) we dined like kings.

As we were mounting the Princess getting ready to leave a god awful noise reached our ears. It was the sound a car makes when it drops a muffler. There were lots of police around and Michele said it might be worth checking this out.

Little did we know the Tribano was holding the Sagra di San Martino festival. There were stalls selling all sorts of craft items, jams, food, vegetables. There were tractors, but the star of the show was “La Carioches”. La Carioches or Carioca developed after the war when Italy was so poor that farmers couldn’t afford tractors. Using whatever they could scrounge out of old cars, trucks, vans they just built a machine to do the job. The ones on display mostly used a Lombardini engine (One which I’m very familiar with and love because of its simplicity and easy start)

The machines were displayed by a group of Carioche enthusiasts from nearby Bagnoli di Sopra, who were keen for us to take photos. They were tearing up and down the streets with their machines packed with friends and family laughing their heads off. There was even an Italian clown with whistle stirring them along. After a few photos and a quick look around unfortunately we had to leave as we had told our next accommodation we’d be in Venice at 4.
About 40 km’s out of Venice the traffic was banked up and slow moving. Luckily we’d been sharpening our Italian riding skills over the last week so we just headed straight down the centre line arriving in the outskirts of Venice only 30 minutes late.
Tonight we’re staying at a B&B on the outskirts of Venice. We looked at staying in Venice but bike parking is on the edge of the city so this place was heaps better. When we arrived Christiano parked the bike in the room under the B&B then proceeded to go through a checklist and map. It was really efficient and we were able to organise public transport passes for the next three days. He also gave us a map of the local area and a suggested inventory with QR codes which was awesome. With this handy piece of paper we will be hitting the ground running tomorrow when we visit Venice City. First however we have to do some investigation. Does Venice have the best pizzas? Results later.

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