Ask anyone what the perfect destination is for a motorcycle tour and, undoubtedly, the response will be Europe. And if you ask them to single out a specific country in Europe, nine times out of 10 Italy will be the destination of choice.
It’s easy to see why; with Italy’s connection to motorcycling, high performance, and just the sheer beauty of the country, who wouldn’t want to tour the place on a motorcycle?
In this guide, we’ll continue our ongoing “Best Routes” series with one of Europe’s most favored motorcycle travel destinations – Italy. If you aren’t familiar, in these guides not only do we highlight popular routes (with a nod toward adventure motorcycling where possible), but by extension, we highlight the motorcycle tour group or organization leading the ride.
If you’re new to riding in a foreign land, we highly recommend joining an organized guided tour. While the initial cost outlay might seem steep to some, you’re essentially paying someone else to handle the stressful parts of touring so all you have to do is ride.
These organizations put you up in nice hotels, take care of your luggage, feed you delicious meals, and even rent you a motorcycle (often BMWs and Ducatis, but also the occasional Honda or Moto Guzzi).
In some cases, they can even help you with flights. Then, having experienced tour guides lead the way to help navigate not only the route, but cultural barriers, which comes in handy a lot, too.
Maybe best of all, motorcycle tours are usually made up of small groups, and since you’re all sharing in the experience you’re likely to make lifelong friends with some of these folks long after the ride is over.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to the best routes in Italy.
Book Motorcycle Tours
Book Motorcycle Tours offers no less than 67(!) different tours through Italy. Granted, most of them are entirely on paved roads (not that that’s a bad thing considering Italy’s amazing motorcycle roads), but the number just shows how popular of a destination Italy is.
However, since this is geared toward adventure riders, Book offers five different tours that offer a chance for the off-road rider to get dirty. There’s the four-day guided tour in Piedmont that takes you through the famous Alps and Langhe, the five-day guided off-road tour of Sicily, a three-day guided adventure through Tuscany, and much more, including a big eight-day adventure that takes you through both Italy and France.
Some of these tours have you riding true adventure bikes while others see enduros being used. So be sure to read the descriptions and look at the included photos carefully before deciding.
Whichever tour you pick, you’re guaranteed to see the stunning scenery along the way. Not to mention you’ll have an absolute blast.
Hear The Road
Hear The Road is one of many tour companies specializing in tours of Italy, and while the company doesn’t have any ADV-specific tours in its lineup, the diversity in its tours gives you the option to explore any region Italy has to offer, from the Alps and Dolomites to the north, to the Amalfi Coast to the south, you can even explore the regions of Corsica and Sicily, too.
If you’re an ADV rider who also dabbles in road racing, track days, or is a fan of MotoGP, Hear The Road has two tours centered around two of Italy’s most iconic tracks – Misano and Mugello.
Further, if you’re the type who’d prefer to ride on the track instead of watching racers do it, the “Italian Motorcycle Dream” tour includes a track day at the Mugello circuit as part of the Ducati Riding Experience, where not only do you get to ride on the legendary track, but you’ll also get coaching from a Ducati instructor.
Now let’s say you’re the type who doesn’t want to follow a pre-planned route with people you don’t know. Hear The Road has you covered there, too, as you can go on a self-guided tour using routes and recommendations for lodging they provide. Or HTR can work with you to plan a completely custom tour as well.
Italy On Motorbike
What’s more to say? The company name tells you everything you need to know. Italy On Motorbike is another tour company specializing in tours of Italy, with tours covering the country from top to bottom. If seeing all the usual tourist spots is what you want to do, IOM has you covered.
That said, being adventure seekers, we imagine seeing popular tourist destinations is not your idea of a good time. IOM has you covered there, too. Apart from the usual sights and attractions, there are 49 other UNESCO world heritage sites IOM can help you see either on a guided tour or by yourself (or your own group) on a self-guided tour.
Better still, Italy On Motorbike offers off-road motorcycle tours through Italy, allowing you to really get off the beaten path and see things the average tourist won’t get to see. You’ll have to ride with an escort for these tours (no self-guided option here), but do you really want to be in a foreign land riding off-road by yourself anyway?
Like the rest of the companies here, booking a tour through Italy On Motorbike means your lodging and meals are covered, no matter if you prefer luxurious accommodations and fine dining, or more economical lodging and a quick bite so you can keep riding. IOM can also help facilitate a motorcycle rental, though it’s important to clarify that Italy On Motorbike is not a motorcycle rental company.
IOM has agreements and partnerships in place with several rental agencies so you can choose the bike that’s right for you, including the ability to rent some fine Italian motorcycles from Ducati or Moto Guzzi, as well as Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and BMW motorcycles if you prefer.
No article about motorcycle tours is complete without a mention of Edelweiss Bike Travel. Considered the leading motorcycle tour organization in the world, while some companies specialize in a specific country, Edelweiss specializes in motorcycle touring all over the globe.
So naturally, the company has an enormous amount of experience touring Italy via motorcycle. What it offers the adventure crowd is the “Tuscany Unpaved!” tour, and instead of us trying to describe it, we’ll let Edelweiss speak for themselves:
Tuscany does not only offer delicious food and good wine, but also unbelievably exciting possibilities to ride a motorcycle on unpaved grounds. From gravel roads covered with cypresses up to challenging little forest roads – together we will experience our common adventure here in many different ways.
We will spend the first tour day to theoretically and practically improve our skills and get used to riding on unpaved grounds. The following days we will get to know Tuscany at its best, when we will explore the still less known jewels under the sun of Central Italy.
Riding fun as well as the excellent cuisine will make us float in Nirvana on this UNPAVED tour and we will enjoy our ride on two wheels true to the motto “La vita è bella”!
If you’re going to go on a motorcycle adventure, it’s hard to pick a place better than Italy to do it. With its mixture of scenic roads, tricky off-road sections, wonderful views, delicious food, joyous people, and passionate culture, Italy is a wonderful place for an adventure rider to ride and explore. Italians love their motorcycles, so it will be easy to get wrapped up in the moto atmosphere if you get there.
As you can see above, there is no shortage of tours and tour companies that can guide you through some of the best paved and unpaved roads Italy have to offer.
And to be clear, these are just a handful of organizations out of many that you can choose from. Whether you choose to go on a guided tour with a group of strangers or decide on a self-guided tour with help from a company, the idea remains the same: get yourself to Italy and go ride.