Naples, Italy

In 2011 I took off for an Easter cycle trip

from Naples to Sicily.

I wanted to see Vesuvius and explore the streets of anarchic Naples,

then head south down the coast of ancient gods and Cicero,

and cross the Messina strait of Scylla and Charybdis myth and land in Sicily.

The Challenge

Cycling from Naples to Sicily guarantees an encounter with wild traffic, Margherita pizzas like you have never tasted before, the lowering presence of volcanoes, stunning coastlines with only a crumbled wall between you and the drop to distant waves below, stamina testing climbs up cobbled acute hairpins, and ebullient Italian club riders calling ‘ciao bella’ as they whoosh by. And in all probability you will toil up a 12% gradient only to reach the summit with the mountain pass blocked by a landslip; at the end of a grueling day find your destination campsite closed; be pounded by relentless gale force gusts with your laden panniers an easy target when the wind hefts a side swipe on the beautiful wooded edge of Etna’s hills. Most of this is a treat, some of it is character testing, but if you have chosen to accept a self-inflicted carbon neutral mission then the hardest part of all is getting to Naples in the first place. Trains, boats, no planes…