I was in Bagni di Lucca in an hour or so, and felt good. I found the road to Bennabio, and started climbing. What a treat this road is. Almost no traffic, a very good, smooth surface, with multiple switchbacks to keep it from becoming too steep. I stopped in Bennabio for more water and a little of the local scene. There was a cafe next to the water source where friends and family were having what appeared to be quite an impromptu party. I love the enthusiasm that Italians tend to bring to life. After Bennabio, you are done with the switchbacks, but there is another 400 meters of vertical left to climb. Again, a beautiful road, which at the top turned perfect with around 8 kilometers of new pavement, heaven for a cyclist. I enjoyed the descent, and at the junction to Villa Basillico, I had enough energy to add around 150 meters of climbing to the little town and back down. I had ridden this before with Don and Kay, but we continued up to another little pass that eventually led back to Lucca. Another day for that as well.
I think you could easily do both climbs and have a great day, but today, I wanted to get back and skipped the additional 500 vertical meters of climbing. I went back through Collodi, the home of Pinocchio, which is a very interesting town truly full of Pinocchio tourist stuff, including a Pinocchio amusement park. Italians can get every bit as tacky as Americans, as this town proves. Back to Lucca on probably the least nice road of the trip, but I found a way to avoid the "East Colfax" part after returning home on the map. So, another day I have 3 new options for this ride. Sweet!
Day 3 - Bagni di Lucca, Bennabio, Villa Basillico, Lucca, Casa. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details
The road from Bagni di Lucca to Villa Basillico was basically
perfect. Very smooth, with about 2/3 of the descent on new
pavement. Just and excellent road.
Excellent water and a nice church in Bennabio. Che Bella!
I took a nice stop for a snack and enjoyed the view of Villa
Basillico where a group of 10 guys were discussing life,
Riding through the town of Collodi, where it really is all about
Pinocchio. This one, probably around 50 feet tall is on the
road on the way out of town.
On the way home, I ended up riding right through one of the gates
to Lucca, and by this view of the Duomo there. Nice way to end
and excellent ride, although the real end was at Pio's bar, just
below where we are staying for a much deserved beer.