Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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The Vespa Trip: Embark On Your Own Italian Road-trip on Two Wheels!

19.01.2018 16 Comments

The Vespa Trip: Embark On Your Own Italian Road-trip on Two Wheels!

19.01.2018 16 Comments

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I’ve often coveted dreams of owning the Vespa you see in my logo. Just two-wheels and a dusty road in Tuscany, that’s where you’d find me. Or rather wobbling my way on one flat tire as soon as I turn the bend, my hair a mess, a pair of sunglasses broken, that’s the more realistic scenario with my perpetually clumsy self. In any case, I abandoned the dream of owning one long ago but occasionally embark on the odd ride every now and again when the occasion allows. Still, I believe a Vespa ride through the countryside is a once-in-a-lifetime activity if done right, which is why I wanted to share this unique opportunity for a road-trip on two wheels on the blog.

What if you could go on a multi-day adventure on board a Vespa touring idyllic Italian villages and the beautiful countryside, either on your own or together with a like-minded group of Vespa-fans.

This just might be the option for you.

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The Vespa Trip – An Idea is Born

I got to talking with the owner of The Vespa Trip, his name is Charles Van den Bossche, a dutch native who as always held a candle for Italy. I asked Charles how the idea for this company came about to which he replied “Since the beginning of our existence we have always organized road trips around Europe. It has always been my dream to organize a road trip with Vespa’s as well so I decided to do it with a bunch of my international friends. We also took a photographer along and the trip was such a success that I was convinced of the idea and started selling it the next year. Quite quickly we received interest from all over the world for this trip.”

The Vespa Trip’s tagline is “It’s the journey, not the destination.” And the idea is to let people enjoy both the experience of the scenery around them together with that of driving a Vespa. People who join “the trip” will be on a one-week journey where they will visit both major towns and also smaller villages that aren’t flooded with tourists.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, in the beginning they tried a various amount of routes that didn’t include the busiest of roads this resulted in often choosing more bumpy choices in the form of non-intentional off roading and I can totally sympathize with Charles. I once went to visit an outdoor concert in Tuscany once with my ex-boyfriend and thanks to Google maps, we entered a road that Dante’s Inferno would have deemed too extreme. In resulted in a little bit of crying and people getting out of the car to push into existence. Once google tried to direct me into a lake.

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Trust me when I say it’s great to have someone pre-map and test a route for you. Relationships can be killed over google maps and no one wants that.

So, Where do they go? 

The destinations for The Vespa Trip are in the areas of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast and Sicily (god, I’d love to go there). For Tuscany the departure city is either Florence or Pisa (then it is the same route). Stops along the trip will include the cities of San Gimignano, Siena, Firenze, Vinci, Lucca, Pisa and (in their words) the awe-inspiring remoted village of Montefegatesi on top of the hills. 

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While I’ve been everywhere on that list, Montefegatesi isn’t one of them so I did a little research as I was writing this article. Apparently it is high above the other villages in the lovely Bagni di Lucca area, a place known for beautiful panoramas and hot springs, the town itself was once used by Lucca as a  “guard town” from nearby enemies looking to invade. I’m naturally curious so this would be reason enough for me to join the fun, in fact, if you’d like to read up on more of the beautiful villages in this area, Visit Tuscany has you covered here.

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I asked Charles why he chose the destinations he did and he said “Tuscany is not only the home of the Vespa, but also one of the regions in the world where you have some magnificent cities who are all close to each other, which makes it easy for Vespa’s. Another particular thing is that if you leave the city you find yourself almost immediately in the typical Italian countryside with views you can only witness in Tuscany. Amalfi Coast was the number one of our surveys when we asked our clients where to go next. I’ve done this trip together with my girlfriend and then I understood why. Sicily: I’ve done a Vespa Trip in Sicily before and what stroke me is the fact that once you exit the cities, it’s like you are thrown back in time. Although it’s a bit harder to fly on Sicily, I think the trip is definitely worth it.”

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For the Sicily trip, you can expect to visit world famous salt mills of Trapani (I’m already jealous) and stop in some picturesque fisherman’s villages. One notable location is in beautiful Cefalu where all of my friends claim to absolutely love. Send me a postcard if you go, please.  

Amalfi instead offers a chance to escape the chaos of Naples (though I totally recommend a few days in Napoli which I am obsessed with after reading the Napoli novels by Elena Ferrante. The legendary Amalfi route will start right after Pompei until you reach Salerno, taking you on a beautiful route towards the national park, Parco Regionale dei Monte Picentini. After spending a night in the authentic South Italian village of Avellino, The Vespa Trip will head back to Naples.

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Charles filled me in on what a typical day could look like “naturally you can fill your days however you want, but usually the vespa riders start their around 10AM. Around noon you will always be able to stop at a smaller unique typical Italian village. In the afternoon you’ll start driving again where you for example visit a wine castle and do some tasting. Around 6PM most drivers arrive at the hotel and can start planning for the night. We always recommend some of our favourite places to hang out and have dinner, but everybody is free to do whatever they want.”

To me that sort of tour is absolutely perfect. Personally I am not a fan of 24/7 handholding, especially when it comes to restaurants where we tend to be really picky. I like that the fact that there is an itinerary so that you don’t waste time wondering where to visit but once there you can decide what tickles your fancy.

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How much does this cost? 

The price for The Vespa Trip varies on the location. For seven days (6 nights in a hotel) in Tuscany, the prices ranges from €490,00-€590,00 depending on the week, and the destination. It’s important to note that the trip always starts on a Tuesday, with the arrival day on a Monday. The prices for both Amalfi and Sicily are around the same, besides the hotel, the Vespa and breakfast is included as is your local guide. The Vespa Trip is designed for two riders on a Vespa during the week-long trip but if you want to go it alone, there is a 120€ solo driver supplement (if you come with a friend and want to drive alone) or 150€ if you just want to come alone in general.

What if I have no Vespa experience? 

Not a problem, They offer the option to arrive early in the day (preferably before noon) take a start-to-Vespa course. This costs (+50€ per Vespa) which starts at 2PM, their guide will explain you the tips and tricks of driving a Vespa and embark on a test ride the day before the trip actually starts. This is imperative to feeling comfortable on two-wheels and being that you are in the hands of experts, I would even do this if it had been awhile since you’ve ridden one just to get a refresher course. 

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Also if you really don’t want to drive, you can of course ride on the back of someone’s vespa or the one of your friend if you come together with a group. I get it, I won’t judge you especially if you had a little too much wine at lunch.

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Final Thoughts and More Details

Naturally I had to inquire about funny stories because you know as a tour owner/leader you tend to see and hear it all. Charles didn’t disappoint. He shared that one group was so overly excited about driving the Vespas that when they arrived at a local supermarket to pick up food, they actually drove inside the market to the shock of all those inside. It was pretty hilarious but I imagine that must have been a small town since in Florence they would be chasing you down the street with a broom or a stack of useless bollini to throw at you.

  • What do I need to bring? Your self and a friend (if you want) and of course you will need a driver’s license for a normal car (B) or a motorcycle driver’s license (A). 
  • There is also the option to rent a GPS (30€) so that you can have access to the itinerary without having to follow the guide. 
  • The hotels are in the 3 to 4 star category, and come with breakfast and occasionally a pool. The itinerary on the website gives you an idea of what hotels you will sleep in. 
  • 3rd party damage insurance is included but they do recommend that you get travel insurance in advance to avoid potential larger costs during the trip should something happen. 
  • Included in the price are the hotel nights with breakfast, the Vespa with helmet, the guide and the roadbook.
  • Obviously you have to cover the costs of getting to Italy to start your Vespa Trip but from what I’ve been reading online, it seems like a good time to book tickets. USA Today was noting airfares to Rome recently from New York City, Los Angeles and San Fran starting at around $371 dollars. Woah!

Full disclaimer, I haven’t yet been on the Vespa trip myself and this is a sponsored article however all opinions are 100% my own and I found Charles to be a genuinely interesting guy with a cool new concept in The Vespa Trip which is why this article is up on my blog. My hope is to join one of his tours this Spring to see how I fare on two wheels myself so perhaps we may be riding together if you decide to come to Tuscany. 

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Avatar
GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    Tony Staffaroni 19.01.2018 at 15:36

    I love my Vespa! Don’t abandon your dream, you should buy one! Someday I would love to have my Vespa with me in the bel paese so that I can explore the countryside like a true Italian! 🙂

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 21.01.2018 at 10:23

      You have a point Tony. I feel like I should get one, I guess I have to get over my fear of crashing it and technically I need to get an Italian driver’s license because I have lived here so long.

  • Avatar
    Sarah Ozatici 19.01.2018 at 19:40

    Wow, I feel that the prices are really fair for what it is (esp considering the prices of most travel packages or cruises or whatever!) Def keeping this in mind for next time I plan an Italy trip!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 21.01.2018 at 10:22

      I thought so too, especially considering it includes both the Vespa AND the hotel. Do you let me know if you decide to go!

  • Avatar
    Lisa DeNunzio 21.01.2018 at 14:58

    What a great idea. Surprised that no one has come up with it sooner. Look forward to hearing about your experiences on a Vespa

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 22.01.2018 at 17:33

      I thought so too Lisa! I’ve seen a fair amount of scooter tours in the cities but not a multi-day adventure. This is a unique way to get to see Italy, especially cool since you get some expert training first.. Safety is key!

  • Avatar
    Angela 28.01.2018 at 2:41

    Hello there, wondering if you can provide recommendations for weather in late March/early April. Specifically, does it rain a lot during that time? This activity would be ideal but that is the only time that we can visit Italy. Your help is appreciated

  • Avatar
    Abi Kris 26.03.2018 at 10:06

    I`m so immpressed!!! I hope to fly there there because when it comes to the holidays i can’t practically wait any more to see Italia

  • Avatar
    Patricia Teague 08.04.2018 at 11:54

    And this is why I am currently learning to ride a scooter (not a vespa but a red one none the less!! called Sophia) Loving riding around the Yarra Valley wine region on two wheels and when I get my license and off my Probationary license then I will be able to actually try some wine!!
    Loved this article and will definitely follow this up when I come back to Italy in the next few months

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 08.04.2018 at 23:42

      That’s really awesome Patricia, I love that she already has a name! Do keep me posted on your two-wheeled progress :).

  • Avatar
    Maria Spyrou 24.05.2018 at 12:03

    Wow Georgette that’s exactly the article I needed! I am planning a trip to Puglia in 2019 and we wanted to rent a Vespa for a couple of days just so we get a taste of this experience. After reading your article I’m ready for a full Vespa road trip though. And I haven’t been to Sicily yet, so it sounds like a plan! Thanks again for sharing with us all the awesome little things that you discover!

  • Avatar
    Melanie 17.07.2018 at 9:56

    Hi, I just returned from the Sicily trip…. sad to say it was the worst experience I have had. Our tour guides just learned how to drive vespa’s, could not follow the GPS we lost 2 days from going the wrong way. The company didn’t provide proper routes, we drove on sandy and rock roads the first day, not good for first timers. One guide had us in a high traffics, I ended up having an accident and had to pay for damage almost more than the trip with no help from the gudes. I don’t have an issue paying for something I broke but I think the company should of assisted. I am now home with the entire right side bruised.

    The guides had never drove or been to Sicily or prb italy. I can’t believe a company would have a set up li,e this having employees with no training from an other country… we had two other people from the Tuscany trip and had the same issues…

    If you do this tour I would do it your self, we drove almost 170k a day which doesn’t leave to,e for anything but dinner, and a 45 min lunch if your lucky.

    I realize this seems very negative reply but it’s the truth.

    Driving a Vespa to see any place is great I will do it again but a different way.

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 21.07.2018 at 15:36

      Thank you Melanie for sharing your experience, it is important to know the good and the bad and perhaps it sounds like doing this by yourself in Sicily might be the way to go. I am so sorry you had such a rough experience, were they helpful upon hearing your feedback? Just out of curiosity? Also if you go to Rome, I have personally been and can vouch for the Vespa tours by Scooteroma. They aren’t cheap but the guides are completely trained and I really enjoyed discovering the street art outside of the city.

  • Avatar
    Melanie 26.07.2018 at 20:52

    Hi, unfortunately I did not receive any acknowledgment from the company.
    My feedback
    Was not all negative, there where good points I did mention.
    I know there always an expectation a person should have when taking a group tour, but this was not close.

    I’m the end my friend and I have some great memories!

    I might even try one more before I leave Italy, thanks for the tip about scooteroma

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 28.07.2018 at 16:03

      Scooteroma is amazing, I’ve been on three of her tours and would recommend them to anyone. Hopefully someone from The Vespa Trip will read your comment and take your thoughts into consideration! Thanks again for sharing

  • Avatar
    hey 21.08.2018 at 18:12

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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