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Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Scooter travel Yamaha and Suzuki

WHAT a hotel, and lovely guys, and look at their motorbike collection wow!

Well I have been visiting a lovely town in the north of Italy called Fiorenzuola d’ Arda quite often recently. As it is a very long drive from Roma I have stayed overnight a few times and just look at the lovely hotel I found https://www.mathis.it/en/

The Hotel Mathis is an amazing find! The food is amazing and the service is really something from the old days, friendly and welcoming. All of the staff are really kind and seem to enjoy meeting folks so I was made to feel at home straight away and the beer is great too, as well as the food.

And when I returned very late one night after attending a basketball match and then dinner with the team there was a graduation party in full swing, I was not tired so I stayed up for a couple of beers. And chatting to the hotel owners, a lovely young couple, he then took me to view his collection of motorbikes and here below is a selection wowowowowowow, I could not believe my eyes!!

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France Hotels Motorcycle and Bicycle travel

Another trip from Amalfi to the Midlands (UK) and back, by van…

Well, the fiendish plan was to take my beloved 2015 Yamaha TMax scooter plus my sweet 2013 Honda CB500 back to sell in the UK, and to collect my brand-new TMax 530DX which was waiting for me at Alf England (www.alfengland.co.uk). Yamaha have just launched the TMax 560 so many dealers were caught with stock of the 530 and I managed to get a good deal from Martin, he wanted to sell his last one.

Unfortunately the only one left in stock was black which is NOT my chosen colour for cars or bikes, (my old one was white which I much prefer) but beggars and choosers and all, the deal was excellent so I could not resist mainly because my old one did not have ABS which I personally regard as essential for 2 wheelers. You may not notice until its toooo late.

So I set off from Roma on a Saturday morning at about 7am, destination Chamonix for my overnight stop cos I love Chamonix and the Mercure Hotel is lovely, just a few kilometres after the Mont Blanc tunnel. When I arrived at about 5pm the temperature was already sliding below zero so I decided to park the van in the hotel garage for an extra 10 Euro, to avoid having to scrape and de-ice in the morning as I was planning to leave fairly early tho’ not at dawn! Well, I pulled out of the hotel garage at about 6am at minus 8.5 degrees and the climb up to the road was all ice and snow, the van however was great on her wonderful winter tyres. I headed north and as usual in France the motorways were excellent, not too busy and totally clear of ice.

I hit Calais at about 4pm and was put on the next P and O ferry leaving in 30 minutes, I headed up to the Business Lounge for my free newspapers plus tea, coffee or champers and as usual I had two or three coffees and read several newspapers. At Dover I then headed to Cambridge and luckily the traffic was fairly light, I hit the M2/M25/M11 and was soon in Shelford for beers and rest.

So the next morning I headed north to the Midlands to see Martin and the gang….some pictures below!! By the time I returned to Amalfi the red van had covered 5150 kms and averaged almost 11km/l, not bad for an old girl. Great trip, zero oil consumed too cos the van is only running at 2300rpm at 130 kph, very relaxed.

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Repairs Scooter Transport travel

We have some great cars for sale here in Ravello and…we can organise storage as well as long-term “rental”…..

Here at Autocioffi (see us at www.autocioffi.it) we have a super premises which used to be a paper mill (so it is next to a small river) and we have 3 floors of covered parking space. We generally have about 20 of our own cars here and we have space for at least another 30.

Our 20 ish cars are all up for sale on our website and we also do servicing, tyre fitting, maintenance as well as bodywork repairs and painting so we are fully equipped to look after all makes of cars and vans, and we even collect and return cars in the surrounding area. We are well-known by all of the local hotels so many tourists come here too, if they need any car-type help.

We have recently devised a really cunning scheme. If you plan to visit Italy for an extended length of time (minimum for instance 6 months) and you need wheels, we can help. See our list of cars for sale, we specialise in small Fiat, VW and Renault but we generally have a variety of cars from a 2 seater up to a SUV. The retail prices are all shown. So what can we offer?? You come and see the car and try it, see what you think. Try more than one or two, no problem.

If you find a car you like, you buy it, simple no? Well sure, but here is our proposal. You tell us how long you wanna keep it, you must insure the car, and when you bring the car back to us PROVIDING OF COURSE THE CONDITION IS AS IT WAS then we buy it back, LESS an agreed rental fee. How much? Well that will depend on the value of the car you choose plus the proposed rental period. Contact us for a quote.

Check out Avis and Hertz, of course they will provide a much newer car BUT they will charge you about 1200 Euro per month (category F), and from Ravello you must go and get the car from Salerno. And we can also offer car or motorbike storage here at very reasonable rates too.

Clever idea number two: We have plenty of secure parking spaces where you can leave your car (or motorbike or scooter or whatever) on a daily weekly or even monthly basis. Parking in this area (Ravello/Amalfi) is VERY hard to find as well as expensive, so contact us for a quote!

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France Hotels Motorcycle and Bicycle Scooter Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

Another rapid van trip through Europe…

Last week I headed north, destination the UK where I was due to deliver 2 motorbikes to my favourite bike shop where they would be sold. So I prepared my trusty Mercedes Vito van, checking the tyres plus oil and water and packing the 2 bikes snugly into the rear, luckily they are both slim bikes so this was not difficult.

Well my schedule is now quite well rehearsed, I left Roma at 5am Sunday morning with a hotel booking in lovely Chamonix in my pocket, 815 km north in the French Alps just the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel. I love the Mercure Chamonix and as I have stayed many times they usually give me a free upgrade plus a VIP free drink when I arrive, large cold beer if possible please!

The next morning at dawn I left the hotel and headed north. The French motorways are fantastic and in general very free flowing. And for the first time I was travelling with the new European Telepass which covers Italy plus France, Spain and Portugal so I did not have to stop and pay for the French motorway tolls, I just go through the designated Telepass lane. Progress was so good that I stopped for lunch, fuel and a van wash near Reims and I then decided to crack on for Calais as I always travel with an open ferry ticket, so I get onto the next ferry.

Onto the P&O Ferry and over to the UK and then just a short trip up to Cambridge, some food and then an early night!

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B travel

Don’t take your car to Ravello or Amalfi, avoid driving the Amalfi coast at all costs!!!! (unless you drive a battle tank maybe)…


Why, you may ask. Well, consider these points:

  • The traffic along the coast road becomes just one long hot queue in the summer months.
  • The coast road is very narrow and winding, two buses cannot pass easily.
  • Overtaking is generally impossible.
  • If two coaches or buses or trucks meet then one must reverse.
  • You can easily damage your rental car and/or the wing mirrors.
  • Parking charges are in the region of 25 to 30 Euro per day.
  • On-street parking is between 2 and 3 Euro per hour IF you can find it

So, leave the car at home and let the bus or ferry boat take the strain!!!

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Amalfi Coast Appartments and B&B Eat and Drink Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Traditional food and restaurants travel

Some new ideas for Amalfi visitors

So how about an Amalfi Mozzarella Day? Wine Day? Amalfi History Day? Limoncello Day? Bread and Biscuit Day. Italian Beer Day? Cooking Day? Pottery Day? And so on.

With Daniela who runs the Hotel Aurora in Amalfi we often chat about what her customers really enjoy. The vast majority (about 85%) of her clients are from overseas, Europe and USA as well as Australia and almost everywhere. The beauty of the Amalfi coast needs no explanation, whereas the history and the culture is a slightly different story. Have a look at this for starters.

There are many organised tours in the area to see nearby Underground Naples, Caserta Palace , Pompei and the local Cathedral as well as several lemon and wine tours but there is little explanation of the incredible history of the town and the local area and of its people. Daniela is a born and bred Amalfitana and a massive fan with great knowledge of the local history and culture. Her family have been in the hotel business for several generations so there is little she does not know about the area. She and her family run a modern hotel in the town, the Hotel Aurora, as well as a much older hotel the Hotel Luna Convento which is inside a former religious convent. Parts of the convent date from the 1600s.

So our idea is to offer overseas visitors a series of small events in the English language, where we can explain some of the history as well as offering a taste of the amazing food and drink that was and still is produced in the area. Our idea is perhaps not a new one, but could provoke the interest of many of the visitors to Amalfi and could just promote some of the lesser known products and history of this lovely town and area.

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Amalfi Coast Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel

Two new electric-assisted bicycles for Hotel Aurora

We just supplied two lovely bicycles to the Hotel Aurora Amalfi, for use by their staff and clients. The bikes are made by Torpado, an Italian manufacturer, and they are very robust and well made, and supplied and customised by our great friends in Roma Cicli Franchi. These E bikes have a large lithium ion battery on the rear carrier which give the bikes an autonomy of about 60 kilometers between charges, in normal or average use. Or once a month, whichever comes soonest.

The hotel staff and management seem very pleased indeed with these bikes and they already attract alot of looks and attention and questions, an added bonus. The idea is to give an extra service to the hotel guests and we have not yet decided how much we will charge to our clients. We are waiting for insurance cover and then we must write a disclaimer which the client will be asked to sign before using the bike.

What do you think??

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Amalfi Coast Eat and Drink Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Traditional food and restaurants travel

Tramonti, an amazingly well-hidden jewel

Tramonti is only about 12km from Amalfi and it is on the mountain road connecting Amalfi to the motorway at Angri, so over recent years I have driven past Tramonti many times. My only visits have been with friends to an excellent local pizzeria.

Well, recently we have had a much closer look and exploration. I discovered for instance that Tramonti is actually made up of several small towns (13 I think) dotted around the hills of the main town. I know that whilst so far the area is very sleepy and many of the residents work on the land, it is likely to experience a property expansion in the near future for these reasons;

  1. There is a local government plan to construct a link using a cable car between the famous Amalfi coastline and the Naples -Salerno motorway, to make access to the coastal areas much easier, and
  2. The current land in the coastal areas (all the way from Salerno to Positano) is under massive pressure for new housing and/or hotels, so the Tramonti area is a likely candidate for development land at a reasonable cost.
  3. Amalfi council has just announced plans to build a bypass so that Amafi and nearby Atrani can become pedestrian areas, this is not a short term project of course.

So we explored and eventually found our new property in Polvica, and just up the road we also found a fantastic restaurant called Trattoria San Francisco. A local friend introduced us to the young couple Pamela and Francesco who run the place and the food is fantastic. They are part of the Slow Food movement and most of the food they serve is locally produced. But the real discovery for me of this wonderful place is that they have a beer made for them locally and the beer is GREAT!!!!

We have eaten there twice already and we will visit again for sure!!!!

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Amalfi Coast Eat and Drink Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Traditional food and restaurants travel

Some top places to visit in Amalfi

Bar Masaniello Simply the best bar in Amalfi if not the world (ok ok I am biased, I love the place). Indoor and outdoor seating, free wifi and the best selection of beer in the town without any doubt. Service is great and very friendly and the food is also really good, no rip offs here. Good music always to listen too and sometimes live music in the evenings

Boat Museum Situated right next to Masaniello, this place is quietly amazing. Few visitors will know the history, Amalfi was one of four Italian maritime States. The compass was (perhaps) invented here and the boat museum is located where they used to manufacture the boats! Well worth a 30 minute wander out of the sun

Hotel Aurora gardens You don’t need to be staying in the hotel to go and admire the wonderful terrace gardens and sit down for a happy hour or so looking out over the harbour. Good selection of beer and wine plus cocktails and tasty sandwiches. WHAT a view

Hotel Luna Convent Cloister. This hotel building dates from the 1200s (in parts) and has been managed by the Barbaro family for more than 200 years. The amazing cloister dates from the 1200s too and is well worth a visit and a gentle cup of tea. Living history

Paper Museum Amalfi still makes paper and this lovely Museum gives you a taste of the old times, methods and traditions. Lovely place

Panza Pasticceria The Panza family owns several activities in Amalfi and the most famous is this lovely old bar. You can sit outside right next to the cathedral steps and enjoy excellent coffee and home-made cakes in the sun

La Tonnarella If you wanna eat in this town then there are several excellent restaurants. But if you want a unique eating experience then try this place. You need to book (your hotel can do that for you) and the food price includes the water taxi to and from the beach eating place which is about a 15 minute ride from Amalfi centre. Stunning place and food and experience

Paper shop This shop sells all sorts of articles and is specialised in hand made paper, great for gifts to take home to friends and family

Lacoste and Colmar shop Wonderful shop in the main street with a good selection of branded clothes including these 2 great marques

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Amalfi Coast Appartments and B&B Car rental Hotels Hotels, villas, appartments and B&B Transport travel

Visit the wonderful Amalfi coast with a guide or just some practical guide-lines

We all know that the Amalfi coast is stunning and well worth a visit. Nothing new there. But the best way to get there? The best way to get around? What to avoid and why? All of these important points and more are not always obvious as the coast is very long, winding and varied and each town along the coast has its own quirks and characteristics.

Here follow a few insider tips and guidelines for you to consider before you visit and/or I am happy to offer more precise guidelines for specific visits:

  1. Avoid August. Period. Unless you love sweltering heat, massive overcrowding and traffic queues then it is better to leave well alone. July is also very hot and slightly less crowded. August swells the 3,000 Amalfi population to 30,000 per day.
  2. Do not bring a car unless you have to. The coast road is very beautiful but also very crowded and narrow. Driving in the area is not easy even out of season, and from May through to October is really slow and hard work. Or get a local to drive you.
  3. From Roma you can take a fast train from Termini station to Salerno station and this takes two hours or a bit less. Then from Salerno station a walk of only about 300 metres takes you to the ferry port.
  4. The wonderful ferry service works from April thro’ to October and covers the entire coast from Salerno to Sorrento. It is not expensive and hops along the coast, the ferry is probably faster than any road transport and you also get to view the coast from the sea as well as enjoy the sea breeze.
  5. Book early, as last minute is very complex and expensive and generally you will find only out of the way places. Folks still book the same room for next year when they leave their favourite hotel, like in the old days!
  6. Be very cautious of the giants like Booking, TripAdvisor and the rest cos they are not reliable on the coast. Simply put these giants cannot get the percentages they want here as the hotels and restaurants are generally full anyway, so often they seem to publish rubbish. Use the direct web sites for better information.
  7. Avoid taxis as they generally charge you a fortune, I guess because there are so few of them. If you have to then ask then to know the fee before you go and you can negotiate. Ask the hotel to book for you for some protection and always ask the fee in advance.

Any other information you require, just ask.