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Amalfi Coast Car service Repairs Transport travel Vintage cars

Have a look at this lovely little classic car…..

You may love or even hate the original Fiat 500, but you cannot deny that they form a part of the European motoring heritage. When Italy came out of the Second World War, the first cheap and mass-produced contribution to getting the Italians mobile again was possibly Piaggio with their little mopeds, and then Fiat with their small cars.

The original 500 was introduced in 1957, see this excellent Wikipedia article for the full story https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500 and was a truly amazing achievement. Today in 2020 you can still find these cars but accidents, rust and just age have of course taken their toll.

Recently a mate of mine asked me to advertise his 500 for sale, so I put it on Ebay UK as although it is of course left hand drive, there are some UK collectors looking for these fairly rare cars and as few were made in rhd they are prepared to purchase the lhd cars as well.

This all happened at about the time that this terrible virus closed down Italy and of course Europe so John was unable to fly over to see the car and instead asked me for many many photographs, which I supplied. Transport was of course the next problem and I found to my suprise that a freight ship sails from Salerno to the UK every week, and it takes about a week to arrive. We asked for a quote and the price is fairly reasonable, so if our UK mate John decides to go ahead then I will take some pics when we take the little car to meet the rather large ship!!! Watch this space.

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travel

A truly wonderful gastronomic discovery, just off the motorway near Fidenza, km90…

I discovered this place by chance on my last trip to the UK. I was in the north of Italy and I needed some fuel so I left the motorway to search for a petrol station and I found one and filled up. I was also feeling hungry so I looked around for food and I found this place:

https://www.km90.it/ Fidenza, Exit A1 circa 200 metres from Fidenza Outlet Village

Wow. What an amazing place and lunch. I ate and looked round the place with amazement and I bought some gifts to take with me to the UK, the selection and the quality of the food was truly amazing and the prices excellent too. Look at the photos I took:

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Amalfi Coast KTM Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Repairs Scooter Yamaha and Suzuki

New plan! New motorcycle sales operation. Watch this space

Ok so now I am established in my new property in the Tramonti region of Italy, and Tramonti is very close to the motorway. So what now? I am in touch with the guys who own and run the excellent dealership Celestini in Civitavecchia and they are not only an excellent Yamaha and KTM dealer, they are also distributors and they operate a fleet of vans which deliver bikes to smaller dealers in the bottom half of Italy.

So my idea is to become a Celestini sub dealer for Yamaha and KTM new bikes and perhaps even second hand bikes too.

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Motorcycle and Bicycle Scooter travel

Why you should never rent a scooter or a Quad when you are on holiday (unless you are a regular biker and you dress with at least jeans and gloves)…

I saw an article on the Independent web site recently discussing the dangers of renting when on holiday overseas, see here. The Guardian reported almost the same sad facts. The articles report that of course when you go on holiday your defences are down and you are vulnerable to accidents given that you do not know the local road uses and customs and on two wheels you are very exposed to everything.

This was evident to me without reading these articles. On the Amalfi coast there are many scooter rental companies and so in the summer months you can see the visitors buzzing around the place. In all cases the uses are given a helmet of course, and then because of the heat they dress for the beach so shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. And of course these small scooters are either 125 or 150cc so they can get up to 80kph, and given also that most renters are not experienced riders then you have a dangerous and explosive mix, bringing great danger.

The roads along the Amalfi coast then make their own contribution, as the roads are narrow, potholed and in the summer months carry alot of visitors as well as commercial and local traffic. And if it rains they become very slippery of course.

I therefore suggest that only experienced riders should rent these bikes and then of course wear at least jeans, gloves plus a jacket so that a small spill does not have serious consequences!! If you fall off at just 10kmh you will naturally put a hand down to break your fall, and your hand will bear the scars for weeks to come……

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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 Car rental Car service Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Scooter travel Yamaha and Suzuki

Our new property!!!! Finally we have the keys

We have been searching for a suitable property for about two years, on and off, and we have finally found the property of our dreams!!! Last month we exchanged contracts and took possession of a stunning garage in lovely Polvica, which is one of the 13 small towns which make up the area called Tramonti. The location is perfect for the Amalfi coast, Tramonti is 6 kilometers inland from Maiori, which is them 6 kilometers up the coast from Amalfi.

The properties are actually 2, one very small “house” which is actually a single room with an outside toilet, plus nearby the amazingly modern and large garage. The house was purchased only to enable the purchase of the garage as only a resident is allowed to purchase the garage. The garage is amazing!! It is large and almost new, about 6 metres wide and 8 metres long PLUS it has a bathroom with a shower too. And upstairs on the garage roof there is a garden with a lemon tree plus a kiwi plant, and plenty of space for a BBQ and sunbathing!!!

We have already started to have work carried out by some local builders to ensure that both of the properties are in perfect condition, then I will take some pictures to add to this blog. Great news indeed!!

 

 

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Amalfi Coast Motorcycle and Bicycle Scooter Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

New idea: import some used bikes from Alf England in the UK

From my many years of motorbike ownership and experience in the UK and in Italy, I know that the two countries use and treat their bikes very differently.

In the UK the weather is not good for motorbikes so the season is very short and the annual mileages are often very low indeed. Bikes are really bought for passion and are generally treated really well and cleaned almost more than they are ridden. The average annual mileage can be as little as 2 to 3,000 kms and also the British owners will always follow the suggested service intervals so even an almost unused bike will have all of its service stamps in the book!! And virtually all UK bikes are kept in standard trim.

In Italy we have the opposite situation where the bike or scooter can be used almost all year round and servicing is not so strictly followed. Bikes cover many more kiloteres and see the service dealers as little as possible, so often the second-hand bikes are very well used and abused. Servicing is often not a priority and it is also unusual to see a bike of any kind in standard trim, scooters in particular are almost always modified by their owners. Here there is a huge aftermarket for the TMax parts for making the bike your own.

Result?? If I purchase a bike in the UK and bring it to Roma, folks here cannot believe the lovely condition and very low kilometers as well as the service history, so used bikes can sell very well here. For instance, I recently purchased 2 Yamaha TMax 530s from Alf England in the UK and took them to Roma, I sold the first one without trying, which gave me the idea (as I can fit 2 bikes into my trusty Vito!)

Look at these photos:

 

 

 

DSC_9149

The Honda VFR800 is a 10 year old bike and just look at the condition! The grey Yamaha TMax 530 is a 2014 model with some miles on the clock but again, she looks almost new. And the white TMax is 2015 with only 10k kms and almost better than new, she was sold as soon as my mate saw me take her out of the van.

Stop Press: Another white TMax 530 soon on the way, identical to the white one above. I must go to collect her soon!!

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Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Training Transport Yamaha and Suzuki

Bike training continued…..

I met up with the team Run x Fun owned and run by Luca Viola, himself a former racer as well as a passionate off roader and visitor to Africa. The team includes Paolo Castrichini, Max Zeraftis, Alex Vaghi, Michele Marchetti and others (see www.runxfun.it) as well as some amazing racers such as Fabio Massei (shown above), Alex and Alessia Polita and GianLuca Nanelli.

These guys are an amazing bunch and I have become 100 times better as a rider through them. They taught me theory as well as riding and I have never enjoyed myself so much in my life! We have held courses at Vallelunga and Misano but 90% of our training time is spent at the wonderful Magione circuit near to Perugia in Umbria, which became a home from home for the team.

Luca purchased an amazing TIR several years ago and that becomes our home for the night or 2 at the track. Mingling with some of the brilliant bike racers that we work with has been a great experience for me and to ride with them was truly amazing (when they went slowly so I could keep up of course)!!!.

We taught everything from how to start riding a bike round bollards in the car park right up to good racers who wanted to improve their lap times. But as Luca repeated we sought to explain HOW to ride and not just follow a fast guy so you go faster, as otherwise when the instructor was not there then the student would not know how he went faster. So our courses are always structured into theory and then riding (no more than 5 students with an instructor) to try to ensure that the theory could be shown to the student and then reinforced.

To be continued….