Back to Dublin via Italy, France, Switzerland

sottotitolo: L’estate é finita… Summer ended

So the adventure comes to an end.

After the 3,880km (2,100 miles) of the first part of the trip, the return to Ireland recorded “only” 2,650 km (or 1,650 miles) due to the fact we did a more straight line via Italy-Switzerland-France, not touching also Spain and Andorra as when in July we went to Italy.

Nevertheless it has been rich of beautiful moments, visits, encounters and roads for our Giulia to discover!

The first “strategic” decision has been to leave Puglia on the 14th August when no trucks are allowed on the road until midnight of the 15th ! And also when most of the tourists and Italians are already set at their travel destinations.

This gave us the possibility to enjoy panoramas and less crowded (if not empty, at times) motorways and other roads.
After the usual lunch pit stop nearby Civitanova Marche with “Prof Michaela”, ex colleague of Anna – my wife – we consequently reached comfortably Recanati (after a lunch break) with full light to enjoy the visit of the “Leopardi House” where the distinguished Poet Giacomo Leopardi lived for biggest part of his life.

Other than the immense cultural impact of this Poet, we enjoyed some really beautiful views from the top of the hill were Recanati sits.

By night time we met Gloria and some friends in the always nice Bologna; some food there guys, oh some foods…not to talk about the cars of the Emilia Romagna (birth place of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Dallara and others “monsters”)

Driving Giulia on those roads is always a beautiful moment. I must admit I crossed only a couple of Maserati and 1 Ferrari, while in 2020 (our first trip to Italy) I saw a good few more….but it could be related to those emptier roads as above

Interesting also to see that in 2020 we crossed many more Giulia all over Italy, France while this time around I noticed more Giulietta and Stelvio and definitively very few Giulia (they don’t know what they are losing!!)

We left Bologna while Italians was ready to celebrate “Ferragosto” on the morning of 15th: this world comes from “Feriae Augusti” which stands for the rest of Augusto, the Emperor, who created this on 18BC!

Meanwhile people was going (or was already) to the beaches, lakes, or preparing barbecues we drove to Aosta which is just under the Italian / French Alps with tremendous landscapes to admire and climbing roads to enjoy.

We passed of course under the European tallest mountain: Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc for our cousins the French). in Sallanches there is a spectacular view of the Mount and we were happy also there to meet an old friend of mines, André (I know since Erasmus in Nantes, 1999!)

The day after we enjoyed the full tour of Lac Leman visiting small villages “au passage” but most of all stopping by Lausanne in the day and Genève by night.
The only issue was that the speed on the road was strictly enforced at 60 or 70km/h (boring but SAFE Swiss 🙂 so it took a bit more than thought to reach the latter city, thus we decided to visit the morning after.
And it was a good option, since is a nice city stop!

We are on the 17th by now…second last day of the trip. We moved to Bourges with a just bit than 4 hour journey in national roads (in France those seem not having a dedicated petrol station network and you have to adventure on villages to find one…while in the motorway you can comfortably find after XX kilometers…).

Bourges is a really nice mediaeval city and we arrived on a good moment, since we enjoyed light spectacle on most of the monuments, starting from the imposing Cathedral !

The morning after was the day of the Loire Castle: more than 100 castles or imposing nobility homes exist in this part of France, some of them universally renowned.

We picked to visit: Chambord, Blois, Amboise, Clos Lucé (where the genius Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last few year of his life). The day was sunny and bright, the castle very interesting and we ended the busy day very tired, eating dinner at 11pm “chez” another friend of my Nantes life: Mickaël and family, near Le Mans (where unfortunately I did not make Giulia visiting the famous race track 🙂

Amboise : air ballon taking off from the Loire river

…19th August

The last day of our trip started with a short journey to Cherbourg (less than 3 hours) and a stop by CARREFOUR for some essential food purchases (a bag of more than 20kg…without having bottles of wine in it…). Then teh majestic ferry, for me big as much as the Titanic !

Almost a day after (19hours hit and miss) Giulia was not a unfamiliar car on the wrong side of the road anymore but back at home in Dublin.


I sincerely advice everyone to enjoy a road trip somehow, somewhere…we will definitively do it again.

Buona Strada !

Dublin to Lecce: dd 3&4 Bordeaux to Perpignan 970km

Our third day started with a relatively short and easy traject from Bordeaux to Donostia SanSebastian in Basque country (230 motorway mainly for just more than 2 hours).
Under a constant heat wave, luckily our Giulia air conditioning works well.
This gives us time to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of those days.
In the beautiful Basque city we admired particularly the view from Igeldo mountain.

In the afternoon we moved to Zaragoza  (260km less than 2h30mn) with only short visit before dinner (enough to see the cathedral and part of the city centre)
In the morning we moved towards.

Andorra: 400km in a bit more than 3hrs
The roads are less demanding on the Spanish sides (just before reaching Andorra we met an historic Lancia Delta HF integrale, very well maintained) and definitely more curvy and with slopes in the french Pyrenees (160km took 2 hours…but interesting and nice views! Oh my.
I really loved having the power and handling of Giulia there…

Perpignan: last stop of the 15th July.
Beautiful citadel and church and really nice meat in the restaurant!

Dublin to Lecce: Brittany to Bordeaux

After 18hrs ferry, with the cabins convincing me more and more eating only free range chickens (since cages are so smalll) we debarqued in Cherbourg to go straingh to the always charming Mont St Michel where we wandered for a good couple of hours.
Next destination Saint Malo, fortress city mostly destroyed during WW2 but rebuilt in the same fashion right away.

we had some very nice strolls and even nicer galettes and crepes.

After seeing l, with lots of pleasure and memories,  some friends near Rennes, the second day saw us and Giulia visiting La Rochelle in  Charente and finally Bordeaux , already preparing for the mighty 14th juillet celebrations. A really nice start!

Alfa … and Pizza :-)

Quale migliore occasione, prima di partire per un viaggio attraverso l’Europa, di ricordare l’ultimo incontro del gruppo Alfisti di Dublino?
Soprattutto perche allietato da alcune partecipazioni “straordinarie”: il club “Ducati Dublino”, Maurizio, direttore di “Radio Dublino” e gentile Signora ( e perché poi culminato in…pizzeria !(
La mia Giulia e’ arrivata ottimamente preparata all’evento grazie alle cure maniacali di Greg di Bespoke car ( che ha reso la mia Giulia scintillante come nuova!
L’incontro e’ avvenuto il 26 marzo nella zona di Raheny, S Anne park, nello scenario incantevole di Watermill Rd che va verso Bull’s Island.

Oltre 30 bellissime alfa di tutte le eta ed una decina di Ducati, Aprilia, Harleys!
Una bella chiacchierata tra amici, con molti dei quali ci siamo ritrovati “Da Mimmo” dell’alfista ed artista Tino 🙂
un’ottima pizza, per concludere l’incontro baciato dal sole e dal vento del mar d’Irlanda!

Restate sintonizzati sul mio viaggio attraverso l’Europa con Giulia incorniciata in paesaggi meravigliosi.

What better occasion, before leaving for a journey through Europe that I start next week, to remember the last meeting of the group of Alfisti from Dublin?
Especially because cheered by some “extraordinary” participations: the “Ducati Club Dublin”, Maurizio and wife of “Radio Dublin” ( and also since because culminated in … !pizzeria! (
My Giulia arrived excellently prepared for the event thanks to the maniacal care of Greg from Bespoke car ( who made my Giulia sparkling like new!

The meeting took place on March 26 in Raheny, near S Anne park, in the enchanting scenery of Watermill Rd which goes towards Bull’s Island.
+30 beautiful Alfa of various ages and a dozen Ducati, Aprilia, Harleys!
A nice chat amongst friends, with many of whom we met “Da Mimmo” by alfista and artist Tino 🙂
An excellent pizza, to conclude the meeting kissed by the sun and the wind of the Irish Sea!

Stay tuned on my trip through Europe with Giulia depicted in wonderful landscapes


2nd Meet Up ALFA ROMEO Ireland Group

It took a bit of time to write about this second meet up we had on the 27th September.

The atmosphere of this semi lock down is slowing down thoughts, behaviours, and hopefully also a bit this fuc…COVID19.

I’d have liked adding some in motion pictures & video of my Veloce but the road to the supermarket or school is not a very attractive landscape.

Thus, I just recollect some of the lovely moments of end of Sept in the meeting of other “Alfisti aficionados” with a big (social distancing ☹) Dart parking as scenario.

Another instance for me to meet Alfa & classic cars lovers.
OMG: so many beautiful cars that is hard to select pictures. And so many competent people that I felt somehow like a 18yrs old driving for the first time 😊

Special thanks to Adam Macklin and his brother Matthew that shared amazing drone – taken images!

My Veloce and a GTV

My Veloce is a relatively new car and the same apply to the Giulia QV and (the just few years older) Giuletta / 159 I admired there. Certainly, I deeply love my car and alike those recent Alfa but, in these meetings, I often feel a certain sense of reverence, kind of “noblesse oblige” for these amateurs and theirs classic automobiles that cruised dozens of years (up to 30/40!) and are still so beautiful, so modern, so stylish and is such good conditions.

Hats off my friends!

It is a mixt of respect, envy, joy to watch those “aunties” with my car, that I hope will become another classic Alfa after few years down the roads of Ireland and Europe!

With these thoughts in mind I wanted specially to share some images of two gorgeous classic examples of Italian design.


Ok is not an Alfa but this car (that substituted nevertheless than the Stratos!) is astonishing and I think it was the first for me to see in flesh and muscles one of the less than 8,000 Montecarlo that reached the roads.

This car (sold as Scorpion in the States) was sold during the years 1975 – 1981 with a 2 litres engine developing a torque of 165Nm and 120BHP (originally the project foreseen a 3L stopped by the 1973 Oil crisis). I guess is a joy to drive since also very lean (around 970kg).

The one I’ve seen in our meeting I believe was of the second series (indicated initially as Lancia Beta Montecarlo, then losing the Beta indication) of 1979/1981. In almost mint conditions and with a very nice roar 😊

Alfa Romeo Montreal

This was probably one of the most chatted car of the meeting together with a striking Giulia Quadrifoglio and the two Giulias from the ’70.

The car in view was a splendid 1974 model. The current owner bought the red beauty in 1981 in UK (for a ridiculous small amount of money: I can hardly imagine how much can be worth and certainly not less than 60,000€).

The Montreal was produced roughly in the same period of the above Montecarlo (1970 -1977); the name is due to an initial project Alfa brought in Canada for a festival celebrating the 100 years of the Confederation (1967).

I bet in the seventies 7.1 sec to reach 100km/h (60miles per hour) was a very good result and the same we can say of the 230BHP developed by the Montreal and the (declared) top speed of 240km/h.

Despite a nice design and again due to the Oil crisis, only 3,925 Montreal were produced. What a pity!

Arriving home (in Ita)

Circa 850km
La via Adriatica da Bologna a Lecce passando per Loreto.
Una bella traversata con una sosta nel Santuario di Loreto.
Non abbiam trovato molto traffico per fortuna, eccetto 3-4 tratti do 10/15km.
Una bella sorpresa: una Giulia Veloce rossa ha condiviso un pezzo di strada con Italia la vendono con quattro ruote motrici.
Finisce cosi il viaggio di andata, una bellissima avventura di quasi 3000 km in auto (oltre 3000 con la traversata in mare)
About 850km The Adriatic motorway from Bologna to Lecce via Loreto. A nice crossing with a stop in the Sanctuary of Loreto. Fortunately, we didn’t find much traffic, except for 3-4 sections of 10 / 15km.
To my beautiful surprise a (red) sister Giulia Veloce shared the road with us!
In Italy this is a Q4, four wheels drive.

Thus ends our outward journey, a beautiful adventure of almost 3000 km by car (over 3000 with the sea crossing)

Entering Italy

4 Giorno: Bellinzona Bologna 324km via San Gottardo 17km.
Prima di tutto bisogna ringraziare
Masaru Ibuka, Akio Morita della Sony e Steve Jobs per I complementi necessari al nostro viaggio: senza Nintendo e iPad i quasi 2000km fatti sarebbero pesati molto di piu ai bambini. E devo ringraziare Alfa romeo ogni giorno che il Signore manda sulla terra per aver scelto GIULIA…..potrei continuare a guidare senza sosta , tanto e’ piacevole.
Anche in quest ultimo tratto ho visto vari Stelvio, Giuletta e qualche MITO ma solo una Giulia. “Padre, perdonali, perchè non sanno quello che fanno “….(comprando quei SUV)
Una volta superato il tunnel del San Gottardo siamo praticamente entrati in Italia con un benvenuto alla bandiera sotto forma di saluto ai nonni via WhatsApp…
Poi, con un po di traffico, via verso “Bologna la Dotta” dove abbiamo incontrato vecchie amiche di Annalucia.
Una bella serata, con una ricca cena e poi conclusa con una passeggiata in Centro.
Stamattina si parte per l’ultima tappa….la strada e’ volata con Giulia.


Day 4: Bellinzona Bologna 324km via San Gottardo (17km)
First of all I must thank Masaru Ibuka, Akio Morita of Sony and Steve Jobs for the accessories necessary for our trip: without Nintendo and iPad the almost 2000km done would have weighed much more for children. And I have to thank Alfa Romeo every day that the Lord sends to earth for choosing GIULIA : I could continue to drive non-stop, so much is pleasant. Also in this last stretch I saw various Stelvio, Giuletta and some Mito but only one Giulia. “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing” ….(while buying those SUVs)

Once we passed through the Gotthard tunnel, we practically entered Italy with a welcome to the flag in the form of a greeting to grandparents via WhatsApp …
Then, with some traffic, we went towards “Bologna the knowledgeable (first university in Europe)” where we met old friends from Annalucia. A nice evening, with a rich dinner and then ended with a walk in the center. This morning we leave for the last stage …. the road has flown with Giulia.


Day 3 – 27th july
Countries touched: 4 (+ bonus Germany underground tunnel near Basel)
Km: just around 300 with over 1650 tot (I excluded sea traits on the ferries)
The trip is progressing nice & smoothly with Giulia and family 😀
We woke up in France, visited Switzerland and ended up almost in Italy (Canton Ticino).
Colmar Basel was just s short spell (65km) plain motorway
Basel is on the Rhin and is tidy and with a nice city centre but does not show the vitality of Lucerne, visited after lunch time (100km).
In Lucerne we stopped 4 hours including a lunch in Mr Pickwick pub (strange coincidence: one of the book I am reading in my Kindle is “The Pickwick Circle” by Dickens and also our trip is a modern discovery of places, people and ourselves…) and a small boat ride in the beautiful lake.
Prices in Switzerland are like in Champs Elyses in Paris or Via Condottii in Rona but …everywhere. it looks like Dublin is cheap!
Last traject under a beautiful Alps landscape brought Giulia in Bellinzona (145km) and here we met mountains pass, tunnels, up and down and a very fun road to drive!
In some traits I did not touch the accellerator for minutes (so steady was the inclination). We prob reached the best ever recorded fuel autonomy for a turbo petrol Giulia ever: I believe in the region of 4.5/5 L/100km in a portion of 25km with average speed of 95/100km per hour.
The Alps landscape is breathtaking even if in some occasionw you feel a bit kind of trapped .

3 ° giorno – 27 luglio Paesi toccati: 4 (+ bonus tunnel sotterraneo della Germania vicino a Basilea) Km: poco più di 300 con oltre 1650 tot (ho escluso i tratti di mare sui traghetti).
Il viaggio procede bene e senza intoppi con Giulia e la famiglia 😀 Ci siamo svegliati in Francia, abbiamo visitato la Svizzera e siamo finiti quasi in Italia (Canton Ticino). Colmar Basel solo un breve tratto autostradale (65 km) Basilea è sul Reno ed è ordinata e con un bel centro città, ma non mostra la vitalità di Lucerna, visitata dopo l’ora di pranzo (100 km). A Lucerna ci siamo fermati 4 ore incluso un pranzo nel pub Mr Pickwick (strana coincidenza: uno dei libri che sto leggendo nel mio Kindle è “The Pickwick Circle” di Dickens e anche il nostro viaggio è una scoperta moderna di luoghi, persone e tutto sommato di noi stessi. ..) e una piccola gita in barca nel bellissimo lago. I prezzi in Svizzera sono come sugli Champs Elysées a Parigi o in Via Condottii a Rona ma … ovunque! Fa sembrare Dublino economica!
L’ultima pezzo del percorso sotto uno splendido paesaggio alpino ha portato Giulia a Bellinzona (145 km) e qui abbiamo incontrato valichi, tunnels su e giù e una strada molto divertente da guidare! In alcuni tratti non ho toccato l’accelleratore per minuti (così costante era l’inclinazione). Probabilmente abbiamo raggiunto la migliore autonomia di carburante mai registrata per una turbo benzina di sempre: credo circa 4,5 / 5 L / 100 km in un tratto di 25 km con una velocità media di 95/100 km all’ora. Il paesaggio alpino è mozzafiato anche se in alcune occasioni ti senti un po ‘intrappolato.