Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Giro d'Italia comes to Naples!

In honor of the Tour de France that started last Saturday I thought I'd write a post about the Giro d'Italia, which occurred two months ago in Italy (it was actually written right after we went, but was never posted). We were really hoping to be able to see the start of the Tour d'France in Corsica this year, but Jon was the only orthopedic surgeon on call at the hospital until last Monday so we were not able to take any trips for a few weekends. Add it to the list of things we need to do when we vacation in Europe in the future (it joins a list that includes Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, and Scandanavia).

The Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) is the Tour de France of Italy. Every year a couple hundred of well-known cyclists enter the three week multi-stage race to compete for the champion title. It is set up like the Tour de France with long rides, team time trials, individual time trials, and mountain stages moving through different cities and islands while occasionally passing into other countries.

The finish line

Jon is a big cycling enthusiast and follows the major tours every year, which subsequently I follow since it's on the TV. We couldn't seem to work out a way to see the Tour de France last summer so we were pretty psyched when we read that the race was going to start in Naples this year (the race hasn't been in Naples in about 50 years).

Jon sporting his Team Kainer jersey

We couldn't start the afternoon without a stop at our favorite pizza joint downtown, Pizzeria Pellone. How can one go into downtown and not have one of these delicious pizzas to yourself?

After pizza we took the subway to the Mergellina stop on the water. It was a hot day and there wasn't much of a breeze from the sea, but the bay looked so beautiful with the buildings lining the shore. We got there before the start and watched the pre-race activities. During the race we parked ourselves around the finish line and watched the cyclists pass by a few times as they did a few loops in the area.

After a couple of hours of watching and waiting we walked along the Lungomare, stopping each time the cyclists whizzed past us. We walked towards the port where many of the team tour buses were hanging out, waiting for their riders to finish.

We're glad that we got to experience some of the European bicycling culture. Even though we were unable to go to the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia worked out just fine and satisfied Jon's cycling craving!

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