Today’s trip to Brescia is going to be a full mix of landscapes – saying goodbye to the sea, crossing the Apennines and onward across the Pianura.

For this I get up very early as I’ve planned to drive along some very small and interesting single-lane roads, exploring rural Italy away from any main roads.

My motto for today
My motto for today

From La Spezia, driving northwards, I immediately start climbing towards the Apennine.

Here, the road is still very much OK
Here, the road is still very much OK

And the views to be seen are really worth the never-ending hair-pin bends on less-than-ideal road surfaces.

Castle close up
Castle close up
Castle on hill whilst climbing
Castle on hill whilst climbing

The further back the valley I get, the less tarmac the road surface is made of. The road itself remains steep and will remain so until around 1500m above sea level!

Random tarmac leading up the hill
Random tarmac leading up the hill
The road doesn't get any better
The road doesn’t get any better

The views, however, make all the difference. As does the absence of traffic. On the upper part of the pass I didn’t cross any other vehicle for about 4 hours!

Yet another viewpoint
Yet another viewpoint
The road leading up to the pass
The road leading up to the pass
Nearly at the top of the pass
Nearly at the top of the pass

At the top, the road surface is close to off-road and reminds me of my TWIKE adventures in India.

TWIKE's were not made for these road surfaces
TWIKE’s were not made for these road surfaces
Typical road surface
Typical road surface

I had planned to skim the hilltops along a precarious-looking and windy road and had driven fairly off-course to do so, but unfortunately, the road was blocked due to a hill slide. With this, I had to keep going in the wrong direction for another 30km before being able to get back to a road that goes in the right direction.

The detour, however, was not too bad at all! More views and hills with small and quaint villages.

Yet another village on some hill
Yet another village on some hill
Weird middle-of-nowhere war memorial
Weird middle-of-nowhere war memorial

Eventually, the road took us back down to the valley, promising lots of energy flowing back into the battery.

Left or right?
Left or right?
Yet another valley
Yet another valley
Traversing the Apenin
Traversing the Apennines

With the last hill crossed, I get a glorious view of the Pianura, Europe’s widest valley. Nice to look at… super boring to cross.

Slowly driving towards the Pianura
Slowly driving towards the Pianura
The Pianura in the background
The Pianura in the background
Another iconic TW560 image
Another iconic TW560 image
I hate the Pianura
I hate the Pianura

After 80km of flat roads, I finally see the first hills of the Alps – Brescia sits nicely nestled at the foot of these first hills – I’m looking forward to having some food with my friends. They both love cooking and usually treat me to some home-made delicacies when I visit. – can’t wait!

Arriving in Brescia
Arriving in Brescia
Close detail of my odesey
Close detail of my odyssey

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