For me, it's a rite of summer, riding Ducati motorcycles in Italy. There's just something about the air and the light and the roads and of course the people, that makes me feel there is no better use for my time and money. So for me to call this the ultimate Ducati vacation there's clearly something else going on besides the usual nirvana. And there is. It's WDW year and combined with that is the world meeting of Ducati Club Presidents. This year that meeting starts at the Ducati factory, with 6 days of riding the best roads Italy has to offer in the company of friends from all over the world, and ends with four days of bright red Ducati insanity aka: World Ducati Week. I have never missed a WDW, this is my 7th one and it's shaping up to be by far the biggest one yet. Join me for the Ultimate Ducati Vacation - Vicki's "You Were There" World Ducati Week 2012
Words and photos by Vicki Smith
It's dark when we head back and anytime you have a night time group ride this size it's an adventure. First, the autostrada runs out of paper tickets when it's our turn to go thru. So that's 15 minutes of shrugging and hand gestures.
That's the autostrada worker on the left. He's an experienced shrugger, lol.
Then we all need gas. And that guy there in gray and yellow? He decides the 20e bill he gave us earlier in the day, in change for a 100e bill, is now counterfeit. I'm laughing, I mean he should know right? Since he gave it to us? (it's not of course) Anyway it's all very typically Italian and just perfect as far as I am concerned. It's my first full day back in my favorite place in the whole world and life is good
What comes next is just buckets of awesomeness. 50 Ducati's in 1am traffic (feels a LOT like South Beach, a total jam up from the freeway to the beach) Radios blasting, tractor trailers, cars, scooters, you name it, and we are lane splitting in a giant group with crazy thin space between us all that leaves me fearing for our huge Multistrada hard bags. Riding on and off curbs, all normal for here. I am laughing so hard I have tears rolling down my face....
We get back to the hotel and I have been told I MUST check out the third floor. Some of the other presidents are telling me there's a glass wall with Ducati's behind it in the hallway. Huh??
Sure enough, there's a giant glass case with leathers, racebikes and all sorts of cool stuff displayed in it. Nice!
And the rooms on this floor are named after GP tracks. Now seriously, that's pretty darned cool....
In the morning I wake to the sounds of umbrellas clanking into place. Picture umbrellas like this for as many miles as there are beach. And every one rents for 15-20e. Crazy later today, right now it's a sea of color and tranquility.
Each morning the process is simple, find the red truck and drop off the luggage (or the appointed place to leave it) have breakfast (usually with whatever friends were in the restaurant when you arrive) and then grab your gear and line up for the ride out.
Today the group is doing a long ride but I have some work to finish, so we head off to Gubbio and this is the first thing we see. It's what's left of a Roman theater. Built in the first century BC it's the second largest surviving in the world. We are in the province of Perugia, in the region of Umbria, an area with a lot of interesting (and violent) Roman history