by Casey Thompson © 2020 Bike It! Bellagio
There are so many beautiful biking routes on Lake Como, so many possibilities that you could stay in Bellagio for more than a month and not do the same route twice! Below are the routes that are the most popular rides for road cyclists and e-bikers! If you have one to three days to ride on Lake Como, definitely pick from this list when making your ride plan!
by Luca Negri © 2019 Bike It! Bellagio
When we think of the “Made in Italy” concept, a long history of tradition, design, manual work, and attention to details come to mind. However, in many cases, Made in Italy does not always mean 100% Italian made because of extreme specialization and the outsourcing of production (and sometimes even design) in other countries becoming the norm.
Fortunately, there are still today some true Italian made products. We can assure you that Nalini cycling apparel and gear are 100% Italian designed and produced. The Nalini headquarters in Mantova represents one of the only production sites in Italy where the production chain is completely on site. They start with a single thread, which eventually becomes a complete article of clothing. Behind this process there is a lot of history, research and development, and design that has boasted 100% customer satisfaction for decades.
We had the opportunity to visit the factory, thanks to our Bianchi sales rep and Nalini’s Commerical Director for Italy. First we saw a small “museum” at the entrance, with several images of cycling photo finishes and jerseys from successful cyclists wearing Nalini products. Afterward, we took a tour of the entire factory, visiting each production room to witness the production phases firsthand.
The factory is huge, larger than expected, and provides jobs to many of those who live in the town. At each section, the various production heads welcomed us; they are proud to be a part of Nalini and represent its value. The staff explained and showed us what each production team does for the different kinds of apparel. For example, we saw how socks are made using their specially-made machines. We also saw the entire process of idea and jersey design to the finished product. There is a lot of work put into making a custom jersey and it passes through the hands of several people—remember this when buying your next cycling jersey! Each part of their production line is extremely important, even the smallest of roles, to complete the final product. Nalini products still require manual labor, such as sewing various clothing parts/panels together, quality control, even the folding single packaging of each product by hand. The Nalini brand is part of MOA Sport, which also produces other big name brands and distributes them internationally.
We are excited to announce that Bike It's 2020 cycling kits will be made by Nalini and will be available in our shop, as well as other Nalini apprel made for Bianchi. We were impressed with the factory tour and to talk in person with Nalini staff and see firsthand what the company is about.
Choosing a brand isn’t always just about the name or fashion. With Nalini comes an Italian story and philosophy, so it makes sense that Nalini and Bianchi have partnered. It is also fitting for Bike It! to choose Nalini for our cycling apparel to align with our decision to have an all-Italian brand store and rental.
Bike It! Bellagio is selling its fleet of Bianchi bikes from the summer 2019 rental season. (As we are purchasing new bikes for our 2020 season!) All bikes are 2019 models and were used for 6.5 months. All bikes will be checked out, tuned up, and washed prior to the sale, of course.
Bike models for sale include the following:
Bianchi Intenso Disc
Bianchi Oltre XR3 CV
Bianchi Infinito CV
Bianchi Infinito CV Disc *2018 frame, full 2019 components, bikes new since April 2019)
Bianchi Infinito CV Disc Ultegra di2 w/ carbon wheels
Bianchi Grizzly 29.3
Bianchi Manhattan E-sport Hybrid
Bianchi E-allroad Impulso
Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV *2017 previous Bianchi test bike, used since April 2019*
Bianchi Specialissima CV *2017 previous Bianchi test bike, used since April 2019*
Bianchi Via Nirone 2019 / Bianchi Impulso 2018
All bikes will be available for purchase beginning October 14, 2019. Purchasers who plan to pick up their bike in person at Bike It! Bellagio must submit a nonrefundable 50% deposit to reserve the bike until October 14, with the remainder of payment due at time of pickup or shipping. Purchasers who would like their bikes to be shipped must remit full payment (bike price and shipping) prior to shipping. Each bike comes with its Bianchi manual. All sales are final.
Please call (+39 334 975 1604) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or to purchase your 2019 Bianchi!
by Casey Thompson © 2019 Bike It! Bellagio
Bike It! Bellagio’s Onno & Ghisallino ride remains our most popular route for all kinds of cyclists. But did you know this route can also be done off road? With the trail version of this route, MTBers can gain new perspectives, sights, and, of course, spectacular views! Come into our shop for free GPX file of either O&G route. Need a GPS? Our Karoo GPS rentals have made MTB exploration easier for cyclists—cyclists can go off-road with navigation at hand. (O&G, 34KM, 700 M elevation)
by Casey Thompson © 2019 Bike It! Bellagio
Bellagio is the ultimate location for cycling—the stunning scenery of Lake Como, the challenge of the mythical climbs nearby, and its many excellent restaurant and cafés immersed in its romantic atmosphere--will have you falling in love with our incredible cycling destination. You'll want to return to Bellagio every year.
Bellagio is the ideal starting point for nearly any ride on Lake Como because its ferry terminal offers easy transport to nearly all the other towns on Lake Como, most importantly Cadenabbia and Menaggio, and Varenna: the car ferry ports on the Western and Eastern branches of the lake that you travel to with your bike. (*Cyclists with bikes must use the car ferry.) Bellagio has the only ferry terminal that goes to these other main ports directly! The 102nd Giro d’Italia is returning to Lake Como this May, and the annual Giro di Lombardia will take place October 12th. If you come to cycle during one of these event weekends, you're sure to have an unforgettable cycling holiday!
Where to Cycle
There are so many spectacular rides and routes that can originate from Bellagio, the number of cyclists coming to Bellagio continues to increase. When you come to Bellagio, you can experience several iconic climbs, such as the Madonna del Ghisallo, the Muro di Sormano, and many, many more. The Bike It! Bellagio website lists more than 30 routes, including maps, distance, elevation, and points of interest. (Visit our shop, and we will share the GPX files to any of our routes without charge.) Of course, if you are interested in joining a daily tour or want a custom tour, Bike It! Bellagio offers such options as well. We also rent Hammerhead Karoo GPS devices if you want to try different routes at your own pace. (We upload the GPX files for our routes to the Karoos too.)
Where to Eat and Drink
Food, drink, and gelato are always on the mind of cyclists (right?). If you are staying in Bellagio, you must check out the many different and delicious places to fuel or recover from your rides! Let us know what direction you are headed, and we can make some recommendations for you.
Breakfast and Coffee (Colazione e caffè)
Pasticceria Sancassani - The cutest little pastry shop and café nestled in the neighborhood of Visgnola above Bellagio. It's a nice 10-minute walk along a cobblestone path from our shop. You must try one of their fresh homemade brioches with a cappuccino, as well as try one of their many pastries (our favorite are the cannoncini!) Indulge yourself! Looking for an afternoon treat post-ride on a hot day? Go for their "crema di caffe'" or a gelato!
Bar Pasticceria Rossi - This bar is an authentic lakeside spot in downtown Bellagio where you can grab a fresh pastry and coffee before heading on your day's adventures. It's also a classic hangout for an aperitivo in the evening!
Marco Benzina - Marco is our legendary next door neighbor! If you join one of our group tours, you'll have the opportunity to try Marco's delicious pizza, piadine, foccaccia, and many other signature creations as part of the post-ride lunch. Lunch at Marco's is exactly the "off the beaten" path experience you are looking for. (Marco doesn't have a website, this is truly the locals' place!)
Trattoria Baita Belvedere - This charming, authentic, back-country restaurant is located about 4km up the road toward Ghisallo, boasts incredible panoramic views of Lake Como, and offers local, rustic dishes that you can't find elsewhere in Bellagio. Try their Poltenta Uncia and Pizzocherri and go for the mixed appetizer. Dessert? Gelato with their freshly picked berries from their farm. :-) This is the perfect place to stop for lunch when descending from the Ghisallo. They also offer a free shuttle to and from Bellagio for dinner reservations!
Far Out - Just as the name implies, this restaurant offers some different dishes--something out there! Located in downtown, Far Out offers a variety of tasty dishes, ranging from classic Italian specialties to local delicacies. Refuel after your ride with some pasta or ravioli and then try a "fritto misto" to satisfy your taste buds.
Ristorante Silvio - Try one of Bellagio's signature dishes here: Risotto con pesce persico. Silvio offers a wide array of lake fish platters that will give you a taste of Lake Como, literally. Visit this award-winning restaurant for a perfect ending to your ride or before you go out in the afternoon to be fueled by fish.
La Fontana - In downtown Bellagio, about mid-way along one of the farthest set of steps, La Fontana offers a quaint and welcoming atmosphere. The owners are two brothers who will make sure you enjoy the best dish for you based on your preferences. You must try their pistachio soufflé for dessert (imagine next level, Italian-style lava cake!
Ittiturismo Mella - "From the fish net to the pan", you will eat freshly caught lake fish at Mella! Located in the San Giovanni neighborhood, this family-owned restaurant is lakeside and has a homey atmosphere, as it's all related to their hobby, passion, and profession of la pesca or fishing on Lake Como. Try their daily menu deal where you get a full menu trying all sorts of lake fish for a great price! Did you know that their family dog "Ice" was featured it the Netflix series "Dogs"? Check it out!
La Punta - Located where the three branches of Lake Como meet, also known as the "Y" of the lake, or la punta, the point, where Bellagio juts out, giving Lake Como it's upside down "Y" shape. The perfect place for a romantic dinner, it has a sophisticated and calm atmosphere, as you sit with a beautiful view of the lake before you, while enjoying some freshly caught fish!
Le Darsene di Loppia - A picturesque restaurant setting in Loppia, a tiny neighborhood next to Bellagio will leave you enchanted by its peaceful and dreamy ambiance and even more so by its delicately crafted dishes where you'll savor every bite.
*Keep in mind, many restaurants are closed 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and some are closed on unusual days. Be sure to check their websites for such information.
Where to Stay
There are many hotels in Bellagio, but there are also many apartment options and B&B’s, which offer a more personal setting to experience the local Italian culture. Contact us with your accomodation needs, and we'll make some suggestions to help you find the best place for your stay.
To See and Do in Bellagio
Whether you’re having a rest day or traveling with a partner who doesn’t cycle, there are plenty of things to do in or near Bellagio.
Shopping: Downtown Bellagio's stairways and little narrow streets are full of shops, cafés, and restaurants. You won't have any trouble finding a souvenir or a special keepsake item from one of the many local artisans our boutiques to remember your trip to Lake Como! Remember that Lake Como is famous for silk, so be sure to take a look at those shops!
Churches: Bellagio and its surrounding neighborhoods have several churches! Make a nice walk/hike out of it and visit them all in one day! The area churches are S. Maria di Loppia, S. Maria Annunciata di Breno, San Giacomo, San Giorgio, San Martino, and San Giovanni.
Villa Melzi Gardens: Take a peaceful walk through these gardens, stop and smell the flowers and enjoy being on vacation, take in the moment!
Kayak & SUP - A must-do activity when in Bellagio! Michele is a former professional rower and an all-around awesome person who will guide you on a memorable tour on Lake Como! Join one of his kayak tours or arrange a stand-up paddleboarding session with him, you'll have so much fun!
Wakeboarding - Hit up Club Morgan in Lezzeno for your extreme watersport needs! They have wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, and canoeing! Be sure to reserve their equipment ahead of time.
Hiking - Lake Como is an incredible place for hiking, there are so many old mule tracks and horse trails, as well as man-made paths immersed in the woods. The many Pre-Alp mountaintops offer postcard-perfect, breathtaking views over Lake Como. Come see us for some suggestions! From Bellagio, you must go to Mt. San Primo, and from Menaggio to Mt. Grona--our two favorites!
Swimming - Any triathletes out there? The best open-water swimming spots are from San Giovanni's beach (via alla spiaggia) or from Pescallo Bay. Onno is also a great spot, which you can reach by car or bike of course!
San Giovanni is the best free beach in Bellagio to put down a towel and relax, or take a dip in the lake!
Navigational Instruments Museum - A nice place to visit and learn about tools and instruments used for navigation over the waters. It's open 10:00 to 13:00.
Villa Serbelloni Walking Tour - Offered twice daily, this tour takes you to see the Villa Serebelloni Gardens and now Rockefeller Center property. Learn about some of Bellagio's aristocratic history.
Lido di Bellagio - Bellagio's beach club is a great place for people of all ages to hang out and enjoy the lake by day or night, listening to good music, dancing, and having a great time!
Day trips to other places by ferry:
by Casey Thompson © 2019 Bike It! Bellagio
We're nearly one month away from opening for the 2019 season. We are excited to share some new things that we have in store for this season: new bikes (2019 Bianchis), new rental accessories (power meters and Karoo GPSs), new routes, and a new weekly shop ride schedule!
You can now rent one of our Karoo Cycling GPS by Hammerhead. We have preloaded all Bike It! routes on the GPSs, and we can upload other routes of your choice based on your riding needs and wishes. We have also inserted many points of interest (POIs) to make it easier for you to find the gelato shops, or restaurants and cafes we tell you about! The touch screen is nice and visible, and the maps are clear and easy to follow. These GPSs will be a great addition for those renting MTBs, as Karoo's trails are also mapped very well. No more getting lost in the woods! And of course you can still see all of your riding stats such as distance, speed, elevation, etc.
Speaking of stats … what's missing? Watts! Great news for the data-driven cyclists--we now have power meters available for our road rentals! We offer the Stages Cycling Left Crankarm meter. It can easily be connected with any bluetooth device (including our GPS rentals), as well as switched from one bike to another. We have power meters available in 170mm and 172.5mm crankarm lengths. Add a GPS or Power Meter to your rental order here!
Try our GPS rental on one of our new routes! We say it all the time, you can spend a month or more on Lake Como and never repeat the exact same ride … there are so many possibilities! We've added three new rides to our routes list: 1 easy, 1 medium, and 1 challenging. Check them out!
Pedalata Porlezza (perfect for families and e-bikes!)
Torchio di Palanzo (an out-and-back ride to one of the oldest towns in the area)
Val Cavargna (a route for those who like to climb)
We'll be going to some of these less explored places/routes on some of our weekly shop rides--another new plan we have for this year.
From April to September, nearly every Sunday we are running a shop ride, departing from our shop at 8:30am. Our shop rides are for visiting road cyclists as well as Italian locals who want to explore and ride in different areas together. We have created ride levels to give you an idea of pace and difficulty for each ride, as well as an event for each ride on Strava. Because we are running these rides to promote cycling camaraderie (no cost), we just ask that you bring euros for ferry tickets and coffee/food if we stop. You can see the shop ride schedule here. You can sign up via e-mail or Strava!
We look forward to riding with you this season!
by Dan Merlino (guest blogger) © 2019 Bike It! Bellagio
At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. The previous year we had done a tremendous tour with TriLakeComo around Como and then over to the Italian Alps to ride up the iconic Stelvio and Gavia passes--great guides, wonderful food, fantastic routes! But Rome to the Ghisallo was a 6-day pilgrimage from Rome to Como, over 500 miles with lots of climbing. Daunting! However, I love Casey and Luca and their team, so I put my faith in them. That was the right call.
The trip was spectacular. The ride started with a blessing by a priest at the Vatican and ended with a peal of bells and a welcome blessing at the bike chapel on top of Il Ghisallo! How can anything go wrong when you have divine intervention! The trip went so smoothly, perhaps because it was so well planned, with top-of-the-line Bianchi bikes, great scenery, wonderful hotels, and excellent food! All we had to do was train.
The route was epic. Bellisima! The beautiful walled city of Siena was magical. Pisa’s Leaning Tower automatically made you tilt your head. Only in Italy! And then a very backdoor, intimate ride into the Cinque Terre. We even stopped at the Bianchi factory for a visit along the final stage to see their incredible attention to quality in production.
Join us this year: 2019 Roma-Ghisallo Trip Itinerary
by Casey Thompson and Luca Negri © 2018 Bike It! Bellagio
Bike It! Bellagio is selling its fleet of Bianchi bikes from the summer 2018 rental season. (As we are purchasing new bikes for our 2019 season!) All bikes are 2018 models and were used for 7 months. All bikes will be checked out, tuned up, and washed prior to the sale, of course.
Bike models for sale include the following:
Bianchi Intenso Disc 2018
Bianchi Intenso 2018
Bianchi Sempre Pro 2018 *just 5 months in use*
Bianchi Impulso 2018
Bianchi Kuma MTB 29"
Bianchi Ascent E-MTB 27.5"
Bianchi Manhattan E-sport Hybrid
All bikes are will be available for purchase beginning October 27, 2018. Purchasers who plan to pick up their bike in person at Bike It! Bellagio must submit a nonrefundable 50% deposit to reserve the bike until October 27, with the remainder of payment due at time of pickup. Purchasers who would like their bikes to be shipped must remit full payment (bike price and shipping) prior to shipping. Each bike comes with its Bianchi manual. All sales are final.
Please call (+39 334 975 1604) or email (email@example.com) with questions or to purchase your 2018 Bianchi!
by Casey Thompson © 2018 Bike It! Bellagio
We just returned from a week-long trip to the Alps with some strong riders from the States and Canada. This is our third trip to the Alps with touring cyclists, and each time it just gets better sharing the climbs along these iconic passes. The Alps aren’t as far away from Lake Como as one may think. Bormio is just a 3-hour drive! If you have a week or two for a cycling holiday, Lake Como and Bormio make the perfect match for an unforgettable trip. Start in Bellagio with us and warm up along some pre-Alpine climbs and lakeside rolling roads, before heading to the giants northeast of Lake Como. Much of Italy’s cycling history lies between us and Bormio. It’s a great way to relive some epic Giro d’Italia and Giro di Lombardia moments with your own eyes, doing the climbs yourself! Check out some pictures below:
4 Awesome Climbs from Bormio
Passo dello Stelvio: 2,747m a.s.l., it's the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps! Seeing all the switchbacks you climb from above is certainly a great feeling. And we were fortunate to find a pro Bianchi team rider at the top!
Torri di Fraele & Laghi di Cancano: This quiet and gentle climb takes riders to the 13th century fortress tower ruins (the tower served as a border between the valleys of Bormio and Engadina) and the artifical lakes of Cancano, part of a hydroelectric plant.
Passo Gavia: Another of one of the highest paved passes in the Alps. At 2,651m a.s.l. it's often the "Cima Coppi" in the Giro d'Italia.
Passo del Mortirolo: Also known as the "Cima Pantani", this climb is also featured often in the Giro...and it's one the hardest climbs you'll ever do...we can testify!
OFF THE BIKE:
Bagni Vecchi: The "ancient" bathes of Bormio
Bagni Nuovi: The "new"/modern thermal bathes and spa
Livigno: Duty-free shopping town in the heart of the Alps ... also great for anything outdoors! Stay a night, like we did, then climb the Bernina and Forcola Passes!
by Casey Thompson and Luca Negri © 2018 Bike It! Bellagio
Italians are often described as “passionate” people. It’s not surprising, given the lengthy history and passion for the sport of cycling in Italy, that a true vocabulary of terms and expressions has been created over time. We have some cycling slang to share with you, attempting to translate the words and expressions as best we can. If you have some Italian cycling slang to add to our list, please share them with us. And we expect to hear you use some next time you ride with us and our team!
Spesso gli italiani sono descritti come un popolo "passionale”. Non c’e’ da sorprendersi quindi, vista la grande storia e passione di questo paese per il ciclismo, che in Italia si sia creato col tempo un vero e proprio “vocabolario” di termini ed espressioni utilizzate nel mondo del ciclismo. ne abbiamo raccolte alcune e abbiamo provato a tradurre e a spiegarle….anche se sicuramente per esprimere tutta la loro carica emotiva bisogna impararle in lingua originale! Partiamo con "solo” 25 termini, siete liberi di impararli e aggiungerne altri!