All Race Days include 5K-12K trail runs (Subject To Change)
Let’s cut to the chase! We’re going to kick this whole unreal itinerary off in one of the most famous, unique, and mind-boggling cities in the world, VENICE! No, there are no cars. Yes, you travel by canal/boat, and man is it spectacular. Fly into Venice and make your way to our hotel in Melestre. Drop your bags and go check out the sites and sounds of this amazing city that is only 8 kilometers away. We’ll have race registration in Venice, so you have as much time as possible to take in all the city has to offer. Who kicks off a week of adventure in Venice? We do!
We have a ton of ground to cover because let’s face it, everywhere you turn in Italy, there’s something you must see. The Dolomite mountain range (aka The Dolomites) help define northeastern Italy. This is a breathtaking journey with views of the mountains from the Piave River. After a morning race through mountainous trails, we’ll have lunch in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Cortina is in the middle of the Cadore area, the first valley that welcomes you to the Dolomites.
One of the key moments of the day will be our arrival to Lago di Garda (Lake Garda). Be prepared for some of the most amazing landscapes. We will be stopping in Malcesine to pick “up” the gondola! The gondola (aka cable car) will grant us 360-degree views of Lake Garda and the surrounding areas. We’ll go from 90 to 1760 meters in a matter of minutes.
We didn’t take this gondola all the way up strictly for the views. The very top is where we’ll race today! This is a safe, fun, yet challenging course. We’ll finish on a flat grassy area with stunning views. After enjoying our time up top, you’ll have one of two choices. The first, to go back down the way you came, via gondola/cable car. The second, FLY! For an additional cost per person, R2Aers can tandem paraglide all the way back to Malcesine. Not for the faint of heart by any means, and simply an option, but if you’re ready to live life on the edge, this is one heck of a way to do it! Enjoy lunch on your own in town and then we’ll head to our home for the evening, Verona, the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet.
We will be departing early from Verona so we can have our unforgettable castle run to Castell’Arquato. It is a well-preserved medieval village with sandstone houses that have been frozen in time.
This is arguably the most beautiful run of the whole trip. It lies on the top of a ridge, connecting two towns, has the perfect downhill slope, and a non technical single trail that passes by vineyards and a small forest. We’ll end the near-perfect run at the pedestrian bridge which serves as an entrance into town. Although it’s currently a work in progress, we hope to serve lunch for everyone in the town square!
After spending the whole afternoon in Castell’Arquato, we’ll make our way to Cinque Terre!
Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbors are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto. The Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail links the villages and offers sweeping sea vistas. Providing all of the trails are intact, our goal today is to hike through and alongside all five towns, hugging the Italian Riviera on one of the most beautiful trails in the world. Our 12K one-way journey should rank in one of the best days of your life. How you choose to spend your day, and at what pace you choose to visit these towns is entirely on you. How will you return for our second night stay at our home base in Cinque Terra? Hike it, take the train back to where we started, or splurge on a boat ride if the waters are looking calm. Choose your own adventure this afternoon!
Today alone will be worth the week! We’ll be resting our legs and opening our eyes as we make the trek from the Italian Riviera to Tuscany! Pisa will be our first stop so we can lay claim to witnessing the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Next it’s off to Florence for the majority of the day. You’re on your own to explore this fascinating city. Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. Our resting place for this very long day is the Tuscan city of Sienna. Sienna is our home base for these next two nights.
Today we’ll be embarking on our fourth race through Tuscany. More specifically, San Gimignano! San Gimignano is an Italian hill town, encircled by 13th-century walls and its old town centers on Piazza della Cisterna (a triangular square lined with medieval houses). It has a skyline of medieval towers, including the stone Torre Grossa. The area is also famous for its truffles, so let’s be sure to indulge with a Tuscan lunch that might rival any meal you’ve ever experienced.
This evening will be devoted to enjoying our home base in Sienna.
We had to. We just had to. How can we not continue the journey south and have our final race and final party in Rome?! Where history dates back to over 3000 years! The Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and on and on. We know we can’t see it all today, but we’ll depart early enough from Sienna so we can try. We’ll tour Rome by run/hike to kick things off. Then it’s on you to see what you can see. Just save up enough energy because we’re sending off this EPIC week with a final celebration in the capital of Italy!
Rome was not built in a day so you likely didn’t see it all in a day. Stick around and take some more of it in. Keep heading south to places like Pompei, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast! End your journey and head for home or turn the page and keep traveling on. As for your time with R2A, it’s time to say goodbye. Friendships strengthened, friendships forged, and something no one can ever take from us – R2A ITALY 2023!!!