An Italian Awakening...

...Libertà, Lycra e Linguine

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This book is about truly feeling free, and the unadulterated joy of learning, planning, training, eating, drinking, seeing, sensing, chatting in another language and just feeling physically and mentally fulfilled.

The freedom of no longer having to work gave me the time and opportunity to:
- take up cycling;
- study the Italian language;
- learn about Italy, including its history, culture, food and wine;
- combine the above to organise several cycling tours;
- and, perhaps above all, develop a real passion for Italy.

Book Structure

Although the 50 months covered by the book were, for me, one compelling and integrated story, I have divided it up into four Parts to make it easier and more convenient to read at leisure.

Part 1

Getting into Shape

is about planning and being prepared, both for moving into retirement itself, and getting ready for our Italian adventure. In some ways it’s a self-help guide based on experience and results, not theory.

Part 2

The Bike Tours

details the five cycling holidays that my friends and I took across Italy.

Part 3

Our Other Italian Travels

covers the time my wife, Nicky, and I spent there, including long-term stays and language schools.

Part 4

Our New and Much Loved Friend

describes the wonders we’ve seen in Italy, its land and heritage, from the famous and crowded to the exquisite gems to be found in so many quiet corners. It discusses the delicious cuisine we’ve enjoyed so much, accompanied by the near infinite variety of Italian wines.

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Our Favourite Rides

In discussion with my friends, I selected sixteen specific rides from amongst our five tours, which represent the sheer variety and enjoyment of our cycling in Italy. In some cases, I have taken advantage of hindsight to combine two of our actual rides together to create an even better option. They are rides of varying difficulty, but I would firmly recommend them all. The start and end points naturally reflect where we stayed on our tours, but where appropriate I note some alternatives that could be considered to suit different circumstances.

About the Author

Nick Flew was born in 1960, grew up in South Wales and had a successful career as a Civil Engineer. Married with two sons, he now lives in Guildford, though worked in over forty countries, living overseas for ten years in Hong Kong, Thailand and Qatar. He stopped full-time work in his mid-fifties, and his book, An Italian Awakening, is about how he and his wife, Nicky, set about planning that lifestyle change, and enjoying the opportunities it afforded.