Few places in Europe are motorcycle-friendly, motorcycle-oriented, and motorcycle-obsessed as Italy. From elegant scooters to shiny Ducatis, Italians are all about bikes. The fact that Italy has some of the most stunning motorcycling roads in Europe is no coincidence: The Italian Alps, the Dolomites, and the world-famous Amalfi Coast feel like they’ve been specially designed for motorcycles.
However, with so many spectacular routes to choose from, where should you go if you only have a few days to explore Italy? We chatted to our friend Bella Litinetski, an Israeli – Italian motorcycle designer, journalist, and brand ambassador based near Bologna.
From Pizza to Ducati
Bella Litinetski began riding scooters when she was just sixteen years old. “Back then, I was trying to earn some money delivering pizzas, so two wheels became my first taste of freedom, in a way. Scooters were soon replaced by motorcycles, and the rest is history”, Bella explains. Around that time, she met her now-husband, Idan, and the pair soon began experimenting with sports bikes.
“At first, it was all about speed and adrenaline. We’d hit the road and try to go as fast as we could; eventually, we started doing track days. Now, we don’t really use our track bikes on the road anymore, it’s become this all-consuming passion and we both are just obsessed with motorcycling”, Bella laughs.
According to her, she had even considered making motorcycling her career at some point. After moving to Italy with her husband nine years ago, Bella interned at Ducati and worked with the company’s product development team. As an industrial designer, Bella was perfect for the job. “But in the end, I decided motorcycles are best left as a hobby. I’m still very involved in the motorcycling community, I love supporting women riders, as an example, and I still write for Italian, US, and Israeli motorcycle media. I also have a blog and I’m active on Instagram because I love the artsy part of it, you know? However, my husband and I have decided it’s best if we don’t work in the motorcycle industry directly and just keep our bikes as a hobby so that the passion never dwindles”.
Riding as a Way of Life
Currently, Bella and her husband own four motorcycles- two track bikes, a Suzuki V-Strom 650, and a Suzuki SV650. “It’s hard to say what I love about riding the most. I guess at this point, it has become such an integral part of me. I feel like I don’t exist without it”, Bella says.
Although the track is where she truly shines, Bella loves experimenting with different motorcycles and riding styles. “I ride a lot of different bikes because there’s so much different stuff you can do on them. Track and street were always my top choices, but now I’m getting into adventure riding, traveling, and perhaps even off-road at some point. It scares me, but I’m very curious to try riding dirt more, it just looks like so much fun. With every new bike, I want to ride more”.
As well as riding and being involved in the motorcycling community, Bella loves encouraging other women riders to swing a leg over the saddle. “With my social media stuff, I actually get tons of feedback from women who say they appreciate my stories because they encourage them to try motorcycling, too, which is amazing. I’m an ambassador for the Women Motors Bootcamp, a three-day event that takes place in Italy in March. Women have a chance to try different activities there, from track racing to welding, it’s really a very cool and diverse event. I think there are definitely more and more women riders out there, and we’re certainly more visible now that we’ve got social media”, Bella says.
Northern Italy: A Motorcycling Paradise
Whichever bike she chooses from her garage, Bella is always ready to hit the track – or the road. Living in Italy, she has some of the world’s best motorcycling roads at her doorstep. However, she recommends Northern Italy the most. “I think some of my favorite roads are easily in the north, leaving Turin and heading towards the French border. The scenery, the twisties, the other riders you meet on the way – that whole area is just insane!”, Bella tells us. In addition to the breath-taking mountain vistas and spectacular roads, Northern Italy is all about motorcycle culture.
“The cool thing about riding here is that just about everyone is a rider, too. Like, there will always be a little old lady that comes up to you, expertly checks out your bike, and tells you she used to own one of those as well. There is so much motorcycle history and culture here, it’s amazing. You can strike up a conversation with just about everyone. Often, older people would come up to me and invite me to check out their vintage bikes they’re still keeping in pristine condition in their garage, just things like that, you know? You really feel at home here if you ride a motorcycle”, Bella says.
Apart from Northern Italy above Turin, Bella loves exploring the little backroads of her home area and North of Bologna, too. “The Italian-French Alps are easily the most scenic, but truth be told, riding anywhere in Italy is always a unique experience. In fact, it’s so good I haven’t really ridden anywhere else in Europe extensively, certainly not as much as here. Although this summer, my husband and I are planning our first long motorcycle trip – we’re going to visit the Baltic States. We’re taking the Suzukis on this trip, though, as we don’t plan to rush. It’s going to be an epic journey!”.
If you’re headed to Italy this season, be sure to check out the area North of Turin – and don’t be surprised by little old ladies telling you they’ve parked their Panigales round the corner. And if you’d love to connect with Bella for more insider tips, check out her Instagram account and her blog.