Ken Roberts - - Skating

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skating Italy around Rome region

posted to 05nov28:

Subject: skating Italy around Rome region

I tried some skating in Rome and provinces around it while traveling around for bicycling and hiking. Overall it didn't seem like a great area for skating, but I did have find some fun places. I didn't see or hear about much off-road smooth pavement on trailways, and much of the sidewalks were not wide or not smooth. But I was find some to find some smooth surfaces for skating on some of the roads and streets. So it seems like finding much enjoyable inline-skating outdoors around there requires good skills and judgement for handling interaction with motor vehicles, and good guesses about what roads to skate on when.

The best road-skate tour I found was the road around Lago di Bracciano, a lake a little ways north of Rome. I also had some fun skating the streets of the city of Salerno one night. Some fun, and too much non-fun, skating on the streets of Rome. Looked like there's also some good pavement for skating out on country roads, but that's going to require more searching.

See below for more details about:

  • around Lago di Bracciano

  • Rome city streets

  • Salerno city streets

  • other places, which I did not skate


Lago di Bracciano

Lots of great views following an obvious route with mostly good pavement, 36 km to skate all the way around this lake nearest to Rome (about 35 km northwest from the city). Had some fun interactions with car drivers, walkers, and cyclists.

I parked my car at a shuttle-bus parking area just east of the town of Trevignano Romano and skated clockwise around the lake. Mostly gentle, some moderate ups and downs, and one substantial steep up and steep down required to detour from a closed street thru Anguillara. Vehicle traffic on a weekday early afternoon was sometimes more than I wished, but very managable for me with my usual approach of using a rear-view mirror and giving a friendly wave to the overtaking cars before they reached me. Felt like I also had lots of time for free wide skating when no cars were approaching.

Rome city streets

Two puzzles for me about skating in Rome:

(1) How did I miss the Wednesday night skate? 

I was there on 23 November at 21:00 at Piazza del Popolo and the twin churches at Via del Corso, but didn't see anybody else -- so I skated for more than two hours on my own.

(2) How link together some smooth-surface streets into a nice tour?

The obvious problem with Rome is how to avoid all those cobblestones (I've heard these are called "sanpietrini"). Even the off-street bicycle path along the Tiber River (Fiume Tevere) is covered with cobblestones. Sometimes I found the sidewalks better than the streets, but usually not both smooth or wide. 100mm wheels helped me tolerate some unavoidable cobble sections.

Two ideas I used to get onto smooth pavement were: (a) Skate on major streets at times when there's less vehicle traffic; and (b) Get away from the city center. One thing that helped me use the major streets was all the double-parked cars and other activities to disrupt the flow, so I would maneuver past the disruption point, then enjoy a few seconds of skating on a two-meter width of car-free mostly-smooth skating surface.

Finding smooth pavement out from the city center led to me going up or down some substantial hills ("the city on seven hills"). I enjoyed the climb south up the Gianocolo hill to the Garibaldi monument, and finished my evening by skating west to the Aurelia section. I was glad I had a Gatorleash with my heel-brake for some of the downhills. There's also some hills close in to the city center -- and I can't imagine how else I would have done these steep downhills on cobblestones.

Though I didn't find Rome "skate-friendly", I found it a rather fun city to visit -- so I'd like to try skating there again, now that I know better where and when and how to find some interesting skating.

Salerno city streets

Only found one really nice sidewalk, so I mostly skated on the streets generally within about half a kilometer from the sea, on a Friday night there. Several long streets with good surface. Needed pretty good skills for handling motor-vehicle-interactions for much of it, and I found that speed also helped on the major streets (payback for all that work last summer on my double-push technique) -- which allowed me to have a fun time (but I wouldn't make a special visit there just to skate).

other places, which I did not skate

  • Naples / Napoli city: I walked all around the city center, but didn't see any streets I wanted to skate. But I've heard that on Sunday morning they close one of the major streets to motor traffic.

  • Lago di Bolsena: a bigger "crater" lake than Bracciano and much further north from Rome, but didn't look good to skate around. Sharon and I bicycled around it, lots of pretty views from up on the "rim" -- but much bigger hills, lots more somewhat-rough pavement, more traffic than Lago Bracciano. Maybe I'd consider skating around it someday after they re-pave some of the roads.

  • Lago di Vico also seemed too hilly or rougher pavement to make me want to skate it.

  • seaside roads: I bicycled on some very spectacular roads above the Mediterranean Sea (Amalfi, Gargano), and they have some sections with smooth pavement which could be skated, but they tend to have some big hills -- so figuring out which sections to want to try to skate, when to avoid motor traffic, and the logistics of getting to and from start and finish has made me think that I'd prefer to enjoy them on a bicycle.

skating in northern Italy

posted to 05sep20:

Subject: skating in northern Italy

While traveling around for some bicycling and tourist-ing, I got the chance to try skating in some places in Italy. Found some good places. Anybody else who knows some to recommend?

I found lots of smooth sound pavement on the roads outside the cities, so I'm thinking that especially the Veneto region (roughly what's in 2-hour driving range from the city of Venezia / Venice) is one of the great road-skate touring areas of the world. After a few days of seeing the roads while bicycling, I got so bold to try a 50 km skate tour, all on roads I'd never seen before, in the flat farmland of the delta of the Brenta river (between the cities of Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice) -- only found about 1 km of rough or coarse-stone pavement all day. There's a range of terrain choices available in Veneto, from flat to gentle to moderate hills to rather big and steep -- with the "flat and gentle" including endless kilometers on the river deltas -- with lots of canals ("navigli") like one other country famous for skating.

It was really fun for me, going from town to town, re-fueling at gelato shops and grocery stores. Car and truck drivers were polite, I think because there are so many local people are out riding their bicycles on the roads, at any hour of every day. Actually I was faster on skates than most of the bicyclists -- because most of the Italian cyclists I saw were not into "training" or "racing" on their bikes, mostly just getting around to meet their friends or go shopping or just be out in the sunshine.

I also tried some paved bike trails / routes up in the Sudtirol / Alto Adige region around Toblach / Dobbiaco, where it's possible to skate between Italy and Austria (some sections of these bike routes may go on car-shared public roads). Also some gentle bike trails around Bozen / Bolzano in the broad valley of the Adige river.

City skating

I found lots of variety:

  • Ferrara -- The most fun night skating I've done outside of Paris. Some cobblestones around the central Cattedrale, but otherwise I found lots of fun skating on both car-free and car-shared streets. My favorite street was Corso Porta Reno by the Piazza del Travaglio parking lot on the southwest side, and Via San Romano and Via Garibaldi were car-restricted and well-lit. There are also designated bicycle paths alongside some roads, but I don't remember which ones. Mostly pretty good night lighting, I never did not use a head-lamp, though I did use two red flashers for visibility from behind. I saw only one other skater, but lots of bicyclists out a night.

  • Milano / Milan -- Shows promise, some streets have cobblestones, but others are wide and good for skating. I found the square in front of Il Duomo skatable (but bumpy), and then I skated inside the covered Vittorio Emanuel galleria on the marble floor. Unfortunately it started to rain hard, so I had to stop. Hope to get a chance to explore it more sometime.

  • Verona -- I had fun chasing cars on some of the streets alongside the Adige river. The old central tourist section of the city is pretty and inviting, but has lots of cobblestone streets, some with (narrow) marble-block lanes along the sides -- but so many people were walking on those marble-block lanes on a pleasant Sunday afternoon that I gave up trying to skate in that section.

  • Padova / Padua -- Hard for me to remember a city with more skate-unfriendly features repeated so many times: Cobblestone streets, bumpy sidewalks, gravel bike paths. Nice city for a walking tour, but I couldn't find much good skating (except one giant wide oval called Prato della Valle).

  • Venezia / Venice -- A great walking (and boat-riding) city. But I'm doubtful if it's a really fun skating place -- and I haven't tried skating it. Amazing number of streets without cars, but from walking around I saw two drawbacks: (a) Many of them are not smoothly paved, but are instead covered with rectangular stone blocks, very roughly 30cm x 60cm (12inch x 24inch). So you'd have to deal with the cracks between those blocks -- doable for some of us, but is it fun? (b) Many of the streets are rather narrow, which could be fun, but not if there's lots of people walking in them, like often during normal tourist season. (? Perhaps try early in the morning ?). There's also some roads on some other lagoon islands which I have not tried, though I've seen some recommended for bicycling.

Look forward to hearing other ideas about skating in northern Italy -- also about southern Italy, especially around Rome and Napoli / Naples.


skating in Switzerland

posted to 05sep21:

Subject: skating in Switzerland

I unexpectedly sneaked in a some skating in Switzerland during my recent travels, and it was fun and showed promise for lots more -- especially in the north around the Rhein valley, St Gallen, and Bodensee. Then when I got home to the U.S. with access to an inexpensive Internet connection, I was amazed at the depth of information and maps for inline skating in Switzerland -- like here's some resources:

  • night skates ( for some reason the Swiss cities favor Monday night, which didn't fit my travel schedule.

  • SkateMaps Schweiz ( regional skating maps, at least 11 of them, also a guidebook. What an amazing idea. I didn't try them, because I didn't know in advance.

  • bicycle maps ( : one of these regional maps was what I actually used to help guide my skating in the Rhein valley and St Gallen city. Even though the map was not skating-specific, I found it very helpful, because it says which roads and paths are paved or not, and shows where are the significant hill-climbs. For me the big advantage of these bicycle maps is that I could find them to purchase at news-magazine kiosks in lots of towns and at rest area shops on the autobahn.

  • long-distance skating routes -- three routes on the official tourist site at There are also long-distance bicycle routes with special road-signs and maps, but note: I found that some sections of the bicycle routes are not paved, and some sections are on public roads.

Skating I did:

  • Rhein valley in northeast Switzerland: I really enjoyed my afternoon of skating on quiet roads and paved trails in the Rhein valley (just south of the Bodensee) -- pretty farms with cute animals, villages, bakeries, views of nearby ridges and distant mountain peaks -- good pavement, flat or gentle, lots of bicyclists. I used the Kümmerly+Frey bicycle map to make a loop from Widnau to Rebstein, lunch in Altstätten, on thru Kriessern, then across the Rhein river to Diepoldsau, and back to Widnau. The bicycle map shows lots more gentle quiet roads in the whole valley area between Buchs and Widnau.

  • St Gallen city was fun to skate around in the early evening. Found some wide streets with long moderate hills leading out toward the east, not too hard to climb up, and fun to go down. Some cobbles in the central pedestrian section, but mostly not nasty like some Euro cities.

  • Zurich city was skatable, but never could really "let go and fly". I started my focus around the Hauptbahnhof and the lake, but the obvious idea of skating alongside the lake didn't work out. The other streets weren't wide enough, or had trolley tracks, or too many non-priority intersections. It was fun anyway, but I remember thinking, "What Zurich needs is some boulevards". (Probably the locals know some great skating streets a little further out from the center.)

info on northern Switzerland skating around St Gallen - Bodensee - Rheintal: + 



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