As the days get longer and brighter, that old last-day-of-school itch returns and we all begin looking longingly out of our office windows. Adulthood may mean fewer long days wandering the woods, but – with a little planning – it can also mean realizing boyhood fantasies. A few connecting flights (or just a short drive) later, adventurers can spend June jumping off Utah's mesas, July horseback riding the Canadian Rockies, and August hitting the Southern Hemisphere's slopes. This is our comprehensive guide to wringing the very last drop of excitement (and adrenaline) out of the summer months.
Tour Italy on a Ducati.
It's the sights... and the smells... and the Tuscan wind in your face. In fact, virtually no sense goes unstirred when touring Italy by motorcycle, especially aboard a 150-horsepower Ducati. Welcome to la dolce vita, superbike style.
Edelweiss Tours has been operating since 1981, but Italian motorcycle journeys in that bikes' native habitat didn't come to fruition until 2010, which coincided with the introduction of Ducati's high-powered adventure touring rig, the Multistrada 1200.
The eight-day adventure begins, naturally enough, in the heart of Bologna, where Ducatis are born, and a factory tour quickly segues to an artfully carved city exit via curvaceous country lanes. With overnights at epically gorgeous medieval and Renaissance cities including Florence, Siena, Assisi, and San Marino, there's no shortage of cultural and culinary experiences once you roll into town. Luggage is delivered by chase vehicle, and while the Ducs are equipped with saddlebags for small personal objects, there's nothing quite like traveling light but ending up with a full arsenal of personal effects every night.
Fueling the argument between journey and destination are Italy's sumptuously sinewy roads and the cities they connect, and the Multistrada proves a versatile and comfortable tool for traversing the nearly thousand-mile span, which concludes at the World Superbike races at Imola, just outside of Bologna.
And while most of our experiences were nothing short of magical, our few qualms included the fact that slow riders sometimes moved to the front of the group and held up the pace, and that our restaurant excursions often involved cuisine prepared en masse for our group, rather than the carefully curated meals we've come to associate with the land known for its gastronomic greatness.
Nonetheless, Edelweiss hosts unforgettable two-wheeled experiences, with friendly, knowledgeable guides on handpicked routes aboard charismatic, capable machines. After the sensorial overload of two-wheeled travel through some of the prettiest nooks and crannies of Italy's Tuscan territory, it's hard to imagine traveling any other way. [From $4,290; edelweissbike.com]
Credit: Tommaso Pini