Italy Repubblica Italiana

Area: 301,230 sq km

Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) 4,807 m

Geography—note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

Population: 56,735,130 (July 1999 est.)

Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

Religions: Roman Catholic 98%, other 2%

Languages: Italian, German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Busch Italia Srl was founded in 1986 and it is in progressive growth. At the moment it is located in Bresso, near Milan, and has 14 employees. It is a trade company and has a service dept. That takes care of the whole Italian soil. The most important sales fields are food packaging, chemical industry, wood industry, glass industry and mechanical applications. Vacuum systems, together with central vacuum plants are built.   Médecins Sans Frontières are providing medical aid in Roman gipsy camps. See the link to the MSF-website for more information on MSF's activities in Italy.

Two famous Italian-born gentlemen can be related to our adventure:

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), born in Genoa, who re-discovered the "New World" of the Americas (1492) for the Spanish and for the whole of Europe. He only touched North America, though, (visiting Mexico) and spent most of his time on a ship.

Marco Polo (1254-1324), a Venice merchant, who did not discover any new worlds but through his vivid accounts of his travels to China (1271-1295) made the "West" aware of the cultural, technological and literal riches of the "East". His journey, in fact, coincides with many parts of our journey: Trabzon, Samarqand, Kashgar, the Takla Makan, the routes of today have not changed much over the generations. provides an overview of his route.

Route notes of the rally:

…coming from France.

Wednesday 3rd May - Day 3 — Aix les Bains to Santa Margherita 500km

The Alps lie ahead, but at this time of year the only way into Italy is under them! Fast roads take you to the Frejus Tunnel before a loop of mountain roads take us to a control in the shadow of one of the largest fortresses that you have ever seen. The broad valley of the River Po is crossed on fast back roads before some testing sections into the Ligurian Hills. Finally, the Mediterranean coast is reached near Genoa and it is an easy Autostrada run to the pretty Italian seaside town of Santa Margherita.

Thursday 4th May - Day 4 — Santa Margherita to Ancona 545km

Another early start heralds another long day crossing Italy. The first section south to Pisa (yes, you can see the Leaning Tower as you flash by!) is again on fast Autostrada and main roads but soon the beautiful Tuscan Hills lie ahead and the first gravel roads of the rally. The vineyards and sleepy villages of Chianti follow as you work your way across the Apennines, followed by even more spectacular scenery as you head south towards the Adriatic, Ancona and our specially chartered Superfast ferry overnight to Greece.

…moving on to Greece.