Not long after I arrived in Arezzo I could feel that something special was happening. While wandering around exploring, I saw the barricades being installed and of course all the signs and banners. The Giro d’Italia was coming to town.
I have never really been a big fan of bike racing, although I do enjoy watching it on tv but mostly for the scenery. But, it did not take me long to be caught up in the excitement of the town.
While enjoying my morning coffee in the Piazza Grande, about 6 middle-aged men in lycra arrived. They were all from Australia and New Zealand. Listening to them, I learned that they were all ex Olympians or Commonwealth games winners. They were here to watch the race. This just added to the excitement of being in Arezzo on such a special occasion.
Everywhere I went there were flags and banners and barricades for the race and many hours before the cyclists were due, people were already beginning to line the streets. The atmosphere was electric with a party feel.
There was a big van decorated in the official Giro d’Italia colours in the Piazza Monaco Guido which was just near my accommodation. In fact my window overlooked it all. There was a loud speaker with the constant recording announcing the race and offering Giro packs for sale.
I bought a pack for 10euro which consisted of a pink cap, a pink t-shirt and a pink plastic “clapper”. It was official; I was caught up in the moment.
There were several marquees and media booths set up, truck after truck of equipment and lots of police around.
The crowds were already jockeying for positions behind the temporary barricades. I managed to find myself a great spot near the beginning of the cyclists entrance in to Arezzo. I felt as though I was probably the only Aussie, in fact, non speaking Italian standing there, but I was totally caught up in the overwhelming excitement of it all.
Suddenly a motorcade of Italian police cars and bikes appeared around the bend with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing.
Then a flash goes by, then another, then they are gone. I had my camera poised to take the photos but they went by so quickly I was lucky to get any photos.
Apart from the slower cyclist and support vehicles it was all over. The biggest surprise for me was the amount of team cars carrying spare bikes and parts.
I wandered off feeling so very fortunate that I experienced such a wonderful event.