Photo by Cheryl Spriggs
I distinctly remember meeting Marcello Bonini sometime in 1998. He was my scheduled co-guide whom I had just met a few hours earlier and had to get to know (quickly!) on a pre-tour warm-up ride in Fano, Italy, the former launch spot for Ciclismo Classico's Bike Across Italy. He, of course, immediately struck me as a fun-loving, knowledgeable, confident, athletic, and very talented guy. He had all the attributes that make for a perfect Italy bike tours guide...
Little did I realize that this well-rounded gentleman would later go on to earn the title "Best Cycling Guide" by Outside Magazine! That says a lot about him and I'm here to share a few more important stories about Marcello and his special signature trip, Bike Across Italy.
It came as no surprise to us that just a few years ago, Outside Magazine awarded Marcello the "Best Cycling Guide" award. They wrote: "A masseur, sommelier, and former half-Ironman national champion, the Italy-based Bonini learned how to cycle before he could write." Despite all the praise, the 48-year-old Bonini, who has led close to 100 trips, is humble. "Whatever I learn, I try to share, and people on a bike have to listen. They can’t run away from me," he says. Among other trips, Bonini is the specialist for Ciclismo’s 11-day, 350-mile Bike Across Italy.
Marcello with a happy group in front of the Roman Theater just outside of Gubbio, Italy, an over-night stop on our Bike Across Italy trip
“What I enjoy most about Ciclismo trips is the opportunity for me to share the most beautiful stretches of my own country with foreigners who always turn out to be very interesting people themselves. This job has forced me to learn a lot about places I didn’t know before and keeps me outdoors for four months per year.
I hope my guests bring home two things: the scent of the Italian lifestyle—a mix of musical cheerfulness, slow well-being and self-irony—and the passion for cycling, the most energetic human activity."
Our guests rave about Marcello, too.
"I took the 11-day Bike Across Italy trip. Simply a fabulous trip. A good friend had said that the difference between Ciclismo Classico and other tour companies in Italy was the quality of the tour leaders. They were right. Marcello Bonini and Henrick Murphy were excellent guides and companions. Marcello was simply Italian to the core. He loved his country in all its aspects, and made every effort to expose his 'ragazzi' (us) to all its charms. He was also a superb cyclist and obviously enjoyed 'going off the front' with some of us when the opportunity presented itself. But neither he nor Henrick ever lost sight of the importance of the group and the group experience, so we all had a marvelous time."
- M. Wilmar, San Francisco, CA
"Groucho Marx said, 'Sincerity is the key to success. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.' Gian Paolo and Marcello are either the best 'fakers' or the most sincere people we've met. They made me feel like a guest in their home rather than a tourist in Italy."
-G. Cassiday, Salt Lake City, UT
"Marcello is a walking, talking advocate for all that is great about Italy and Ciclismo Classico—bravo!"
-B. Berg, Seattle, WA
Join us on one of our 2018 Italy bike tours. Learn more about this legendary Ciclismo two-wheeled adventure.
Marcello lives in his hometown Reggio Emilia, Italy with his lovely wife, Cleide, and two children Gaspare Olmo (10 years old) and Gaia Blanca (8 years old).