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Hannibal's Journey to Italy--by Bicycle

■ 11 September 2009 by James Martin

Word from the Twitter world today pointed out an interesting venure:

In 218 BC Hannibal left the Spanish city of Cartagena with one hundred thousand soldiers and nearly forty elephants. We’ve just left the same city on three bicycles followed by our BBC television crew. Our aim is to follow Hannibal’s path along the coast of Spain, through France, over the Alps, down the length of Italy and back to his home city of Carthage, now a suburb of the city of Tunes, capital of Tunisia. ~ Three men are cycling Hannibal’s route from Spain into Italy

There are at least two places I know in Italy where Hannibal is remembered. Lago Trasimeno was one. Hannibal became the first non-European to defeat the mighty Roman Empire there in 217 bc. Even the vacation home owner I rented from near the lake had found what he believed to be some archaeological remnants of Hannibal’s march through Italy with elephants.

By the way, if you even want to get little kids interested in this historical period, tell them of Hannibal and his elephants. If it’s one thing they love besides ice cream, it’s warriors with big animals alongside.

hannibal bridge in piemonteIn any case, the second place you hear folks talking about Hannibal is near the bridge over the Dubbione river in Piemonte’s Val Chisone you see there on the right (you can click it to see it larger). Hannibal supposedly camped nearby. We were last there with the kind folks of the rural bed and breakfast called Bella Baita. They have interesting information on the history of the Val Chisone and how you can take it all in.

Biking the route sounds like fun. Power to the bikers, especially through the Alps.

Hannibal's Journey to Italy--by Bicycle originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com Sep 11, 2009, © James Martin.

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