The motorcycle trek that became a legend

The course of the journey

Giorgio Monetti and Leopoldo Tartarini with Giuseppe Montano at the starting line of their trek around the world, in September 1957

Monetti and Tartarini one year later, in September 1958

Monetti and Tartarini, guests of the Thailand dealer during their trek around the world

Tartarini and Monetti on a leg of their journey


Leopoldo Tartarini's and Giorgio Monetti's trek around the world on Ducati 175s, an extraordinary adventure begun almost 50 years ago, was one of the greatest adventures in the history of Ducati and in international motorcycling as well.

The goal of this incredible, pioneering trip, lasting an entire year (September '57 to September '58) and hitting the roads of all the continents, was to advertise the Ducati brand and to build a network of dealers in countries where Ducati was still unknown. This amazing journey, the idea of Bolognese motorcycle champion Leopoldo Tartarini, was backed by Ducati with its 175 cc bikes and service, making the trek a unique promotional opportunity.

This was the first time a motorcycle company thought up such an important ad campaign, even if it had limited means and very few sources of support. No specific training was done for the trek (which cost about 50 million lire, including numerous trips on planes and ships), and its organization was fairly haphazard because there were no detailed maps of many of the areas to be covered. Distances were estimated on paper with a compass, and the two motorcycles were "touched up" by mechanics and friends in the Ducati factory.

The two motorcyclists were a professional and an amateur friend who was an excellent rider. Leopoldo Tartarini was a famous champion without a bike because races like the Milan-Taranto and the Motogiro had been cancelled for safety reasons. Ducati, which had designed the 175 cc (the bike used for the journey), understood that it had to exploit this very reliable bike for something important, and immediately liked Tartarini's idea (he was a Ducati rider with a multi-year contract). The second rider, Giorgio Monetti, Tartarini's friend, was a young university student and a world traveller who decided to undertake the journey while waiting for a job.
A complete account of this extraordinary journey is contained in a wonderful travel book entitled "Il giro del mondo di Tartarini e Monetti su Ducati 175," published by Minerva.