Eroica Chianti photo by Paolo Martelli

Tuscany by bike to experience its own travel philosophy

Tuscany by bike to dream, set out, explore, and experience your own travel philosophy.
But what makes Tuscany so unique and desired by bicycle travelers?
The answer comes from the very people who countless choose it, from how it feels to pedal through the textures of lesser-known territories or rediscover the most iconic places, being able to authentically ‘touch’ and experience the territory, the lifestyle, and from how the trip, vacation or simple experience gives a deep sense of belonging.

Eroica Chianti photo by Paolo Martelli
Eroica Chianti photo by Paolo Martelli

The combination of the natural, scenic and artistic heritage, which has always been protected and enhanced, together with the many motivations that move the traveler, puts Tuscany on the podium of the most popular cycling destinations in which to meet and find two-wheelers.
Bicycling allows you to discover the essence of the region in a slow mode, leaving only the imprint of your wheels and taking the time to get to know through trails and tours, the hilly contours and curves of the coastline. By bicycling, one encounters the most human part of an area, creates relationships and bonds in a privileged dialogue between those who pedal and those who live places.

The dream of cycling in Tuscany is linked to roads, flavors, seasons, events and personal challenges, and each motivation finds an answer to meet its own tailored journey.

The Atlas of Bicycle Routes

Etruscan Coast-Populonia-photo by Enrico-Caracciolo
Etruscan Coast, Populonia, photo by Enrico Caracciolo

Tuscany is the first and only region to have created the Atlas of Bicycle Touring Routes, the continuously updated digital tool that facilitates travel organization and combines the current 15,000 km of routes and itineraries with facilities and themed vacation proposals. The Atlas of Tuscany’s Bicycle Touring Routes, produced by Toscana Promozione Turistica with the collaboration of experts in the field, is a valuable resource for travel planning, an essential reference point for all those wishing to organize a bicycle tour of the region.
A wide range of routes complete with detailed descriptions, interactive maps, elevation profiles and useful directions to points of interest can be accessed through the dedicated web portal.

So an increasingly bike-friendly Tuscany full of tourism operators who accompany the bike tourist for a carefree stay, complete with dedicated services. Accommodation facilities, from campgrounds to five-star hotels, wineries, restaurants, experience providers, tour operators and specialized guides, are the ambassadors who welcome the traveler. Often among winery and hotel owners or those who run agritourism, it is easy to find true two-wheel enthusiasts as allies and fellow riders.

La Grand Départ

The Grand Départ of the Tour de France from Florence is an event that will make history, give us indelible images and memories and, thanks to Florence, turn the spotlight on Italy. In fact, the 111th edition of the Tour de France will start from Florence on Saturday, June 29 as a tribute to Gino Bartali in the same year of the 110th anniversary of his birth.

Casentino archive Tuscany Tourism Promotion
Casentino, archive Toscana Promozione Turistica

Champion named the Righteous Among the Nations, winner of two Tour de France, will somehow be present among the spectators of this extraordinary event, perhaps from the Museum named after him, which will see the most important race in the world pass right through Ponte a Ema, continuing on to Bagno a Ripoli, Pontassieve, Pelago, Rufina, Dicomano, San Godenzo up to the Valico Tre Faggi before crossing the border.

Tuscany, already in the weeks leading up to the start, will be packed with training professionals, enthusiasts and amateurs who wish to experience the atmosphere of the anticipation of a major event. They will ride on the roads of the heartland, perhaps even on the characteristic Tuscan white roads that since last year have landed in the Tour de France with the inclusion of dirt sections. Attending the presentation of the teams on June 27, experiencing the village’s widespread events and eagerly awaiting the departure for an unparalleled yellow parade will be a true celebration of everyone.

Grand Tours of Tuscany

There is a Grand Tour philosophy that permeates the air, a call to seek knowledge and experience through travel. Here, among the art cities steeped in history and the countryside immersed in tranquility, you can encounter the traces of the great masters of the Renaissance, breathe art and culture in every corner. Bicycle travel thus becomes a journey through time, an opportunity to fully immerse oneself in a culture that has shaped the modern world. The Grand Tour by bicycle to deepen knowledge of the region, traditions and find, as in the past, that enrichment made of freedom, understanding of the place, to return changed and improved.

San Miniato - Francigena archive Tuscany Tourist PRomotion
San Miniato – Francigena archive Toscana Promozione Turistica

The Grand Tours to explore are diverse and doable with e-bikes but also with the bikepacking approach for a sense of adventure that perfectly fits the spirit of modern travelers.

The advice is to go through all the Grand Tours, trying to organize multiple trips, to be sure to discover all the territories of Tuscany.

But what are the identified routes?

Grand Tour of Tuscany by bicycle – from Siena to Pisa and Florence
With nearly 400 km to discover the unexplored places of the best-known cities. Paved and white roads to experience the hinterland and reach the sea, encountering iconic places, crossing several bicycle paths and the Via Francigena.

Grand Tour of Tuscany by bicycle – from Siena to Camaldoli and Arezzo
The eastward tour is perfect for exploring areas such as the Val d’Orcia, Chianti, and for cycling in the Aretine area, with plenty of unmissable cultural stops, abbeys, castles, the hermitage of Camaldoli, and the sanctuary of La Verna.

Grand tour of the Maremma
The southernmost Grand Tour unfolds along about 350 km and six stages among nature reserves and medieval villages among the most beautiful in Italy. People stop to taste local products but also to relax and rejuvenate in the many thermal waters.

Tuscany by bike for more sustainable tourism

Tuscany has long been a pioneer in theeco-friendly approach and respect for the environment. The Tuscan hills are dotted with agritourisms and organic farms that offer hospitality to conscious travelers eager to experience rural life and reduce the environmental impact of their travels. Each ride thus becomes a small step toward more sustainable and responsible tourism.

Tuscan countryside photo by Enrico caracciolo
Tuscan countryside photo by Enrico Caracciolo

Those who love cycling also like to find dedicated accommodation, with the possibility of moving by combining bike and train and intermodality. It is a way of travel that promotes a perfect balance between love for the land and for oneself, a form of sustainable tourism that contributes to the preservation of the landscape and cultural heritage around us.

Dreamers in search of inspiration, explorers thirsting for knowledge, cyclists looking for challenges, and sports and culture enthusiasts will always find open roads and hidden treasures to discover in Tuscany.
Have a good trip!

To share adventures:#pedalareintoscana #mytuscany

Trasqua- panchina con vista panoramica sulla Valdelsa

Exploring Valdelsa’s Delights on a Weekend Cycling Adventure

If you’re a passionate cyclist and a connoisseur of great food, get ready for an unforgettable weekend dedicated to exploring Valdelsa and its culinary treasures. Prepare for an immersive experience that embraces the traditions and authenticity of this area.

The adventure commences in the picturesque Colle Val d’Elsa, renowned for its expertise in crystal making and its natural gems, including the Elsa River Park, ‘Le Vene’ springs, and the ancient Etruscan Caldane baths. From here, you can also easily travel to other Tuscan locations such as Siena, Volterra and San Gimignano.

Trasqua- bench with panoramic view of Valdelsa

For the night, the advice is to fully immerse yourself in themedieval atmosphere of the upper part of Colle Val d’Elsa. Here, you will have the opportunity to stay in authentic Tuscan homes, such as“La Casa sulla Via Francigena,” a beautiful tower house passionately managed by Simone Demian Turi, who will be your affable host.

Both routes are designed to be affordable for everyone, especially if tackled with comfortable e-bikes. The routes will traverse secondary roads with minimal traffic and picturesque white trails, each approximately 50 km in length. Now, let me guide you through the highlights of this extraordinary journey.

DAY 1: the ring from Colle Val d’Elsa.

We begin our adventure in the heart of Colle Val d’Elsa, the striking Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio, dedicated to the well-known sculptor and architect from Colle in the late 1200s. From here, we will ride south, following the main road towards Grosseto. Upon reaching the hamlet of Gracciano, we will follow the fork leading through the small villages of Ponelle and Scarna, reconnecting with the traditional Via Francigena route.

The next stop will be the charming village of Strove, which will welcome us in a monastic combination of silence and quiet, the main characteristic of rural settlements in the Montagnola Senese area. The church of San Martino and the scenic Castel Pietraio bear witness to the historical significance of this ancient settlement.

Cypresses of Valdelsa

Following that, a gradual descent will lead us to the thousand-year-old district of Abbadia Isola The abbey’s positioning along the Via Francigena rendered it a crucial stop for pilgrimsthroughout the centuries.

We will then continue along roads that cross flat fields, giving us unforgettable colors and scents, until we reach Monteriggioni. A pause to admire the castle and its fortified walls is an absolute must.

The afternoon among the villages and flat roads of Valdelsa

After such exertion, it will be delightful to rejuvenate at the restaurant“La Dama nella Vigna,” will serve us delectable dishes against a unique and stunning backdrop.

We will resume our journey towards Lornano, cycling on a beautiful dirt road surrounded by dense forest, offering a picturesque and scenic passage. Upon reaching the ridge, a panoramic view of the Chianti and Valdelsa hills will greet us, followed by a stretch of the route winding through vineyards and olive groves.

Paurano - panoramic view

We’ll traverse the small village of Rencine, home to a remarkably preserved ancient Romanesque church. A swift descent will guide us back to the plains. After a short stretch on asphalt, we will take the fork to Casale dello Sparviero. Two rows of iconic Tuscan cypress trees will form a stunning corridor guiding us back to an elevated, hilly terrain. The unpaved road that will follow, with the typical up-and-down pattern of this area, will take us to Poggibonsi passing through the small towns of Lecchi and Megognano.

Poggibonsi

Once in Poggibonsi, we will walk through its historic center, largely rebuilt after the bombings of World War II. If you are interested in finding out more about the city’s history, I recommend visiting the Poggio Imperiale, where you can explore the Archeodrome, the Fonte delle Fate, the Medici Fortress and the nearby Basilica of San Lucchese.

Subsequently, we’ll arrive at the hamlet of Montemorli, where we’ll explore the farm bearing the same name. Here brothers Carlo, Vittorio and Guido Conforti will take us on a tour of one of the oldest wineries in the Siena wine district. We will taste their fine wines, accompanied by typical Tuscan delicacies, all with the view of San Gimignano in the background.

We will resume our route by returning to the plains and following the “green road,” a bicycle path built on the route of the old railway line between Poggibonsi and Colle Val d’Elsa. The route, featuring a level terrain and a compacted surface, will lead us back to the starting point, offering breathtaking views of the valley along the Elsa River.

DAY 2: Discovering the flavors of Valdelsa

Welcome to the second day devoted to exploring traditional Valdelsa flavors. We’ll begin by taking the same route as the previous day, but this time, we’ll continue straight towards the Gracciano traffic circle to reach the Santa Giulia Bridge.

At this point, we’ll take the detour to Scorgiano, an ancient medieval estate. Here, you can admire the Church of Santa Fiora and the Bichi Borghesi Estate, featuring a splendid 17th-century villa, historic stables, and an expansive centuries-old park.

We’ll proceed along the picturesque rolling road towards Pievescola, then head towards the Verniano junction. From there, the journey will continue on the typical Tuscan dirt roads made of dust and gravel.

Badia a Coneo - Abbey with cyclist

We’ll traverse the quaint and enigmatic ancient hamlets of Collalto and Paurano, before returning to the paved road that leads to Casole d’Elsa, renowned as one of the most romantic villages in the Sienese hills. Its historic center is quite picturesque, redolent with works of art by artists from around the world and full of narrow alleys branching throughout. From the height of 420 meters, it will be possible to admire the entire surrounding area: Radicondoli, San Gimignano, La Montagnola Senese, and much more.

After visiting the village, we will pause for lunch at “Il Colombaio” restaurant, run by a DOC Casolese family. Here we will be able to enjoy typical Tuscan dishes prepared with passion by Grazia, the hostess, and relax before returning to cycling.

In the direction of Volterra among vineyards and olive groves

After a good coffee, we will resume in the direction of Volterra, cycling along a wide, scenic and little-used road. This heavenly stretch will lead us to Montemiccioli, a small settlement, dating back to the 14th century. Remnants of the fortified walls, along with the ruins of an impressive tower, can still be found here, situated atop the ridge that divides the territories of Volterra, Casole, and San Gimignano. Legend has it that this tower served as one of the “passaggerie,” where the town of Volterra imposed tolls and collected taxes on goods entering or leaving its territory.

We will return to the present time by taking the road from Montemiccioli to Castel San Gimignano. Before entering the town we will turn right, following the signs for Il Palagio. This beautiful establishment is nestled amidst an expanse of vineyards, where the Zonin family will graciously host us for a tasting of their high-quality wines.

Back to Colle Val d’Elsa

After this rejuvenating break, we will continue cycling toward Colle Val d’Elsa. The route will persist on a dirt surface, leading us into the valley of Poggio ai Colli. Here, you’ll pass through a small gate (remember to close it after passing!) and tackle the uphill climb to Dometaia, home to the Etruscan necropolis of the same name.

Via Francigena

We will proceed through Buliciano until we arrive at a crucial point for those journeying on the Via Francigena: Badia a Coneo. At this location, stood an ancient monastery dating back to the year 1000. Today the Romanesque-Senese style church remains of the abbey.

As we pass Coneo, we reach the conclusion of our tour. Before returning to the starting point, we’ll make a visit to the upper part of Colle Val d’Elsa. Entering through the Bastion and wandering the cobblestone streets will envelop us in an atmosphere with a distinctive medieval flavor. Our final essential stop will be the Bastion, a scenic terrace offering a panoramic view of the entire lower part of the city.

Wishing you a fantastic journey of discovery in Valdelsa and a delightful dining experience!

TRACK OF THE ROUTE ON KOMOOT

Text and photos by Enrico Rugi

Tuscany by bicycle on an endless journey

The dust that rises lightly a second before we hear the crunch of tires on gravel, the scent of saltiness in the air in the early morning hours as we travel up and down hills that give a glimpse of the sea. The enveloping resin of beech and chestnut trees as we pass through the forests of Mount Amiata, Mugello and the Apuan Alps.

The awe and admiration that very often require us to draw breath, to slow down the pace of travel to really look at the landscape, the scenery that has suddenly revealed itself, unexpected though familiar, and always dazzlingly beautiful.

The murmur that greets us at the gates of the village before a stop dedicated to flavors. The excitement and adrenaline that wakes us up before a cycling event that involves a friendly challenge with our teammates or a challenge with ourselves.

We are in Tuscany and we are pedaling!

Etruscan Coast-Populonia-photo by Enrico-Caracciolo
Etruscan Coast Populonia photo by Enrico Caracciolo

The Atlas

Tuscany is the first region to create the Atlas of cycling routes. CCicloways, permanent low-traffic routes, and cycle routes are the stars of theAtlas of Bicycle Routes. A magnificent narrative that will include up to 20,000 km of the region’s routes, revealed as a fabric, a sometimes sparser and sometimes denser weave that allows us to understand through the magnifying glass of the bicycle, the gentleness of the landscapes and climate, the harmonious relationship between man and the environment, the centuries-old history, the experience of culture and beauty, all within reach of the pedal.

The routes are divided by difficulty, type of bicycle and location, designed and created by experienced cyclists and guides taking into account natural beauty, passion for the area and traditions, food and wine, and the heritage of cities of art and authentic villages.

The events

Passion for cycling, curiosity about the area, wanting to meet local communities and traditions, respect for the environment, and a desire for sustainable travel are some of the motivations that lead us to cycle in Tuscany. So is wanting to feel part of a community by participating in an event with a strong identity character like many of those on the Tuscan calendar. Among the most iconic The Eroica which celebrated its 25th anniversary, Strade Bianche which sees professionals and amateurs from around the world gather in Siena on the first weekend of March, or self-supported events such as the Tuscany Trail which celebrates its 10th edition this year with thousands of fans from more than 40 countries around the world.

Planning the trip

The journey never starts when we physically leave, but it starts much earlier, when we dream it and when we plan it. Our journey in Tuscany begins on theAtlas, with dreams of traveling new roads and new places, perhaps inspired by the sense of freedom that two wheels give, by the story, the photo, the event we encounter while exploring and planning it on VisitTuscany

Pedaling off-the-beaten-track roads that satisfy our sense of discovery, services along the routes, and detailed traces of each route make it possible to turn the dream of an immersive, in-touch vacation with the soul of places and people into reality.

A dense network of operators contribute to such a dream and become facilitators for the complete organization, from the single experience, to the day tour, to the week-long vacation or sports event always with the bicycle as the protagonist of our emotions.


VisitTuscany
is our destination before we leave, Tuscany our destination for cycling, for being surprised by the scents, the changing colors and scenery, for alternating the pleasure of cycling with the pleasure of experiencing Italian life, good food and meeting local communities.

Tuscany Etruscan Coast
Etruscan Coast

Where to go?

We would like to set out on the Reclamation Trail, arriving by train, to travel 60 kilometers of peace and tranquility, crossing the Valdichiana Senese and Aretina, observing the changing landscape, the agricultural crops, how the hand of man has reclaimed these lands, leaving us enchanted by the colors of Lake Chiusi and the Nature Reserve of Lake Montepulciano.

We would like to set out to ride in the postcard that the world knows as the Monumental Avenue of the Cypresses of Bolgheri, to delve into the inner alleys of the castle of the same name, resume the Wine Route by meeting Giusuè Carducci at his home in Castagneto and continue the 44-kilometer loop of many flavors between land and sea that the Etruscan Coast can give.

We would like to set out for the mountains, the ones that get white in winter and the rest of the year are discovered by mountain biking, telling about sports, history and nature. Starting from Abetone Pass alternating between nature and culture with the Museum of the Gothic Line in Pianosinatico
and the Museum of the People of the Pistoian Apennines
to conclude theAbetone Ring with the Museum of Skiing.

Tuscany Pistoia Mountains
Tuscany Pistoia Mountains

We would like to set out on the Ways of Dante in Tuscany, in the footsteps of the great poet, perhaps alternating the two-wheelers with the historic train of the same name that we can intertwine at some points along the route and always loading the bike on the same. Starting from Florence, following the many suggestions that the cultural and historical itinerary offers us to Marradi, retracing its places and works.

We would like to leave for? Anywhere in Tuscany to ride in company or solo, to slow the speed of thoughts on a timeless journey.