Bike Trips in Tuscany

Tuscany Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

Italy as a country is relatively recent, but unity has reigned in Tuscany since the 15th century.  Etruscan heritage, climate, light, richness of the agricultural lands, geography, natural beauty... all are advanced as explanations of the “Tuscan Miracle,” an extraordinary concentration of artistic and philosophical talent that made this tiny land the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and today leaves a mark throughout western civilization.  Every Tuscan walled town, city square, or church window is an art history case study.

But biking here is ultimately a sensual experience, not a university course.  Most involuntarily put art and architecture in the back seat.  The velvet softness of the Tuscan hills and the equally soft colors of the landscapes bathe you as you cycle down country lanes.  And Tuscan cuisine is wonderfully accessible.  Waves of Italian immigration to the Anglo world have made it familiar.  Forget the French and their calf’s liver in raspberry vinegar:  we know this stuff!  Pastas galore, fresh tomato sauces, pizza, olive oil....  For the adventurous, plenty of discoveries remain to be made, and then washed down with a hearty chianti, whose vines line our route.

The following trips visit Tuscany:

Roman Roads of France & Italy (4 weeks)
Visits France (Bordeaux & the Dordogne, the Cévennes, Provence), and Tuscany

Giro d’Italia (3 weeks)
Visits 3 of our Italian itineraries
— not offered in 2017

Etruscan Trails (2 weeks in Italy)
Visits Tuscany, followed by Umbria

Essential Italia
(2 weeks in Italy, with visits to Italian Switzerland)
Travels in Tuscany and in the Italian Lake District
— Not scheduled in 2017

Lavender & Olive
(2 weeks in France and Italy)
Visits Provence, then Tuscany

France & Italy (2 weeks)
Visits Tuscany and one of our French routes

Pure Tuscany follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below.

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips

Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips

Trips by Length / Title

Short Trips from Paris

What's Included
... the Trip Cost

Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.

Other Trips We Offer


Day-by-Day Itinerary:  Tuscany
Day of the Week
Typical distances, in km
Pre-trip independent night in Pisa.
Included in the “Access Package” for those starting their cycle trips with our Tuscan itinerary; and also for those arriving from another of our itineraries.

The “LAM Rosso” (Red bus line) will get you to the famous tilted Torre.  Go.  No, really.

Half Baggage
0 k – maybe a bus to the tower
Wherever we have come from, we get together Sunday morning.  If you have spent the night in Pisa, a short train ride clears us of the suburbs, and we join the bikes in Empoli.  If you are coming from elsewhere, this is where you may join the trip.

Then up a big hill to the top of a ridge.  Welcome to Tuscany!  Both the climb and the view from the top are typical of the coming week.  Don’t be discouraged by the former:  it buys the latter.

Cycle on to Certaldo, past villas surrounded by their trademark sentinel cypress trees, and through the vineyards of northern Chianti.  Certaldo is the final resting place of Boccacio, friend of Petrarque, literary inspiration for La Fontaine fables and Pasolini films.  His home, now a museum, graces the old walled town, our base for two nights.
40 k
Whatever you do, save a bit of the day for San Gimignano.  The “Manhattan of Tuscany” dominates the surrounding countryside and is in turn dominated by the 13 square towers which give it its silly nickname.  Apparently there were once 70 of these things, used either as status symbols or as giant clothes-drying racks.  In either case, we doubt that this was the simplest solution to the problem.

Other possible loops today could take in Volterra, a pretty walled town and home to an Etruscan museum dating from the 18th century.  Or just bop around on the local lanes:  Colle di Val d’Elsa is close by, and the walled town atop its crescent-shaped hill is a pleasure to wander through.
30 - 90 k
Up a big hill to Castellina in Chianti.  The climb is long, but the eternal glide back down is most rewarding.  Then into Siena, via the dramatic fortress of Monteriggioni.  Siena will be our home for the next three nights, and is one of our favorite places.  It lost a big argument with the Florentines in the 17th century, and essentially froze in time, to the joy of the travellers we are.

Half Baggage
45 - 65 k
Wednesday & Thursday
What to say about a place that holds horse races on its town square?  Well, you could point out that it is home to a state-sponsored wine bar, offering a hundred open bottles from all over Italy on a given evening….  A novel use of tax funds, and one with which we concur.

Siena boasts a pure, aesthetic beauty that has been emulated the world over. In North America, Crayola made it a color.  Even Florence, Siena’s eternal rival, has often been shown the way by her more sedate and conservative neighbor – most recently in her attempts to preserve her center from the ravages of the automobile.  The harmony of Siena’s shell-shaped central square is a rare and wonderful thing, especially at night when the day-trippers have departed for the evening.  So why leave?

Well, for one thing, this is a cycle trip.  There are sights in the surrounding countryside that should not be missed.  Use one day for a glorious cycle south.  Though Chianti is better-known, the hills south of Siena (“i colline sienese”) may be our favorite Tuscany.  No one lives here, and the distances are long, even between “fattorias” (Tuscan farms, the exact opposite of “factory farming” despite their names).  The scenery is splendid, and quiet roads make for great biking.  Observe the truffle hunters, searching for the elusive “tartufo bianco.”  Stop for lunch in front of the Monte Oliveto Maggiore abbey.  If you can stand one more climb, struggle up to the wine town of Montalcino, home to the famous “Brunello.”  Every third building is a wine bar!  Roll back down to the station (hopefully on your bike) for an evening train home.

Half Baggage
50 - 100 k
We leave our idyllic city, heading for the hills and into the heart of Chianti, to Radda.  Roads on top of ridges, typical Tuscan scenes, and not much else line today’s route.  If you wish a long ride, the fortified château at Brolio can provide one.  The castle has been in the same family since the 11th century, and both its walls and gardens can be visited.
45 - 60 k
Marathoners (and those not afraid of city traffic) can make directly for Florence.  Cycling into an Italian city is not dull, but you may prefer to seek your thrills elsewhere (and you can attain the same result in less time by simply jumping off a cliff).  We suggest instead a route to a local train station, for a quick ride into town protected by a metal box.  Either way, we loosely follow the “Via Chiantigiana,” or Chianti Way, north to the Arno valley.

Half Baggage

Our Tuscan trip disbands upon arrival in Florence on Saturday evening.  A post-trip Florence hotel night is included in the “Access Package” (and for through travellers) unless your ongoing travel is by overnight train.

Florence can perhaps be spared our prose.  For those spending time here art, architecture, history, markets, leatherworks, ice cream and laundry facilities abound.  Indulge!
30 - 60 k
Access Package:  TRAVEL DAY
Lots, probably not by bike

Pure Tuscany — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates

Baggage Services Offered**
Difficulty of the Ride
May 27 - June 2

Later dates TBD
Follow this link to help choose them
$2,250 US
$2,750 C
1,650 €
Daily, Half

Moderate to Challenging

You could avoid the hills, but what you want to see is generally on top.   “Short routes” are available if you wear yourself out, and backups are usually good.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Pisa
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Florence