In Italy there are more than 2 millions of amateur cyclists and the number is expected to grow more, in the year of UCI Road World Championships 2013. The variety of Tuscany region offers several routes that adapts to everyone level: from the amateur to experienced professionals.
Among them available, that’s a selection of itinerary in Tuscany to be cycled through, divided among provinces.
Province of Pisa: ring surrounding Volterra (have you heard about this village before? Maybe you read Twilight….)
The route is about 35km long, of average difficulty, over mixed terrain track (paved and dirt roads). That’s why we suggest to you to use a Mountain Bike. Varied and fascinating, this route run along the hills of the Pisa’s province, with extraordinary glimpses and views in all seasons. Particularly exciting is “Le Balze”, a collection of gorges and precipices, which for centuries have been opening on the ground, dragging down small houses and churches. Very beautiful Volterra with its Etruscan origin (about 4 Century BC) and Saline: in ancient times famous for selling salts all over the known world. To be visit the Museo Guarnacci, the city wall, the gates, the magnificent historical palaces and the shop of alabaster, precious rocks of the territory.
Province of Florence: ring of the Renaissance (to cycle around Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance)
A route of 172km, average difficulty, that run around the city of Florence, composed by both paved and dirt roads. Use of a Mountain Bike is advisable. The start point is located at the Castle of Calenzano, close to Prato. From there you will head toward Vaglia, alongside the Appennini, and then climb up to Fiesole, historic Etruscan city that dominate Florence from the top of the hill. From Fiesole we will move toward Pontassieve, cycling through natural heritage, vineyard and fields. Once reached Montecucco we can turn toward Bagno a Ripoli or Rignano sull’ Arno either. Thereafter proceed to Impruneta, adorable small town situated on one of the hill surrounding Florence and real gate of the Chianti. Famous for its terracotta works as well as excellent wines. From Impruneta, climb gently down to Certosa , impressive Cistercian monastery, and then cycling up again toward Piazzale Michelangelo, the terrace over Florence, from where you will enjoy the most amazing view of the city. If you want you can finish your tour here, in Florence, otherwise carry on for Lastra a Signa, Campi Bisenzio and Calenzano. A possible route between Florence and Lastra a Signa is the pleasant cycling lane alongside the river Arno, that run from Cascine Park to Renai Park (where you can even enjoy a big bath!!). If, rather than a tour over the hill, your preference is a tour of few hours within Florence, including maybe a guide who speak English, and will show you the most picturesque corners of the city, it’d be worth check it out on http://www.italycruiserbiketours.com. They organize tour for small groups (max 10 people), designed for everyone, which allow all of you to enjoy Florence in a completely different way!
Province of Livorno: ring over the Etrucan Coast and the way of wines (have you certainly heard about Bolghieri and its excellent red wines)
The itinerary is 46km long, very easy and on paved road, with a small gradient of 200 meter. Let’s start from the sea, from the small town of Donoratico, and head to inland, in direction of Castagneto Carducci (small town that was named after the famous Italian poet Giosuè Carducci). Cycling through the vineyards, olive trees fields and hills we reach at Castle of Bolghieri and to its famous Viale dei Cipressi, 5km long. A break to sip some of the famous wines made in this area (might be Ornellaia or Sassicaia!) and then go again toward Bibbona , town with a beautiful city center and tat host several festivals (you can’t miss the Festival of Citron and the Palio of Barrels). On the way of return we pass through San Guido and again Bolghieri, with the WWF area that brings the same name.
Province of Siena: following the Eroica’s footsteps (an heroic itinerary over the Chianti’s hills)
The route is more than 200km long, particularly hard, over mixed terrain track. It’s suitable for those who are already expert cyclist. Every year thousands of people coming from all over the world, participate to a cyclist race which is held in Chianti. The first Sunday of October, cyclist of different ages (from 13 to 80), challenging each other on racing bike, or vintage bike, or brand new mountain bike. Anyway the itinerary can be made in every periods of the year. A long ring starting from Gaiole in Chianti, and then passing through Radda in Chianti, Siena, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Castelnuovo Berardenga to finally come back to Gaiole. It’s possible to get a “road book” where you can collect 6 stamps for each leg of the route. At the end of the tour, with the filled “road book”, you could ask, if you wish, a personal diploma. A magnificent itinerary which will bring you across the vineyards of Brunello di Montalcino, the Crete Senesi, and the gently Chianti’s hills, sometimes following the Francigena’s road footsteps.
Versilia: from Viareggio to Torre del Lago Puccini (yes! It’s the lake where Giacomo Puccini used to live, famous composer of Operas, including the Bohème and Madame Butterfly).
The route is about 20km long, very easy, the majority over paved roads. Its beauty is due to the possibility of looking to the sea (Tyrrhenian Sea), the mountains (Apuane Alps) and the Massaciuccoli’s lake. At about half of the itinerary a deviation will bring you to the mouth of river Serchio, at Marina di Vecchiano, which is part of Natural Park of Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli. It’s recommended a visit to the museum dedicated to Puccini and …. a bath into the sea!