Seeing Tuscany by bike is a special experience. Something that is proved every year when the Giro d’Italia passes through this beautiful region. Its rolling hills and scenic vistas provide an ideal situation for casual riders through to professional racers.
Choose between road biking along the scenic hills of the Chianti or take the mountain bike up to the rugged Apennines. Cruise along the coastal plains of the Maremma. Or just pedal your way between one Medieval hilltop town and another, and mix a sporting holiday with a dash of culture and fine dining. In Tuscany there’s something for everyone on two wheels, even if you just want to watch others sweating their guts out.
Tuscany by bike – The Chianti
With its ups and downs among lush vineyards and olive groves, the Chianti will take your breath away in more ways than one. It’s a place many cyclists head for as you can spend days wheeling along its winding roads and discovering its many towns and villages. Of course Tuscany is where champions like Cipollini and Bartali are from, and there’s cycling history around almost every corner. Gaiole in Chianti is the stage from L’Eroica, a race that harks back to a bygone era of cycling. Even if you’re not taking part, it’s a wonderful vintage atmosphere where you can come watch the riders battle it out along the white roads in October, or even follow the route yourself through at a calmer pace. Try Radda in Chianti and Greve. Or further south near Asciano and the Crete Senesi.
Biking the coast – Versilia and Maremma
If you’re spending your holiday in one of Tuscany’s beach resorts, you’ll be pleased to know that both in northern and southern tuscany, in Versilia and Maremma, are perfect destinations for bikers.
In the Versilia, itineraries include Viareggio to Massacciuccoli Lake and the arty town of Pietrasanta. The Maremma is another favourite amongst cyclists, both in the interior where hilltop towns dot the hilly landscapes, and along the coast. For mountian bike itineraries the most popular competition is the Gran Tour della Maremma, which includes Massa Marittima, the Mount Amiata, Manciano and scenic Pitigliano. The flat area around Castiglione della Pescaia is a good one for easy cycling. Try also Capalbio Hills to Orbetello.
Mountain areas – The Garfagnana area
Garfagnana is a must for mountain bikers. The area, north of Lucca, is criss-crossed with single track paths and though it can be pretty tough going in some parts, the small towns and views more than make up for the effort. Head for Borgo a Mozzano and climb to Gallicano. Or make for Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and the Vagli Lake.
Best time for cycling in tuscany
Spring, September and October are the best period for cycling here. The temperatures are mild while July and August are just too hot unless you choose the mountains.
<photo credit: l’eroica official site>