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A heavenly week cycling in Tuscany

rbrands (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A heavenly week cycling in Tuscany

Road Cycling Collection by Martin Donat

8

Tours

39:03 h

428 mi

36,850 ft

Wine, bikes and... Tuscany. This is one of the best regions for cycling in Italy. You’ll enjoy a Mediterranean climate, breathe in the scent of pines and cypress trees and gaze upon idyllic olive groves and vineyards. This is cycling heaven.

The landscape here is hilly. Although challenging, the ups and downs are never gruelling – each summit has a breathtaking view and a fantastic descent always follows. On the way, you ride through historic towns with plenty of Italian flair and delicious food. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also visit an island with miles of sandy shore.

I've been cycling in Tuscany a few times. I've ridden L'Eroica and also just toured from winery to winery. It was great every time. That’s why I decided to plan the Tours in this Collection – I wanted to return to Tuscany.

My plan was to ride six to eight days, starting and finishing in Florence, the region’s capital. It’s easy to reach the city with the night train. From Florence, I planned to cycle south-west towards the Etruscan Riviera, with a short detour to Elba Island for even more variety.

Back on the mainland, I wanted to experience wine growing in the Chianti region, an iconic Tuscan speciality. I decided to include places where the most famous Tuscan wines originate on the Tour – Scansano, Montalcino, Montepulchiano and, of course, Siena. This route is a vinological discovery voyage with plenty of culture. These towns also have numerous cultural and historical sights.

From Siena, I planned to expand my Tuscany circuit. From here, I wanted to reminisce a bit and take the route of L'Eroica. Once a year, the Chianti region hosts THE event for classic racing bike fans, culminating in a heroic 200-kilometre (124 mi) ride along Tuscany’s white gravel roads. I planned a short lap starting and finishing in Siena to reminisce about my experiences here before beginning the final stage back to Florence.

Well, that was the plan at least. But, unfortunately, I haven’t managed to realise it yet. I’ve ridden some sections, but by no means the entire route. However, I’m sure that this is a wonderful Tour and that's why I've published it here. Perhaps it’ll serve as inspiration for your own Tuscany bike trip? Hopefully I'll get around to trying out the route myself and if that happens, I'll report back.

Finally, some practical tips for your Tuscany holiday, starting with your arrival. As I don’t take flights, I always try to use an adventurous alternative, in this case the Austrian ‘Nightjet’ night train from Munich to Florence. You arrive early which is a highlight in itself: at six in the morning, you're almost alone in the city’s alleys, which can be really crowded in the afternoon.

The best time to travel to Tuscany is spring or autumn, when the temperatures are pleasantly mild. The summers can be really hot. Tuscany also has good tourist infrastructure. For cyclists, the Italian agriturismo farms are excellent places to stay; I’ve usually had very good experiences with them. They offer rustic accommodation at a reasonable price, usually have space for your bike and are often situated in beautiful places. In the Chianti area, you’ll find lots of this type of accommodation at wineries. You can find more information here: agriturismo.it.

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Eine himmlische Radwoche in der Toskana

325 mi

26,300 ft

26,300 ft

Last updated: December 5, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Florence to Volterra – Tuscany by bike

    Difficult
    04:58
    52.5 mi
    10.6 mph
    6,150 ft
    4,650 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    It starts in Florence, the capital of Tuscany. My tip: get on the road very early, because then you can really enjoy the city. The streets are still empty early in the morning and the light of dusk perfectly sets the scene for the deep street canyons and their blaze of colour. You cross the Arno via

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  • Intermediate
    04:10
    60.9 mi
    14.6 mph
    2,850 ft
    4,500 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    This tour is full of contrasts and takes you from the hilly interior of Tuscany over winding country roads and through picturesque towns to the much more modern port city of Piombino.

    

    Until then you will drive some of the most beautiful roads in Tuscany and master two strenuous climbs. The port city of

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  • Difficult
    04:47
    51.3 mi
    10.7 mph
    6,025 ft
    6,025 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    If you plan a tour of Tuscany, you should include a trip to Elba - at least that's what I thought. Elba is supposed to put the icing on the cake of the already beautiful Tuscan landscape and combines the varied hilly landscape with the most present view of the Mediterranean Sea and a pleasantly mild

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  • Difficult
    05:11
    66.6 mi
    12.9 mph
    4,350 ft
    2,725 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour is a bit atypical for Tuscany. Because you're going to be driving on flat roads for quite a while today. This is a peculiarity of the swampy Marrema area, which compensates you for it in large parts with a view of the sea.

    

    But don't be afraid of boredom. I don't write "quite a while" for nothing

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  • Difficult
    05:15
    60.9 mi
    11.6 mph
    6,150 ft
    6,025 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    I could easily have called this tour the “Red Wine Tour”. The area itself is known for its wine growing. The places you pass through today produce three absolute Tuscany classics: Scansano, Montalcino and Montepulciano could be the reason why you are not quite as fit tomorrow.

    

    If you are not a wine lover

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  • Intermediate
    02:52
    37.9 mi
    13.2 mph
    2,500 ft
    3,325 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Today's tour is a bit shorter. Finally you are in Italy, time to enjoy the Dolce Vita a little. The stage destination Siena offers so many sights that it would be a shame not to pay attention to this exciting city.

    

    But the ride itself will also cast a spell over you. You will ride sections of L'Eroica

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  • Difficult
    06:18
    49.2 mi
    7.8 mph
    4,475 ft
    4,475 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This tour is definitely something different. Instead of paved country roads, today's route is on the world-famous white dirt roads of Tuscany, on which you will follow part of the L'Eroica circuit.

    

    L'Eroica is THE event for fans of classic racing bikes. Once a year, thousands of heroic cyclists in cotton

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  • Difficult
    05:33
    48.5 mi
    8.7 mph
    4,350 ft
    5,250 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This tour takes you through the heart of Tuscany. From Siena you first drive on some of the most beautiful country roads over the typical hills, which will get you out of breath from time to time. At half distance it gets really exhausting again. Shortly after Radda you master the last big climb at an

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    428 mi
  • Duration
    39:03 h
  • Elevation
    36,850 ft

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