This bike tour of Tuscany, unthinkable since a few years ago as too challenging, it is now possible thanks to the bicycles with assisted pedalling and represents an extremely pleasant excursion through places that make Tuscany famous.
It is difficult to describe this tour without falling into the banal or repeating things already said and often seen.
I don’t know how many other bicycle tours propose so many UNESCO sites: Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano, only Lucca is not part of UNESCO due to the poor municipal administrations of the last 30 years, unable to valorise the city and Giacomo Puccini, but don’t worry, you will be pleasantly surprised if you never visited it. Also, for those like me who live in Tuscany, travelling along these roads stirs each time a new emotion, a sequence of changing landscapes until reaching Chianti where the silver colour of the olive groves, the green geometry of the vineyards, the roads characterised by cypresses, the yellow broom surrounding the woods, form suggestive and harmonic pictures and its hills offer unique views.
Do you want to know the biggest flaw of this trip? The duration: 7 days are not enough, only the historic centres of Pisa, Lucca and Siena deserve at least a visit of two days and Florence minimum three days, not to mention the countryside, where a one-week vacation would be easy to fill with many things to see and do.
If time is not a problem for you please let us know, we will be glad to help you to organize a dream holiday.
After arriving at the hotel, you will start the tour of the city of Pisa travelling through alleys, squares and the Lungarni. You will cycle along the well-maintained public garden of Fortezza Sangallo, the bridges with breath-taking views, the modern art mural painted by Keith Haring "Tuttomondo", and part of the ancient medieval walls of the city. The entire excursion will take place on the cycling path.
A quick stop at the leaning tower and then more cycling at the discovery of this city rich of history and culinary traditions. You can choose to take a small break: a delicious coffee with a rice pudding or the famous “cecina” and wrap up the evening with a fine dinner in a typical restaurant.
Depart towards Lucca, crossing the countryside along the Medici aqueduct, dating back to the early 17th century, built by Ferdinand I de’ Medici. The path follows the aqueduct with its arches, continues along the countryside towards Monti Pisani and then along the Serchio river, through Puccini cycling path (which takes its name after the famous composer Giacomo Puccini who was born in Lucca). Surrounded by the green, among the towers that mark the border between Lucca and Pisa and the Rocca di Ripafratta, you will reach the Medioeval walls of Lucca where you can pedal and enjoy the city from another perspective, and then continue through the alleys and taverns, with their typical products.
17th century, built by Ferdinand I de’ Medici. The path follows the aqueduct with its arches, continues along the countryside towards Monti Pisani and then along the Serchio river, through Puccini cycling path (which takes its name after the famous composer Giacomo Puccini who was born in Lucca). Surrounded by the green, among the towers that mark the border between Lucca and Pisa and the Rocca di Ripafratta, you will reach the Medioeval walls of Lucca where you can pedal and enjoy the city from another perspective, and then continue through the alleys and taverns, with their typical products.
An easy and flat trail will lead you from the walls of Lucca to the historic centre of Altopascio, crossing the road of the Villas of Lucca and Montecarlo, where ancient pilgrims were stopping to rest and pray. In Altopascio, you will taste the homonymous bread with fine prosciutto at the feet of Torre Campanaria, which bell, combined to a fire burning on the terrace, was leading the pilgrims towards the city.
After leaving Altopascio, you will travel along a marvellous section of the original paved trail of Via Francigena, immersed amongst woods. Let yourself be charmed by the wild territory of Cerbaie before crossing the Arno river and continue towards San Miniato. The Seminario, that gives the name to the main square, will astonish you with its particular façade: look at it when lit, perhaps after tasting a tagliatelle dish with the renowned white truffle from San Miniato.
A challenging leg, but with unique landscapes. From San Miniato, you will descend to Val d’Elsa and then climb towards Gambassi Terme, where you can cross the threshold of the thousand-year old Church of Chianni, and enjoy a health bath in Gambassi thermal baths, surrounded by a park with secular trees.
You will continue pedalling among the marvellous natural landscapes until San Gimignano, one of the nicest cities along the trail; the sight of the famous medieval towers that characterise its skyline is one of the main highlights of the trail. Don’t miss the sight of the medieval city and surrounding valleys from the top of Torre Grossa and if you still have some energy, climb the steps of Rocca di Montestaffoli for a view that is even more marvellous.
From San Gimignano, you will climb and descend some hills until reaching Colle Val d’Elsa, to go back in time in the suggestive historic centres and among the narrow alleys along the stone walls.
Here you will see one of the nicest sections of Via Francigena, you will be breathless when seeing Monteriggioni Castle with its towers, erected on a hill to defend the ancient republic of Siena. Walk along the walls to admire the surrounding views before continuing towards Siena and cycling through Porta Camollia, the traditional entrance of Via Francigena into the historic centre. In the evening, you will dine in Piazza del Campo, tasting a dish of pici with wild boar or garlic sauce.
Distance km. 45
Altitude difference m. 100 / m. 780
Let’s go back North among Crete Senesi: here the hills are mainly barren and gently undulating as far as the eye can see, you will see trees and isolated houses on the peaks, the clay makes the earth grey-light blue in some areas, conferring it a moon-like aspect. There are only a few buildings at the horizon and almost no trace of human presence. The white roads are sometimes unpaved and steep, more challenging to cycle but, once reached the end of the trail, you will be rewarded by the stunning panoramic views. Perhaps here you will feel more “heroic”, in direct contact with the earth.
You will cycle through Asciano, Castelnuovo Berardenga and a few other inhabited areas until reaching the heart of Chianti, our famous vineyards and a completely different landscape.
After passing Brolio Castle, which deserves to be visited, you will reach Radda in Chianti which marks the end of the leg.
You will resume cycling along the gentle hills covered by vineyards of Sangiovese grapes, then you will reach Panzano in Chianti; the town is nice and deserves to be visited, however the real attraction is Dario Cecchini (the poet-butcher) with his butcher shop. Stop for a visit; the meat and cold cuts are delicious and deserve to be tasted, unless you are vegetarian, and the show that Dario offers to its customers is unique. If you have time and you are hungry, in addition to the snacks, you can try an excellent Florentine steak (reservations are needed). You will continue cycling to reach Greve, the chief town of Chianti Fiorentino, hub of the local wine industry with its pleasant atmosphere of city-market and marvellous historic central square. You will reach Florence pedalling through a beautiful panoramic road, to pleasantly end your trip. There is no need to list what to see and do in this city, one day or even two days in this city will be well spent.
Waste no more time
Do not hesitate to ask for more information and plan now your holiday
HOW TO REACH US By car: you can plan your trip on www.viamichelin.it or www.google.com/maps. By train: Pisa Centrale station, info and timetables on www.trenitalia.it By plane: Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, for flight information consult the website https://www.pisa-airport.com/it/
For the transfer from the airport and the station, given the proximity of the hotels, we suggest you take a taxi.
3-star hotel with breakfast, with a supplement it is possible to stay in a 4-star hotel. Tourist tax, if required, to be paid at the hotel reception.
The hotel has paid parking, a daily rate for cars € 10, suv and mini van € 15.
For the return to Pisa we can organize the transfer which costs up to 6 people € 170, including bicycles.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Florence central station to Pisa, information on costs and timetables on the website www.trenitalia.it
• 3-star accommodation in a double room with private facilities
• Welcome briefing at the departure hotel
• Luggage transport from hotel to hotel
• Detailed travel documents (maps, route description, locations, important phone numbers)
• Telephone assistance service for the duration of the tour
• Medical and luggage insurance
• Arrival at the starting point of the tour
• Return trip at the end of the tour
• Lunches, dinners and drinks
• Tourist taxes and all extras in general
• Bike rental
• Optional travel cancellation insurance
• Anything not expressly indicated under "The fee includes"
Hotel Alessandro della Spina
Via Alessandro della Spina, 5/7/9
56125 Pisa PI
Tel. +39 050502777