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TUSCANY & UMBRIA

 A journey of discovery in two of the most beautiful regions of Italy  

(A trekking bike & road bike version)

 

A wonderful bicycle trip full of surprises, which passes through lands rich with water, green mountains and hills covered with woodland, vineyards and olive groves. You will travel through enchanting towns where nature's charms combine with the wonders of art and the pleasure of excellent cuisine.

This bicycle tour begins in Tuscany, in the town of Lucca, a Latin colony famous for its Roman remains and for the remarkably integral old town walls which encircle it. The tour takes you to Florence, charming city of art and cradle of Italian culture, but also leads you through characteristic old villages such as Gaiole, Radda in Chianti, Montalcino, Luccasolo, Pienza and Montepulciano. Finally the route brings you to Siena, renowned worldwide for the Palio but which is also home to monuments, churches and grand buildings of rare beauty.

In Tuscany the landscape you enjoy from your bicycle saddle seems endless and is made up of gentle hills which are cultivated by an artist's hand, with fields of a thousand colours and grand vineyards which produce world-famous wines. However, through this itinerary you discover areas of this region that are very different from each other and create unique settings for each section of the route. As well as the colourful hills, you pass through almost mountainous woodland areas and short stretches of up and down biking among the clay hills, which are scarcely vegetated and a very special environment.

From Montepulciano you pass into Umbria, where the enchanting countryside is rich with fertile plains, green hills, mountains, lakes and winding rivers, spiritual trails and characteristic medieval villages. In these little towns you feel as if you are time-travelling. Orvieto, Todi, Spoleto, Spello and Bevagna have remained intact over the centuries and safeguard a notable artistic heritage which you discover as you pass along narrow alleys with old stone houses and colourful flowers hanging from the balconies. There is peace and quiet as you pedal in these places brimming with art and history. The last stop on this bike journey is Assisi, an evocative and eternal town which embraces within its impressive walls a perfect harmony of monuments, churches and beautiful architecture, both religious and secular.

This tour has also an 8 days version for road bikes (download  the pdf with detailed information)

 

 

 

 

Programme in short (13 days tour):

Day 1 Arrival at Lucca

Day 2 Lucca– Montecatini Terme (48 km / 30 miles)

Day 3 Montecatini-Florence (62 km /38 miles)

Day 4 Florence–Radda in Chianti (53 km / 33 miles)

Day 5 Radda in chianti–Siena (45 km / 28 miles)

Day 6 Siena–Montalcino (54 km / 33,5 miles)

Day 7 Montalcino-Montepulciano (42 km / 26 miles)

Day 8 Montepulciano-Castiglione del Lago (39 km/ 25 miles)

Day 9 Castiglione del Lago-Orvieto (69 km / 43 miles)

Day 10 Orvieto–Todi (45 km /28 miles)

Day 11 Todi–Spoleto (62 km / 38 miles)

Day 12 Spoleto–Assisi (53 km / 33 miles)

Day 13 departure

 

Road bike programme in short (8 days):

Day 1 Arrival at Lucca

Day 2 Lucca - Florence (100 km / 62 miles)

Day 3 Florence-Siena (95 km / 59 miles)

Day 4 Siena- Montepulciano (96 km / 60 miles)

Day 5 Montepulciano-Passignano (74 km/ 46 miles)

Day 6 Passignano - Orvieto (98 km / 61 miles)

Day 7 Orvieto –Assisi (96 km / 60 miles)

Day 8 departure

 

Highlights

  • Art towns and medieval villages such as Lucca, Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Orvieto, Todi, Spoleto, Assisi and Perugia

  • A green hilly landscape with astonishing views

  • Wine routes of the Chianti, Montepulciano, Orvieto & Montefalco areas

  • The lakes of Montepulciano & Trasimeno

 

 

 

Programme

 

Day 1

Individual arrival at Lucca.

On the first day you arrive in Lucca and settle into your hotel. Lucca was a Latin colony from 180 BCE and is known even outside Italy above all for its town walls, dating back to the 15th -17th century, which remain intact to this day. The town also has a wealth of other artistic treasures, both noted and less well-known. You can reach Lucca easily using the local bus or train services from Pisa or Florence, where the main airports of Tuscany are. In particular from Pisa it only takes about 25 minutes.

If you prefer, you can ask us for a private minivan transfer from one of these airports to Lucca.

 

Day 2

Lucca –Montecatini Terme

After a regenerating rest you are ready to embark on the first stretch of your route, which takes you from Lucca to Montecatini Terme. Lucca still beautifully preserves many of its typical features from long ago, such as the amphitheatre and Roman forum. The numerous medieval churches, some now deconsecrated, are of great architectural value and have earned Lucca the nickname “the town of 100 churches”. Towers, bell towers and fine renaissance buildings give the town a pleasing stylistic linearity. Before leaving this splendid place, we recommend exploring it by bike, pedalling along its elegant streets.

After visiting Lucca, you pedal through the marvellous Tuscan countryside, along the olive oil and wine trails of the DOC areas of Colline Lucchesi and Montecarlo. You pass little hamlets and villages, farms and wineries before you reach Montecarlo, a medieval village at the top of a rolling green hill, famous for its wines. Here you find the impressive Fortezza del Cerruglio and the unusual church of Sant'Andrea. From Montecarlo to Montecatini Terme the scenery changes completely and you find yourself on an open plain, surrounded by the trees and flowers of the famous plant nurseries which stretch from here to Pistoia .

Distance: 48 km / 30 miles; ascent-descent:320m

 

Day 3

Montecatini-Florence

Montecatini Terme is loved by visitors for its vitality and for the famous thermal baths, spa facilities and wellness centres. Today's tour brings you to Florence  on a fantastic journey through the rural area where Leonardo Da Vinci was born and developed his genius. From Montecatini to Vinci you are among the gentle hills and typical Tuscan landscape through which the road cycling world championships will pass this year. Then you go down towards Montelupo Fiorentino to Signa passing through the Mediceo park around Poggio alla Malva, where you can stop to admire an amazing view of the valley with the rivers Arno and Pesa all the way to Chianti, sitting in the midst of vineyards, olive groves and old ruins.

Then you set off again, pedalling along the river Arno into the heart of Florence. An extremely elegant city, Florence is a cradle of art and architecture, the birth place of the Renaissance and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Florence is hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks also to its numerous monuments and museums, including the Duomo, Santa Croce, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pitti. However, it is also a town where it is always enjoyable to leave your bike and wander around the numerous courtyards, squares, buildings, streets and markets, and perhaps indulge in a little shopping in the many shops and boutiques.

Distance: 62 km / 38 miles;  ascent-descent: 630 m

 

Day 4

Florence-Radda in Chianti

It isn't easy to leave Florence behind, but today Chianti awaits you, with a completely different landscape made up of hills but also woody areas and vineyards which stretch beyond the horizon, rising up on high hills which in places seem almost mountainous. For anyone who hasn't yet stopped to visit a winery, this stretch and the following ones are still excellent opportunities to do so. Chianti is full of authentic and charming little villages, such as Panzano and Radda in Chianti, just to name a couple worth pausing to enjoy.

At the top of Panzano is the evocative old upper part of the town and the castle, while in Radda you find the Palazzo del Podestà, the Ghiacciaia Granducale, various religious buildings and the archaeological site of Poggio la Croce.

Distance: 53 km / 33 miles; Ascent / descent: 1100 m

 

Day 5

Radda in Chianti-Siena

Today in Radda in Chianti you join the permanent circuit of the 'Eroica', which unwinds along the famous unsurfaced roads so characteristic of this region. The cycle touring route 'L'Eroica' is a series of seemingly infinite places and settings which follow on from one another, from villages to vineyards, woods to olive groves, village squares to grazing land. Poets and artists have attempted to capture the essence of this area in their works and you will discover its joys for yourself with each turn of the pedals.

Following this route you pass through the Chianti Classico area, with its famous vineyards and its high, wooded hills. After a few kilometres you join the wonderful dirt road which takes you through the countryside first to the village of Vertine and then to Gaiole in Chianti.

From here, a pleasant uphill stretch on an asphalted road in the woods brings you to Castello di Brolio, jewel of the Ricasoli family's estate with its stupendous panorama and excellent wines. You cycle downhill through the vineyards towards Siena, which appears on the horizon. This town of art is known around the globe for the Palio which takes place in the splendid Piazza del Campo, but is also home to monuments, fine buildings and museums which are definitely worth seeing. The cherry on the cake, so to speak, is the strong culinary tradition of Siena, and in the town's many restaurants you can taste typical local dishes such as 'i pici' pasta, 'ribollita' soup served over toasted bread and the sweets such as 'panforte', 'berriquocoli' e 'ricciarelli' biscuits.

Distance: 45 km /  28 miles; Ascent / Descent: 600 m

 

Day 6

Siena-Montalcino

This morning, following the Eroica route, you leave Siena and pedal between the rolling hills south of the town. This section has a lot of gentle undulating which is enjoyable on a bike. Green, red and yellow alternate depending on the season and the crops, but the result is always a wonderful panorama of fields cultivated 'ad arte' and multicoloured meadows. A combination of tracks, dirt roads and asphalted roads bring you to Radi, Vescovado and Buonconvento, and on to the more southerly part where a long climb brings you to Montalcino, the land devoted to the production of the excellent Brunello wine which influences daily life here. You can taste the history, traditions and... naturally... more food and wine. Each of which will, of course, be the best of Tuscany. Montalcino is also a beautiful place to visit, with its old town walls, fortress, Palazzo dei Priori, Duomo and other religious buildings.

Distance: 54 km / 33,5 miles;  Ascent / descent: 950 m

 

Day 7

Montalcino – Montepulciano

You are now on the last stretch in Tuscany. Leaving this beautiful region you will remember the gentle (and at times also tough) ups and downs of its landscape, the beautiful views, the friendly local people and the flavours of its excellent food and wine. You take with you a positivity that makes you ready to throw yourself into another adventure. The Val d'Orcia and the whole area between Pienza and Montepulciano is perhaps the part of Tuscany that you remember seeing in a lot of postcards. Here the beauty of the nature, the wonders of the art and the pleasure of the excellent cuisine blend in perfect harmony. The unforgettable scenic views of this area lead you through a superb final Tuscan stretch and into the wonderful and unspoilt region of Umbria.

Distance: 42 km / 26 miles;  Ascent / Descent: 900 m

 

Day 8

Montepulciano – Castiglione del Lago

You are about to begin a day through beautiful fertile countryside, thanks to the presence of rivers and lakes.

You come down from Montepulciano and across the Val di Chiana to reach the green region of Umbria. A nice ride through hilly country brings you to the banks of the lake of Montepulciano, which is a nature reserve. You pass through little villages with beautiful views of Lake Trasimeno, nestled between rounded hills covered with olive trees, and you finish today's journey at Castiglione del Lago which stands proudly on top of a spur. From the town centre you can enjoy a spectacular view of the lake and its three islands.

Distance: 40 km / 25 miles Ascent / Descent:  - 610m   +180m

 

Day 9

Castiglione del Lago – Orvieto

After breakfast you return to the saddle and leave Castiglione del Lago. While you pedal you can admire the sweep of bright blue water of Lake Trasimeno. Before arriving in Chiusi you can visit the catacombs of Santa Mustiola, the ancient tomb of a family who later became Christians. Santa Mustiola was persecuted and imprisoned by Turcio, a vicar of the Roman emperor Marco Aurelio Claudio. In Chiusi there is a lot to see, but of particular interest is the Labirinto di Porsenna, a series of underground passageways beneath the Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral and the surrounding buildings. You then pedal along a route with short rises and dips until you reach Orvieto, an ancient town rich in art and culture. The old town rises on an outcrop of tufa rock and here you can visit the Duomo, which is a marvellous example of Italian Gothic architecture, the Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick's Well) and several fine buildings.

Distance: 69 km  Ascent / Descent -647  + 690

 

Day 10

Orvieto –Todi

After breakfast you leave for Todi, pedalling along quiet, panoramic roads. The uphill stretches are longer today, but the total distance is shorter and at the end of the ride Todi awaits you with its beautiful town squares and breathtaking views of the Tiber valley. Todi was founded by the Umbri and lay on the border with the Etruscan lands. In fact, the town was known as Tutere, which means 'border town'. There is much to see today, from the Duomo to the Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo dei Priori and Palazzo del Popolo, which now houses the civic museum.

Distance: 45 km / 28 miles;  Ascent / Descent – 890m   + 880m

 

Day 11

Todi – Spoleto

You get back to the saddle early today to leave the Tiber valley and join the Valle Umbra. Near Montefalco you can decide whether to visit this evocative medieval village, which is famous for its fine wines such as Montefalco Rosso and Sagrantino, or to continue along the route. You cycle along country roads surrounded by hilly land with cultivated fields and vineyards until you reach Spoleto, a town where art, culture and traditions have merged to create a perfect balance. Spoleto is recognisable by its proud fortress, which dominates the town from its highest point, but along the characteristic narrow alleys you can find the Duomo with frescoes by Filippo Lippi, the Roman House and the archaeological museum which is housed in the ex-monastery of S. Agata. In the evening this is a lively and friendly town, with many bars and restaurants to choose from.

Distance: 62 km / 38,5 miles;   Ascent / Descent – 560m   + 645m

 

Day 12

Spoleto-Assisi

The route for today crosses the Valle Umbra, a wide plain surrounded by hills which are decorated by their olive groves and vineyards, medieval villages and castles, abbeys and monasteries: places which safeguard old flavours and traditions, allowing you to taste them on your journey. Before you get to Assisi you come to Foligno, a valley town which hides charms of its own for you to discover, including a beautiful domed cathedral, some fine secular architecture and attractively framed perspectives if you glimpse down the narrow streets. Leaving Foligno, you climb a little to reach the centre of the Roman town of Spello, once known as Splendidissima Colonia Julia. Here you can explore Roman remains, churches and secular buildings which house invaluable works of art as well as wandering through the town's narrow medieval alleys which are further embellished by the brightly coloured flowers hanging from balconies and window ledges. Your final stop today is in the timeless and seraphic town of Assisi, which you reach from Spello by following a panoramic country road among olive groves. Assisi is a symbol of peace and a land of saints, churches, monasteries and convents: places in which devotion flourishes alongside art.

Distance: 53 km / 33 miles; Ascent / Descent  -238m   + 280m

 

Day 13

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

Included in the price:

  • 7 / 12 Overnight stays in ***  hotels

  • breakfast

  • luggage transportation

  • gps with tracks and maps

  • Emergency number

  • Tour information

 

 

 

Period

Daily from from April March to November

Level 3/4

Challenging, typical hilly landscape with uphill and downhill cycling. Significant differences in altitude. For the biggest part you’re cycling on quiet dirt and asphalted roads (road bike only asphalted roads). The dirt roads  are in a good condition. Daily rides are between 40 and 60 km A tour for cyclists with experience and good physical condition. Total km 630. Not suitable for children under 14

Participants

Minimum two persons (single traveller on request)

Prices p.p. 2017

13 days

In double room     € 1.462,00

Single room supplement        € 1.820,00

3rd person in triple room       € 1.005,00

Bike rental: Hybrid 3 x 8        € 165,00  and  ebike € 355,00

8 days road bike tour

In double room     € 1.045,00

Single room supplement        € 1.300,00

3rd person in triple room       € 740,00

Road bike rental                  € 215,00

On request

extra nights